Lender partners with climate start-up
Prospa has teamed up with Trace in a move that strengthens its commitment to transition towards net zero emissions.
The non-bank lender, which specialises in small business lending, said that it had an important role to play to reduce its impact on the environment, and that its goal was to inspire others to take similar actions.
Through a partnership with Trace, a Sydney-based climate tech startup, Prospa will measure, reduce and offset its carbon emissions.
As a result of the partnership, Prospa said that it had immediately addressed its carbon emissions by purchasing carbon credits from “high-integrity and verified climate projects”.
Prospa chief people officer Elise Ward (pictured above) said that the partnership represented a “milestone” in the non-bank lender’s sustainability journey, while also recognising that the company had a long way to go to achieve its target.
The transition towards net zero formed part of Prospa’s broader commitments in environmental, social and governance initiatives, she said.
“While calculating our carbon footprint and purchasing carbon offsets is an important first step, it cannot replace carbon reduction activities,” Ward said.
Trace measures an organisation’s carbon emissions against the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the global best practice framework for carbon accounting. This forms the basis for the Science Based Targets and the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures sustainability reporting standards.
Partnering with Trace will support Prospa to move towards greater environmental action and support other small businesses to start their sustainability journey, Ward said.
“With growing concern among our people, customers and community on the need for greater climate action, the partnership will ensure our actions are sustainable and measurable in the long run,” she said.
Assisted by Trace, Prospa said it had undergone a “rigorous and independent data collection process” to accurately measure its carbon footprint and breakdown of emissions for the 2022 financial year.
The non-bank lender said it had also identified several opportunities to reduce its carbon footprint and engage its people in the process.
Specifically, Prospa had engaged in direct emissions (‘scope 1 and scope 2’) reduction activities across different areas of the business and created a baseline to establish and track against science-based targets. This included moving Prospa Australia and New Zealand operations to verified renewable energy and electricity providers.
It had investigated emissions relating to its supply chain (said to form 86% of emissions currently) and identified opportunities to engage suppliers on their own decarbonisation journey.
Prospa said that it had also created a dedicated environmental employee resource group that would drive sustainability awareness and advocacy in the workplace and at home, using educational resources and initiatives.
Trace CEO and co-founder Cat Long said that their respective businesses shared a similar mission, which was to “unleash the potential of small business”, through climate action and financing solutions.
“Throughout the process, Prospa has demonstrated their ambition not only to address its own carbon footprint but also empower its communities to do the same,” Long said.
Environment is a key focus for Prospa
Prospa said that the environment was a focus for the business, and an area that its leaders and people were passionate about.
In a recent survey conducted by the non-bank lender, 75% of Prospa employees said that environmental sustainability was “quite” or “ very important” to them.
Prospa said that as a business, it had a role to play in reducing its impact on the environment and taking meaningful action on climate change. It would inspire its customers and employees to take similar actions.
“Becoming a climate-positive business is important to our people, and we are proud of our employees who are championing change not only within Prospa, but in their homes and their communities,” Ward.
Visualisation dashboards and employee engagement tools available as part of its partnership with Trace are used to measure progress and engage Prospa employees, helping them to understand and reduce their personal carbon footprint.
Prospa specialises in small business lending, with its suite of products including the Prospa Small Business Loan, Prospa Business Loan Plus and Prospa Business Line of Credit. In the 2022 financial year ending June 30, it announced that loan originations across Australia and New Zealand had reached $732.8 million.
Earlier this year, Prospa New Zealand held a roundtable discussion with other non-bank lenders to look at ways they were helping customers who don’t meet the traditional lending profile preferred by mainstream players.