Queenstown Airport is proud to announce it has converted its $100 million bank lending facilities to sustainability-linked loans.
Under the loan structure, Queenstown Airport will directly link its debt to the achievement of specific sustainability targets.
Queenstown Airport Chief Financial Officer Andrew Williamson said: “We have set some clear targets in our sustainability strategy. The decarbonisation of on-the-ground operations and the terminal is an immediate priority, and we have made some good progress to date. We’ve worked with our banking partners to set ambitious targets to hold us to account as we continue to implement our sustainability strategy and decarbonisation roadmap.”
Four areas have been targeted under the loan terms:
• achieving Level 4 Airport Carbon Accreditation, the leading global certification for airport carbon management
• reducing Queenstown Airport’s Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions, supporting our net-zero commitment
• installing infrastructure that supports reductions in Queenstown Airport’s Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions, including enabling electrification of parked aircraft, ground service equipment and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles
• reducing the waste sent to landfill across the terminal precinct. *
The characteristics of the loan align the interest rate with Queenstown Airport’s performance.
General Manager Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Sara Irvine said “We’re keenly focused on embedding sustainability across the company. Aligning our funding programme with our sustainability ambitions adds another incentive for us to achieve the commitments we’ve made.”
Queenstown Airport is a council-controlled trading organisation, majority owned by the Queenstown Lakes District Council. The airport is a major contributor to regional GDP and is a large employer in the district, with more than 60 businesses collectively employing about 700 people across the airport campus.
“Collaborating with the businesses operating here at ZQN, and our airline partners, is an important part of our overall strategy,” Ms Irvine said. “These targets are designed to address some of the sustainability challenges airports are facing and enable us to support the sector’s transition to a low-emissions future.”
“The expectations and aspirations of the local communities have also been an important consideration as we’ve refined these targets with our banking partners. The targets included under the loan focus our attention on some of the key actions we need to take to fulfil that responsibility.”
Sustainability-linked loans have been executed with the airport company’s four banking partners: Westpac NZ, BNZ, ASB and Bank of China. BNZ and Westpac NZ acted as Joint Sustainability Coordinators on the transaction.
Jacqui Macalister, BNZ’s Director of Sustainable Finance commended the airport, “this is a significant milestone for Queenstown Airport in its determination to decarbonise. The strength of this achievement lies in the fact a regional airport is aligning to global standards and practices on sustainable finance and airport carbon management”.
Westpac NZ Head of Sustainable Finance Joanna Silver said “We really enjoy working with Kiwi businesses to help them take proactive steps towards building a greener, more resilient economy. The airport sector has unique barriers to reducing emissions, but the ambitious targets selected by Queenstown Airport demonstrate a strong commitment to meeting the challenge”.
The sustainability targets were externally reviewed by independent global environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings firm Sustainalytics and align with the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association’s Sustainability-Linked Loan Principles (as of February 2023).
Queenstown Airport will ensure accountability by reporting independently verified target achievements to its lenders each year.
*excluding specific waste streams outside of Queenstown Airport’s direct responsibility, such as quarantine waste from international arrivals.