Virgin Money launches net-zero agri fund

Virgin Money has launched the first dedicated fund to support farmers in their transition to net-zero offering lower cost loans that can be used to invest in changes which reduce on-farm emissions. The £200m Agri E Fund is the first fund offered in the UK dedicated to supporting farmers with the investment and carbon audits required to help them achieve their net-zero target.

Loans are available with zero per cent arrangement fees when a farmer completes a carbon audit and is borrowing over £50k to invest in emission reducing initiatives, like renewable energy, energy efficiency initiatives or activities that reduce greenhouse gases.

The Agri E Fund also encourages the uptake of carbon audits, which are becoming increasingly important in the agriculture supply chain, by making the completion of one a condition of the loan. A carbon audit produces a comprehensive report on a farm’s carbon outputs, highlighting inefficiencies on the farm and ways to do things differently, both to lower costs and reduce carbon emissions.

The agriculture sector has a key part to play in the UK’s transition to a net-zero economy. While farming contributes approximately ten per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions, the significant land resource within agriculture provides the opportunity to capture and store carbon over and above the sector’s level of emissions, helping to enable the wider economy to transition to net-zero. The sector has set itself the ambitious goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the sector in England and Wales by 2040.

Brian Richardson (pictured), head of agriculture at Virgin Money said: “Farmers need to be proactive in adjusting their businesses to a low carbon future. While many farmers are working towards their net-zero targets, we know from our research that there are many who know what they’ve got to do, they just aren’t sure how to go about it. By providing lower cost finance, our new Agri E Fund is providing targeted support to help agri-businesses make the transition and enable investment in reducing and capturing carbon emissions.”

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