For Te Pūkenga, equality in education and work outcomes is a fundamental part of our business. Our mission is to equip students with the necessary education and skills for them to enter and excel in their chosen vocation.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were established in September 2015, have provided us with targets on which to develop a new Social Finance Framework and ensure that Te Pūkenga is best placed to achieve our goal of equitable outcomes for all people.
“By aligning the Social Finance Framework to the United Nations Global Goals, Te Pūkenga is taking the steps required to claim its place as an internationally significant educational institute,” said Te Pūkenga Chief Executive Stephen Town. “The introduction of a new Social Finance Framework is an important step in that direction.”
Debt drawn under the Social Finance Framework will be used to fund eligible outcomes, and the assets and infrastructure required to make the outcomes possible. This can be achieved via new debt or the refinancing of existing debt in the Te Pūkenga group.
Eligible categories include access to education, employment generation and socioeconomic advancement and empowerment.
You can read more about the framework here.
New Social Loan a global leader for UN principles
To support the Social Finance Framework, Westpac NZ and Te Pūkenga have signed Australasia’s first ever Social Loan in alignment with international sustainable finance principles.
The $125m Social Loan will enable Te Pūkenga to offer better learning and employment opportunities to thousands of New Zealanders.
The Social Loan is the largest new sustainable finance loan in New Zealand to date, and one of the first loan globally to comply with the United Nations’ newly released Social Loan Principles.
“The Social Loan will help Te Pūkenga and its subsidiaries improve access to learning, advance equity for Māori and generate employment opportunities,” says Stephen.
Te Pūkenga campuses can use funding to develop tertiary education projects and activities that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the newly released sustainable finance principles for Social Loans. These include improving the quality of education, reducing inequality, and creating work opportunities and economic growth.
Westpac NZ Head of Sustainable Finance Joanna Silver says this lending could enable Te Pūkenga to build new educational facilities and invest in training programmes that provide better access to job opportunities.
“We know COVID-19 has caused huge disruptions to the workforce. With our support, Te Pūkenga is striving to offer equal access to education and vocational training that could benefit those whose livelihoods were affected by the pandemic,” Ms Silver says.
Under the terms of the loan, Te Pūkenga will be independently assessed by EY, a recognised third-party assurance provider in sustainable finance, to assess whether the funds are being used for the agreed social projects and activities. You can view the Independent Limited Assurance Statement here.
Te Pūkenga will report back to Westpac on the social benefits of the loan, including numbers of student enrolments and qualifications achieved as well as numbers of jobs created and the percentage of students gaining employment post qualification.