NatWest (RBS) to provide £100bn climate funding
Alison Rose: opportunities
NatWest (RBS) Group is providing £100 billion of climate-friendly funding including new green loans to support customers in their transition to net zero.
The extension of Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing (CSFF) will see the bank build on its previous 2020-21 goal to provide £20bn through the initiative, which was achieved six months early.
NatWest said the sustainable funding pot will be used to support all customers, including small businesses, on the net zero push, as well as to invest further in areas such as renewables and wind, green mortgage deals for homeowners and electric vehicles.
It also unveiled plans to offer a green loan for small firms, with incentives for sustainable borrowing – similar to its sustainable mortgage launched last October offering lower interest rates for customers buying energy efficient homes.
A report published today by NatWest sets out the potential opportunity that exists for the UK economy from the transition to net-zero, finding that SMEs could create up to 130,000 jobs, produce around 30,000 businesses and result in an estimated £160 billion opportunity for the UK economy.
The report finds that there is a significant opportunity for the UK to be a global leader in the transition to net-zero.
It also found that the UK’s six million small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can achieve 50% of the UK’s Net Zero decarbonisation goals, if they receive the right support through funding, knowledge, and training.
The report and its associated initiatives are intended to support the efforts to halve the bank’s financed emissions by 2030 and meet the net zero targets by 2050, in line with its commitments as a founding member of the Net Zero Banking Alliance.
NatWest is calling on financial institutions, government, industry bodies and large corporates to play their role in collectively supporting SMEs to unlock the climate opportunity.
It plans to launch a new green loan product for SME customers, new specialist Accelerators for Clean Transport and Circular Economy, new tools for businesses to monitor their carbon footprint, and mandatory climate training for all its relationship managers in collaboration with University of Cambridge and University of Edinburgh.
Alison Rose, chief executive, NatWest Group said: “We have identified the potential opportunities as being worth £160bn for SMEs and the UK economy, and we want to do everything possible to support our customers in achieving a share of that prize.
“This report is the response to what our business customers are telling us they need in terms of practical support as they face a complex decision-making process.
“I’m firmly of the view that we should never underestimate the power of the small – and in this instance SMEs – for leveraging big advances.”
Lord Nicholas Stern, chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment, said: “In the fifteen years since we published The Stern Review, governments and businesses have been slow to recognise the enormous and growing threat that climate change poses to economic development.
“This report by NatWest is timely and important, and makes it clear that the UK’s small, start up and innovative firms need support to capitalise on the emerging opportunities from the transition to a low-carbon economy.
“Fifteen years from now, we will know whether we will succeed or fail to meet the UK’s net-zero target, and the UK’s SMEs will play a defining role in the outcome.”
The report is the second in NatWest’s ‘Springboard’ series of reports, following March’s ‘Springboard to Recovery’ report into SME recovery, post-pandemic.
The latest report was created in consultation with partners including McKinsey, Microsoft, British Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses, CBI, Blackrock, CoGo, HVM Catapult, ScaleUp Institute and National Farmers Union (NFU).