Return to Financial Support main page

Customers (buyers)

Your customers are under increasing pressure from their investors, governments and their own customers to tackle the climate crisis.

The companies you sell to may have made their own climate commitment, likely including their supply chain, meaning that your climate footprint is relevant to them. Accordingly, many companies have been integrating sustainability requirements into supplier contracts and audits. Strong buyer–supplier collaboration and innovation is required to scale sustainable business practices to together reach climate goals by 2030.

This may translate into financial support and training for your business, such as preferential contract terms if you too are taking action to reduce your emissions. One example is climate-linked supply chain finance

What is supply chain finance and how can it help support your net zero journey?

Supply chain finance is a mechanism whereby a company, often working with banks, offers their suppliers the option of a loan using invoices as collateral. Supply chain finance is often at a lower interest rate than suppliers could get directly from their bank, therefore enabling you, as the supplier, to access more affordable finance while waiting for the buyer to finalise payment.

Sustainable supply chain finance takes regular supply chain finance and integrates considerations such as the carbon footprint of the supplier. Based on the carbon footprint of the supplier, further interest rate discounts could be provided.

Training and advisory support

Even if your buyer does not offer direct access to supply chain financing, they might be able to help support in other ways – like calculating your greenhouse gas footprint – which can save costs you may have otherwise incurred.

Microsoft is helping their suppliers with GHG measurement, training, renewable energy transitions and advisory.

wind generator

Who to speak with at your customer organisation

Your entry point is the procurement team, or your usual contact at the organisation. They may need to connect with their finance or sustainability colleagues before getting back to you with the financial support they might be able to offer.

What you could ask

Not all buyers offer financial support, so the aim is to understand if your buyer can offer to support or value your commitment to reduce your emissions and, if so, how. Questions you could ask include:

  • Do you offer any financial support – either directly or with your bank – that could support our emission reduction efforts? Reference the specific actions to reduce your emissions that you plan to take if possible.
  • Do you offer improved payment terms for suppliers of yours that are actively working to reduce emissions?
  • Will you be factoring the emission reductions of your suppliers into your future procurement contracts?
  • Do you offer any in-kind support that can support our emission reduction efforts, such as help with calculating our emissions, public recognition as a green supplier, or similar?
  • Can you offer any non-financial support, such as constructive feedback on our plan to reduce emissions?

Sample text that you can use when contacting your customer (buyer)

“We at [company] are working to reduce our emissions, with an ultimate goal of reaching net zero ([link to a press release of your net zero commitment if you have one]).

We understand that [name of buyer] has made a net zero emissions commitment and are aware that other buyers who have done the same are offering support for suppliers, such as ourselves, looking to reduce our emissions. We are keen to learn what support or recognition you might be able to provide to help us on our journey, so would appreciate connecting with you about this soon.”

Read about businesses who have successfully found financial support
notebook

Potential sources of financial support – summary table

Stakeholder

Motivation for providing financial support

Examples of what financial support might be available

Examples of who you could speak with to learn if support offered

Customers (buyers)

  • Climate commitments by companies that include reducing the emissions of their supply chain
  • Improve the resilience of their supply chain to new policies aimed to avert climate change or the negative impacts of climate change
  • Protect supply chain from increased costs associated with carbon, such as ‘dirty’ energy
  • Improved purchasing terms (eg, days receivable reduced so working capital improves for small business)
  • Access to preferential invoice finance (eg, borrow against outstanding purchase orders to access funds sooner)
  • Advice and mentoring
  • Procurement representative

Banks

  • Commitments by banks to support customers to reduce emissions
  • Reduce the risk and carbon footprint of bank lending
  • Strengthen relationships and generate business opportunitie
  • Working capital solutions, e.g. trade finance
  • Loans for investments that reduce emissions
  • Emission calculators and advice
  • Relationship manager
  • Sector specialist (eg, transport)

Grants and other forms of government support

  • Local, national and international objectives for action on climate change
  • Grants to encourage investment in emissions reduction
  • Discounted lending distributed by a development bank, such as KfW
  • Access to investors or other sources of funds dedicated to climate action
  • Accountant
  • Local council enterprise officer
  • Local municipality
  • Bank
  • NGOs offering financial support in your area

Balance sheet and investors

  • Lower operational expenditures
  • Improve the commercial positioning of the business (eg, including alignment with buyers’ climate-related procurement policies)
  • Investors’ climate objectives
  • Self-funded from balance sheet (cash, asset sales, etc.)
  • New shareholder investment (equity)
  • Accountant
  • Current shareholders
  • Prospective investors

Customers (buyers)

Motivation for providing financial support

  • Climate commitments by companies that include reducing the emissions of their supply chain
  • Improve the resilience of their supply chain to new policies aimed to avert climate change or the negative impacts of climate change
  • Protect supply chain from increased costs associated with carbon, such as ‘dirty’ energy

Examples of what financial support might be available

  • Improved purchasing terms (eg, days receivable reduced so working capital improves for small business)
  • Access to preferential invoice finance (eg, borrow against outstanding purchase orders to access funds sooner)
  • Advice and mentoring

Examples of who you could speak with to learn if support offered

  • Procurement representative

Banks

Motivation for providing financial support

  • Commitments by banks to support customers to reduce emissions
  • Reduce the risk and carbon footprint of bank lending
  • Strengthen relationships and generate business opportunitie

Examples of what financial support might be available

  • Working capital solutions, e.g. trade finance
  • Loans for investments that reduce emissions
  • Emission calculators and advice

Examples of who you could speak with to learn if support offered

  • Relationship manager
  • Sector specialist (eg, transport)

Grants and other government support

Motivation for providing financial support

  • Local, national and international objectives for action on climate change

Examples of what financial support might be available

  • Grants to encourage investment in emissions reduction
  • Discounted lending distributed by a development bank, such as KfW
  • Access to investors or other sources of funds dedicated to climate action

Examples of who you could speak with to learn if support offered

  • Accountant
  • Local council enterprise officer
  • Local municipality
  • Bank
  • NGOs offering financial support in your area

Balance sheet and existing or prospective investors

Motivation for providing financial support

  • Lower operational expenditures
  • Improve the commercial positioning of the business (eg, including alignment with buyers’ climate-related procurement policies)
  • Investors’ climate objectives

Examples of what financial support might be available

  • Self-funded from balance sheet (cash, asset sales, etc.)
  • New shareholder investment (equity)

Examples of who you could speak with to learn if support offered

  • Accountant
  • Current shareholders
  • Prospective investors