Shoprite Group has secured sustainability-linked loans totaling $205 million, approximately N86 billion naira to fund renewable energy and related projects.
The company says the investments will assist Shoprite to expand its key environmental programmes as part of its wider sustainability strategy.
The loans include a R2 billion ($176 million) loan from Standard Bank, a R800 million ($47 million) sustainability-linked loan, as well as a R700 million ($41.7 million) green loan (said to be a first in the retail sector) from Rand Merchant Bank, RMB.
In a statement, the retailer says the loans will be used to expand its investment in “renewable energy and the increase of energy from renewable sources as a percentage of total electricity consumption”.
The loans will also be used for “recycling cardboard and plastic; sustainable packaging, including reusable, recyclable and compostable packaging, containing recycled material; and energy efficiency, including LED lighting, and a monitoring system for refrigeration to reduce energy consumption and waste”.
Sanjeev Raghubir, Shoprite Group sustainability manager, comments: “The loans enable us to continue on the road to reduce our environmental footprint by using more renewable energy and sustainable packaging, and recycling more waste.
“These environmental programmes are key in our fight against climate change, and we are able to increase the pace and intensity of our actions with these loans.
“The loans allow us to continue to make a sustainable, positive environmental impact and improve our operational efficiencies, which in turn result in additional ongoing savings that we can pass on to our customers.”
Shoprite says these investments will enable the group to expand on the substantial investments it has already made.
According to Raghubir, the group’s record to date has provided funders with demonstrable evidence of the nature and scale of its sustainability projects and ambitions that enabled the retailer to access a preferential cost of funding.
In the previous financial year, Shoprite says it reduced carbon emission intensity by 3.3% and water use intensity by 7.5%; increased the installed capacity of its solar photovoltaic systems by 82%; and reduced electricity consumption by 150 million kWh through its LED lamp replacement project since inception.
In the period, Shoprite also recycled 46 102 tonnes of cardboard from stores and distribution centres, diverted 10 241 tonnes of plastic waste from landfills; and paid R2.2 million in rebates to customers for reusing their planet bags since inception.