SWITZERLAND – Global agricultural commodities trader, COFCO International has appointed Zhaohui (Christy) Da as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), based at the company’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ms Da joins COFCO International as CFO from COFCO Corporation, the company’s main shareholder, where her most recent position was Chief Audit Officer COFCO Group. She has served as COFCO International Board Director since July 2017 until June 2020.
Ms Da joined COFCO Corporation in 1994 and has since held various finance leadership roles across COFCO Group companies in China. She previously served as Director of the Board of COFCO Capital and COFCO Biochemical.
“Christy has strong financial expertise with over 25 years of experience from leading the financial, audit and risk organisations at COFCO Group and its agri-businesses in China,” said David Dong, CEO of COFCO International.
“She will be instrumental in achieving our development objectives and furthering cooperation between the Group’s Chinese and international businesses.”
She succeeds Jing Wu who has decided to leave the company in September, following a transition period. “I would like to thank Jing on behalf of everyone at COFCO International for his service and valuable contribution and wish him success for the future,” added Mr Dong.
COFCO International recently secured a US$2.3 billion sustainability-linked loan with a consortium of 21 global banks to improve its environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) performance as well as to increase traceability of agri-commodities, with a focus on directly sourced soy in Brazil.
The credit facility is the largest sustainability-linked loan for a commodity trader to date, a deal that saw the company receive multiple awards in May this year for the sector-leading sustainability-linked loan.
“Establishing a sustainability-linked loan as our core credit facility, and with so many of our key banking partners, is a landmark achievement for COFCO International. We are determined to continuously improve our performance and deliver on our public commitments,” said Paul van Spaendonk, Head of Financing at COFCO International.
In May this year, COFCO said that it had already made strides to fulfil its commitments under the loan laying the foundations for progress. In particular, in 2019, the company achieved 98% traceability to farm for all direct soy sourcing in 25 priority municipalities in Brazil’s Cerrado, and has set a goal to achieve full traceability to farm for all directly sourced Brazilian soybean by 2023.
The company noted that it is seeking to build on the robust foundation established in 2019 to make tracing large volumes of soy a reality, and rapidly – to fulfil the next two years’ loan targets.
Informed by greater visibility of how and where the soy is produced, the has committed to deepening its focus on assessing farmers’ environmental and social performance and building farmers’ capacity.
Additionally, COFCO International said that it will research further opportunities to enhance resource efficiency within its operations, among other sustainability commitments covered by the loan terms. “And there will be more to come on sustainable finance, too,” the company notes.
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