The fact that the company established a separate business unit dedicated to sustainability many years ago illustrates its significance for EDEKA Südwest.
Caroline Wilkens, Managing Director at EDEKA Südwest, explains that sustainability has been enshrined in the Group's business strategy since 2015 and emphasises the immense significance that this issue holds for the future at every level of the organisation.
As such, combining this issue with a suitable financing instrument was simply the logical next step: Helaba's sustainability-linked loan reflects EDEKA Südwest's long-standing approach to promoting sustainability by linking the interest rate to non-financial targets that must be achieved within a pre-defined timeframe.
Or, to paraphrase Caroline Wilkens: "Helaba provided us with tremendous expertise and the ideal product"
"Helaba provided us with tremendous expertise and the ideal product."
Managing Director EDEKA Südwest
As part of its sustainability strategy, EDEKA Südwest has defined 25 goals within four areas of activity. Michaela Meyer, the head of EDEKA Südwest's sustainability unit, lists these areas as responsibility towards its workforce, sustainable products, the environment and energy as well as community engagement.
In collaboration with Helaba, the company selected four goals that form the basis of the sustainability-linked loan. In doing so, it was vital to consider all areas of activity, stresses Michaela Meyer: "We felt it was essential to take each area of activity into account, because we believe they all play an equally valuable role."
"We felt it was essential to take each area of activity into account, because we believe they all play an equally valuable role."
Head of sustainability unit EDEKA Südwest
project days for children and young people devoted to healthy eating
Sustainable financing solutions: Our strong commitment to pursuing a sustainable approach to business.
In EDEKA Südwest's close collaboration with Helaba, Michaela Meyer praises the interest, motivation and, most of all, the wealth of expertise that the bank's team brought to the table: "We greatly value Helaba's team of experts who really got to grips with the specific concerns we wanted addressed." This team included Rainer Neidnig, Head of Sustainable Finance Advisory, who oversaw the process of developing and implementing the sustainability-linked loan for EDEKA Südwest. He also pays tribute to the way in which both parties worked together in a spirit of equal partnership as well as the genuine commitment of all those involved, noting: "We can only drive sustainable change by pulling together as a team and that's why we quickly found common ground." And there is another aspect that makes this transaction so special: "It is a first transaction of its kind in the supermarket industry based on performance metrics."
"It is a first transaction of its kind in the supermarket industry based on performance metrics."
Head of Sustainable Finance Advisory Helaba
This increases the positive signs that a sustainable loan sends out because, in Rainer Neidnig's view, customers want to project a clear message to the outside world. At the same time, sustainable financial products accelerate processes within a company. The key factor is setting adequate goals, that is, defining ambitious milestones that are also realistically achievable. Although metrics such as CO2 emissions, diversity indicators and many others are recurring benchmarks, not every aspect lends itself to every client. "This is precisely where Helaba's task as the Sustainability Coordinator comes in: to find the right metrics and define meaningful targets together with the customer."
Helaba's proximity to its customers as well as its strong ties to the region form the basis of this approach, according to Rainer Neidnig. Beyond that, he also underlines another particular advantage that distinguishes Helaba: "Our customers know they can rely on us to deliver on our commitments. For EDEKA Südwest, we made sure the whole timeline was exactly spot on - right down to the day," he says.
"Our customers know they can rely on us to deliver on our commitments. For EDEKA Südwest, we made sure the whole timeline was exactly spot on - right down to the day."