May 13, 2019 / 10:35 PM / 2 months ago

Starbucks, Mercon announce separate sustainability loans

NEW YORK, May 13 (Reuters) - Starbucks and Mercon Coffee Group separately announced sustainability-focused loan facilities on Monday, signaling the coffee sector's growing emphasis on sustainability as climate change and low global prices threaten the future of the crop.

Starbucks announced a $1 billion sustainability bond, its third such bond but largest to date, proceeds of which will go to supporting the purchase of ethically sourced coffee, farmer support programs, and the building of greener retail stores.

Morgan Stanley acted as the sustainability structuring agent and joint book-running manager on the transaction.

Netherlands-based Mercon announced a $450 million sustainability-linked senior secured revolving credit facility, led by Rabobank, which will specifically fund initiatives related to sustainability, such as programs through which Mercon will help offer technical assistance to farmers.

Organizations and governments around the world are increasingly looking at how to support coffee farmers as coffee futures languish near 13-1/2-year lows because of a global glut.

Meanwhile, climate change is making it difficult to cultivate coffee in parts of the world that used to be growing areas, and threatening many coffee species with extinction.

Reporting by Ayenat Mersie Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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