GrandVision Reinforces its Commitment to Responsible and Sustainable Business Practices With a Sustainability Linked Loan

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SCHIPHOL, The Netherlands—GrandVision NV (Euronext: GVNV) has said that the signing of a “sustainability linked loan” demonstrates the company’s commitment to responsibility and sustainability, which the retailer noted “are more than buzzwords—they are a shared mindset across all departments and operations” at GrandVision. In addition, the signing of this sustainability linked loan reinforces the “commitment of the company to advance its environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.” Sustainability linked loans, or “ESG linked loans,” are general corporate purpose loans used to incentivize borrowers’ commitments to sustainability and to support environmentally and socially sustainable economic activity and growth, according to GrandVision.

To comply with loan stipulations, borrowers follow certain sustainability linked loan principles. Issuers can potentially lower the cost of borrowing by working with banks that integrate a company's sustainability performance into their lending criteria.

From the very beginning, GrandVision has embraced the topic of “corporate responsibility and sustainability as a shared mindset, not only as a department,” a recent GrandVision blog post noted. “This involved instilling a sense of responsibility and accountability within all strategic departments, from people and culture to product value chain, and even finance. Needless to say, this shared mindset has been instrumental in advancing GrandVision’s sustainability agenda, which GrandVision’s CFOs and finance department leaders have spearheaded, the company noted.

In July 2019, GrandVision (parent of the For Eyes optical retailer in the U.S.) refinanced a revolving credit facility of €1.2 billion with a group of its relationship banks. The new financing “has the same size and similar terms to the previous facility that would have matured in 2021. In addition, a sustainability feature has been added to the facility, whereby the margins are linked to our sustainability performance,” a spokeswoman told VMAIL.

“GrandVision’s CFOs have always played a key role in our sustainable development and promoting strong ESG values across the entire organization,” Darina Elencheva, head of CSR at GrandVision, said in the blog post. “They always understood the importance of the company’s social and environmental impact, and supported its translation into quantifiable metrics that we can use to track and report progress. In fact, our Treasury Department suggested to use the ESG-feature in our revolving credit facility—a novelty in the financial market that few companies have so far. This also made us one of the first retailers to explore this opportunity.”