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Industry roundup: 25 January

Tesco launches sustainability-linked bond of €750m

UK-headquartered multinational grocery retailer Tesco has launched a bond that, for the first time, is linked to the company’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Tesco says it was the first business globally to set a zero-carbon goal in 2009 and later the first FTSE 100 Company to set science-based carbon reduction targets on a 1.5-degree trajectory. The launch of its first sustainability-linked bond further demonstrates a continued commitment to reduce its impact on the environment and become a net zero carbon business in the UK by 2035.

The €750m bond with a 0.375% coupon offers an 8.5-year maturity and is the first bond of its kind to be issued by a retailer. The retailer says it is an important step in setting tangible incentives for its environmental and social performance and follows the company's announcement in October 2020 that established a £2.5bn revolving credit facility, with interest linked to the achievement of three ambitious environmental targets. The bond is aligned to an agreed Sustainability Performance Target (SPT) of reducing Scope 1 and 2 Group Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions by 60% by 2025 against Tesco’s 2015 Baseline.

The bond will be aligned to Tesco’s newly introduced Sustainability-Bond Framework, which follows the ICMA Sustainability-Linked Bond principles, and has been independently assessed by Sustainalytics

“I’m delighted that we have issued our first sustainability-linked bond," commented Alan Stewart, CFO at Tesco. "Linking our financial strategy to our long-term commitment to tackle sustainability is an important step in ensuring that this commitment is embedded across all our business operations and ensures we are driving continuous improvement. We are proud to be making good progress on our journey to be a net zero carbon business in the UK by 2035 and for the entire Group by 2050.”


iBanFirst releases real-time cross-border payment tracking for payers and payees

Global financial services provider iBanFirst has launched Payment Tracker - a real-time payment-tracking service designed to improve transparency in the payments industry. Rolled out to both payers and payees, this feature provides live updates on the status of international payments at any stage of the fund transfer process. The solution also highlights potential roadblocks or delays along the payment’s journey.

With Payment Tracker, iBanFirst’s mid-cap and SME clients can trace payments the same way consumers can track parcels. The solution is a simple interface accessible on the iBanFirst platform or via an invitation email. It leverages the SWIFT gpi tracking service as well as other payment data sources, including the platform’s own data.

Creating Payment Tracker required the reconciliation of different types of payment status - SWIFT and iBanFirst - as well as giving secure access to this information outside the platform, in order for payment beneficiaries to use the service, not solely iBanFirst clients. This scalable micro-service builds on an architecture and APIs that enable the aggregation of any type of bank settlement. Initially developed for foreign currency payments, it also facilitates eurozone (SEPA) transfers.

"A growing number of companies operate internationally and source products overseas," said Oualid Abderrazek, chief product officer at iBanFirst. "Manufacturers’ terms of payments often call for a 30% advance by bank transfer before production starts and the settlement of their invoice before shipment. The timely execution of payments and the ability to notify beneficiaries are therefore crucial to bolster companies’ relationships with international vendors and to speed up their supply chain."


OneSource Virtual launches invoice payment and supplier management services

OneSource Virtual (OSV) has announced the launch of Invoice Pay, a payment optimisation solution that provides its Workday customers with the ability to seamlessly pay and manage supplier payment options as an extension of its invoice imaging, coding and approval workflow tools. Powered by J.P. Morgan’s virtual card payments solution, Single-Use Accounts (SUA), Invoice Pay also offers fraud protection and card rebates to OSV’s finance and accounting services customers.

With Invoice Pay, OSV offers payment capabilities such as ACH, virtual card, wire and cheque, in addition to fraud protection, card rebates, invoice reconciliation and a payment optimisation engine that factors in suppliers’ payment preferences.

OSV’s Invoice Pay offering will provide an accounts payable (AP) service for its Workday customers, streamlining the AP process and costs, increasing payment efficiencies and eliminating paper cheques. The service will also include supplier management. Customers’ suppliers will be contacted for onboarding and provided with supplier portals and payment preferences. The company says this should create a more equitable relationship and empower suppliers to adopt electronic payments.

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