New Zealand’s Queenstown Airport strengthens green commitments through sustainability-linked loans

Queenstown Airport has announced it has converted its AUS$100 million bank lending facilities into sustainability-linked loans.

Under the loan structure, the airport will directly link its debt to the achievement of specific sustainability targets.

Andrew Williamson, Queenstown Airport’s chief financial officer, 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,” he added.

Four key areas have been targeted under the loan terms. The airport aims to achieve Level 4 Airport Carbon Accreditation and reduce its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions.

Infrastructure will also be installed in order to support reductions in Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions, including enabling electrification of parked aircraft, ground service equipment and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

In addition, the airport will reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill across the terminal precinct. However this excludes specific waste streams outside of Queenstown Airport’s direct responsibility, such as quarantine waste from international arrivals.

It says targeting these areas supports its net-zero carbon emissions commitment.

Sara Irvine, general manager of sustainability and corporate affairs at the airport, 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.

“Collaborating with the businesses operating here at ZQN, and our airline partners, is an important part of our overall strategy.

“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,” she continued.

“The expectations and aspirations of the local communities have also been an important consideration as we’ve refined these targets with our banking partners.”

Ms Irvine added that “the targets included under the loan focus our attention on some of the key actions we need to take to fulfil that responsibility.”

The sustainability-linked loans have been executed with the airport’s four banking partners, Westpac NZ, BNZ, ASB and Bank of China.

Jacqui Macalister, BNZ’s director of sustainable finance, said: “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”.

Image credit: Queenstown Airport