Landmark Group, the UAE-based conglomerate with more than 2,200 outlets and 42,000 employees in Middle East, India and South East Asia, announced signing of first sustainability-linked loan amid a pledge to transition towards sustainable finance for the majority of its operations. This marks the first time a private sector company in the UAE signs a bilateral sustainability-linked loan.
Landmark Group also signed up to Standard Chartered’s Sustainable Account proposition, integrating sustainability into to its banking operations. Deposits in Sustainable Accounts are referenced against sustainable projects funded by Standard Chartered across its dynamic Market footprint. These projects, aligned to the Bank’s Green and Sustainable Product Framework, address some of the world’s biggest long-term threats, including climate change and financial exclusion.
In a meeting between Landmark Group’s Chairwoman and CEO Renuka Jagtiani and Standard Chartered Bank, Group CEO Bill Winters, the company made a commitment to convert all its treasury products with the bank to sustainable wherever possible. In a first for the region, Landmark Group has committed that the benefits from any sustainable financing will be deployed towards further sustainable initiatives.
Landmark Group is investing in Smart Energy Management Systems, Building Information Modelling, Motion Sensors
Commenting on the agreement, Rajesh Garg, Group Chief Financial Officer at Landmark Group said, “At Landmark Group, we are committed to conducting our business responsibly, to make positive changes within the organisation to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. Today’s announcement of our first sustainability-linked loan, and our pledge to move towards green finance products wherever possible, is the latest demonstration of our wider commitment to people and planet.”
“We are proud to partner with Standard Chartered Bank, who share our ethos towards a green commitment. With this partnership we are glad to become a part of a global group of sustainable companies and stakeholders that take shared responsibility for achieving a better world.”
Rola Abu Manneh, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered, UAE added, “We have been partnering with Landmark Group in the Middle East and Asia for almost 30 years, and moving towards sustainable financing is a natural extension of our long-standing relationship.”
“Standard Chartered’s Sustainable Finance, including our Sustainable Account proposition, is designed to help companies implement more sustainable practices across their ecosystems and build more resilient value chains in their businesses. We are pleased to announce that Landmark Group is one of the first GCC retailers to sign up for this offering, and we look forward to strengthening this partnership with further sustainability-linked initiatives.”
According to guidelines set by the Loan Market Association, sustainability-linked loans incentivise the achievement of ambitious, predetermined performance objectives. The borrower’s sustainability performance is measured using predefined sustainability performance targets, as measured by predefined key performance indicators.
For Landmark Group, these KPIs are linked to renewable energy, circularity, and diversity in the workforce. These are some of the key areas where the organisation has made significant strides in recent years towards its larger sustainability goals and the aim is to continue with impactful results.
Landmark Group initiated its social awareness and impact programme about diabetes in 2009 – Beat Diabetes and since has supported various other fund-raising initiatives with partners like Dubai Cares, UNHCR and Saudi Food Bank through its network of stores.
It has also implemented employee initiatives focusing on gender diversity such as ‘Leader from Within’ and ‘HER’ which aim to provide female employees with growth opportunities and equality at work. In Saudi Arabia, the Group has hired 4,600+ females which is approximately 70% of total national hires.
Landmark Group is investing heavily in energy efficiency and waste reduction projects like Smart Energy Management Systems, Building Information Modelling, Motion Sensor Installations etc. The Group brands are members of Better Cotton Initiative and Sustainable Apparel Coalition in an endeavour to improve governance around responsible sourcing.
Recently, Landmark Group has also become a member of the United Nations Global Compact initiative – a voluntary leadership platform for the development, implementation, and disclosure of responsible business practices.