Tesco is partnering with NatWest to provide financial help for farmers who want to move to sustainable farming methods.

The voluntary scheme aims to provide 1,500 Tesco farmers with preferential rates on finance to help them switch to sustainable farming methods. This includes installing renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines, as well as fossil fuel-free heating systems such as heat pumps.

Tesco says more than 50% of its farmers want to make changes to decrease their environmental footprint, but face challenges in accessing financial support for necessary investments.

The scheme, which has been developed in collaboration with input from farmers, specifically extends to participants in Tesco’s Sustainable Farming Groups, focusing on beef, lamb and dairy production.

Tesco said it hoped the initiative would play a crucial role in helping maintain food security and protecting the environment.

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Through Lombard, part of NatWest and the UK’s largest asset funder, the programme will see farmers access solutions, as well as expert support to help facilitate the move to decarbonisation.

Farmers will also be able to gain access to Tesco’s preferred suppliers, potentially garnering volume discounts on renewable energy assets.

Tesco Group’s chief commercial officer Ashwin Prasad said: “We know a lot of our farmers are looking at ways to reduce costs on farm and move to renewable sources of energy at the same time, which is why we’re delighted to be partnering with NatWest in offering our green finance initiative.

“The food industry has a clear role to play in ensuring we maintain food security while also helping to protect the environment, and we hope innovative programmes like this will play a crucial part in achieving this.”

NatWest Group’s head of consumer industries Peter Huish said: “At NatWest, we recognise the multiple challenges faced today by farmers, including the cost of transitioning to lower emissions practices.

“We strongly believe that to deliver a more sustainable future, partnering with leading UK consumer companies such as Tesco, and their supply chains, will be critical.”

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