NatWest delivers £3.5bn low-carbon lending in three years
Banking giant NatWest has pledged to deliver of £10bn lending to UK renewable energy and energy efficiency projects by 2020, having provided £3.5bn over the past three years.
The bank has already surpassed its 2015 three-year target of funding £3bn to the sustainable energy sector.
NatWest’s executive sponsor for sustainable energy Richard Saint said the London-based firm was committed to “doing business in a more sustainable way and helping our customers do so too”.
“This is a huge achievement, demonstrating our strong commitment to the low carbon economy and the jobs, businesses and communities that rely on it,” he said.
“It also highlights the attractiveness of the UK for investment in the low carbon goods and services sector for British businesses.”
Between 2015 and 2017, NatWest supported almost 1,500 transactions. The solar sector received the most significant amount of support (41%), followed by wind (25%) and biomass (9%), with anaerobic digestion, smart meter and energy efficiency projects making up the rest of lending provided.
NatWest purchases 100% of its energy from renewable sources and last year launched the Independent Energy Savings Audit Programme, which helps businesses to develop better energy solutions and save money on their bills.
On a wider industry level, there are concerns the banking industry is failing to disclose and take action on climate-related risks. The UK’s high street banks are still profiting from some of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel projects despite committing to deliver the Paris Agreement goals of limiting global warming to below 2C.
The shortcomings of global banks on climate action could undermine efforts to achieve a 2C world, according to a recent damning report backed by more than 100 investors worth almost $2trn in assets.