NatWest joins UN-backed Bankers for Net-Zero initiative

The Bankers for Net-Zero coalition launched in 2019. It is dedicated to investigating the role of the banking industry in mitigating risks associated with the transition to a net-zero economy. It aims to ensure that policies, regulations, and financial mechanisms align to facilitate the transformation of all key industries within the UK economy.

Members include Santander, HSBC UK and Triodos Bank.

NatWest Group’s head of climate change James Close said: “Unlocking and mobilising the finance needed to support the UK’s transition to net-zero will require the sector to de-risk the transition and ensure that policy, regulation and finance are all playing their part in enabling the UK economy to transform itself.

“Bankers for Net Zero provides a complementary platform for banks to work together to address the climate challenge. We look forward to getting stuck in to support the group to drive change and leverage existing initiatives including Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) and the Transition Plan Taskforce.”

NatWest has pledged to create tools and pathways for customers to reduce energy bills, enhance the UK’s energy security, and support businesses in seizing opportunities arising from the transition to a net-zero economy.

In 2022, the bank introduced its Carbon Planner initiative to simplify the process for businesses to understand and reduce their carbon footprint.

Last month, NatWest announced its partnership with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to provide a free retrofit learning platform for the construction sector, in an effort to reduce built sector emissions.

Additionally, NatWest Group has committed to providing £100bn in climate and sustainability funding by the end of 2025.

Over the past seven years, global banks have collectively channelled more than $5.5trn into the fossil fuel sector, while the progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has stalled, and in some instances, reversed.

This situation has led to a funding gap of up to $137trn, posing a risk of failing to meet the 2030 deadline.

Bankers for Net-Zero’s director Heather Buchanan said: “Banks and the business community have a real responsibility to push forward the decarbonisation agenda to help and support both retail and business customers as well as the wider UK economy.

“But the just transition to a net-zero economy will not happen without the support of the financial services sector.”

Al Rayan Bank becomes operationally carbon-neutral

In related news, Al Rayan Bank has declared that it has achieved operational carbon neutrality.

Al Rayan Bank’s chief executive officer Giles Cunningham said: “While we are a relatively small UK bank with a low carbon footprint, it is still extremely important that we take our responsibilities seriously.

“To become operationally carbon neutral is a significant milestone and marks the first step in our long-term plan to become a net-zero producer of CO2.”

The bank has partnered with Carbon Neutral Britain to offset 200% of its carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions.

The bank will compensate for double the amount of CO2e it generated in 2022, totalling 256.5 tonnes, through the acquisition of carbon offsets that actively support global reforestation and woodland management projects.

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