The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has become the first Australian bank to be recognised under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) scheme.

The ISCC program is a voluntary sustainability certification scheme that facilitates sustainable practices in primary production industries, such as agriculture.

The scheme provides the members of a supply chain with fully traceable proof that their agricultural raw materials are sustainably produced, and allows Australian farmers to demonstrate they are producing agricultural commodities and food in a manner which meets community expectations for environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable production.

ISCC certification can also deliver extra returns for agricultural businesses, as ISCC-approved farmers are often paid a premium for their products, particularly in certain overseas markets.

As the only Australian bank to trade physical grain in the domestic market, ISCC certification will help CBA support agribusiness customers with a range of financial solutions. Alex Toone, CBA’s Executive General Manager, Commodities, Trade and Carbon said the ISCC certification allows the bank to support the great work many of CBA’s agri-sector customers are already doing to make their businesses more sustainable.

“We are very proud to work with farmers and primary producers in just about every region of Australia, and we know they are seeing increased demand for sustainably-produced products right across the entire agricultural landscape. Helping them get these products to market to meet this ever-increasing demand is a major priority for us and we know our ISCC certification will help do just that,” Mr Toone said.

Commonwealth Bank’s Executive General Manager, Regional and Agribusiness, Paul Fowler, said: “For many farmers, these ISCC standards are already embedded in what they do day-to-day, and we’re glad to see them being duly rewarded for it in overseas markets. We’re also pleased that our own certification means we can continue to support them with leading financial solutions that fit well within the ISCC chain of custody and supports the premium they receive for their sustainably-produced goods.”

The ISCC certification comes as CBA recently announced a sustainability-linked Borrowing Base Facility (BBF) with Viterra, one of Australia’s leading grain companies. The facility’s sustainability targets encourage Viterra to undertake grower engagement with ISCC and purchase ISCC-certified Australian-grown grain.

CBA is also expanding its trade finance products to include sustainability-linked, green, social and sustainable overlays, as well as structures that support the unbroken ISCC chain of custody.