Inside Logistics

Walmart and HSBC team up on sustainable finance

Sustainable supply chain finance program pegs a supplier’s financing rate to its sustainability performance


April 18, 2019
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NEW YORK & HONG KONG – HSBC and Walmart are rolling out a sustainable supply chain finance program that pegs a supplier’s financing rate to its sustainability performance.

This global program allows Walmart’s suppliers who demonstrate progress in Walmart’s Project Gigaton or Sustainability Index Program to apply for improved financing from HSBC based on their sustainability ratings.

Project Gigaton is a Walmart initiative to divert one billion metric tons (a gigaton) of greenhouse gases from the global value chain by 2030 through supplier commitments. Walmart’s Sustainability Index Program gathers and analyses information across a product’s life cycle, and was developed by The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), a global organization dedicated to improving the sustainability of consumer products, to help Walmart benchmark suppliers and encourage continuous improvement.

“The procurement standards of a buyer are a huge driver for sustainability, and this is why we are proud to join forces with Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and a company that shares our mission to build a more sustainable future,” said Natalie Blyth, global head of trade and receivables finance, HSBC.

“In many industries it is a company’s supply chain – rather than the company itself – that is responsible for most of the environmental impact and therefore offers the greatest potential for sustainability improvements.”

“At Walmart, we appreciate that the only way to a sustainable future is through combined effort, and we share HSBC’s commitment to empowering our suppliers on this journey. We want to encourage companies throughout the supply chain to focus on sustainability, as we have seen first-hand how this sparks innovation and generates value. Investing in sustainability can not only lead to higher productivity and cost savings for suppliers, but can also drive their business growth as they make a positive contribution to the world,” said Matthew Allen, VP finance and assistant treasurer, Walmart.

HSBC believes that supply chains are one of the most important levers for banks and businesses to create a positive effect on the world. According to McKinsey, a typical consumer company’s supply chain creates far more social and environmental costs than its own operations, accounting for more than 80 per cent of greenhouse-gas emissions and more than 90 per cent of the impact on air, land, water, biodiversity, and geological resources.

Blyth adds: “Trade is a force for good, and trade finance has a vital role to play if we are to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Embedding sustainability in global supply chains is not only beneficial for the environment and society, but also for companies’ bottom lines.”

Being sustainable is seen as very important by businesses around the world. According to the recent HSBC Navigator survey, 81 per cent of global companies say ethical and environmental sustainability is important to them and 83 per cent aspire to be a genuinely ethical or environmentally sustainable company. Also, improving sustainability outcomes is among the top three objectives for making supply chain changes.