Sustainable Finance Supporting Farmers’ Innovation Towards Lower Emissions

Australian lender the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) says more farmers are turning to sustainable finance solutions such as the bank’s Agri Green Loan to invest in innovation and technology to reduce carbon emissions and improve productivity.

According to the Sydney-based bank, enquiries for CBA’s Agri Green Loan increased 200% in the 2022-23 financial year, reflecting a growing demand for financing solutions that support farm sustainability objectives as well as the increasing interest in carbon as an opportunity for the sector.

CBA agribusiness experts shared their insights at AgQuip 2023, Australia’s largest agricultural industry event, alongside RCS Australia and CarbonLink, about soil health and soil carbon as well as ways the bank’s sustainable finance solutions are supporting the industry transition to a lower emissions future.

CommBank’s General Manager Agribusiness, Natasha Greenwood said AgQuip is an important event for the agricultural community to connect, to see the latest in innovation and technology, and to learn about the latest trends in primary production.

“There is a growing appetite amongst farmers to undertake a range of initiatives which build on farm resilience, improve productivity and profitability and support a lower carbon footprint.

Our workshops with RCS Australia at AgQuip have been an excellent opportunity to share examples of how managing soil health can lead to improved productivity outcomes, how those practice changes can be financed and to answer a range of questions about carbon,”  Greenwood said.

Among farmers who are innovating to improve sustainability and profitability are Graeme and Sue McDonald who own and operate a sheep and beef cattle farm in Queensland’s Central Highlands.

CBA’s Agri Green Loan supported the McDonalds to undertake a soil carbon project, which includes the installation of spreader banks, or small channels, off their in-paddock dams. These allow for greater water retention and dispersion after rainfall events, which enhances grass production and soil carbon sequestration.

The family has also deployed several sustainable farming practices to optimise water availability across their properties and have installed solar panels to reduce costs.