Sainsbury’s has announced that it has agreed a £200 million corporate green loan that it will use to invest in its carbon reduction and sustainability projects.

The supermarket chain claims that the loan represents the first commercial loan to be structured specifically to support environmental and sustainable initiatives.

Commenting on the news, John Rogers, chief financial officer at Sainsbury’s said: “The green loan will be used to fund clean energy generation, energy efficiency and water saving projects over a period of two to three years.

“It will be independently measured and monitored by a third party to evaluate its use and its positive environmental impact, and we will publish progress on the various green investments and carbon emission savings on our corporate website.”

The loan was accredited ‘green’ by Sustainalytics, with Lloyds and Rabobank acting as joint green arrangers and Rabobank as sole mandated lead arranger.

Sainsbury’s says that the green loan will be used to further its Project Graphite programme which focuses on minimising the environmental impact of the supermarket chain’s operations.

The programme has seen a number of supermarket roofs fitted with solar PV. In addition to generating its own energy, Sainsbury’s has invested in a range of energy efficiency programmes that have resulted in a significant reduction in energy consumption. For example, Sainsbury’s now consumes 12% less electricity that it did in 2007/8 despite operating 35% more floor space.

Rogers concluded: “Project Graphite is focused on improving energy efficiency in our existing stores and investing in onsite renewable energy, and it includes measures such as replacing traditional light bulbs in our estate with energy efficient LED lighting, producing renewable heat from ground source heat pumps and biomass boilers plus installing photovoltaic solar panels on roofs and petrol stations.”