NatWest Group joins forces with Microsoft to support businesses cutting carbon emissions

NatWest Group joins forces with Microsoft to support businesses cutting carbon emissions

Alison Rose

NatWest Group has joined forces with Microsoft to help UK businesses better understand their carbon footprint and create tailored action plans to reduce their carbon emissions leveraging digital technologies.

Due to be piloted later this year, and building on Microsoft’s innovative cloud, data and AI platform alongside NatWest Group’s deep customer understanding, the bank will support its business customers in understanding how and where they can reduce their emissions.

During the research phase of the project, the bank surveyed 500 business customers of different sizes to learn about their challenges in meeting their climate ambitions.

Eighty-eight per cent of those surveyed said reducing their indirect emissions, such as those in their supply chains, is difficult to get external support for. And 41% said reducing indirect emissions was ‘very challenging’ or ‘incredibly challenging’ for them.

For businesses that haven’t started their transition, the biggest barriers they face are a lack of information and data, and a lack of resource or funding.

Alison Rose, chief executive officer of NatWest Group, said: “Tackling climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. As the leading bank in the UK for businesses, we have a significant responsibility, and the ability, to encourage, enable and to lead the way in the UK to transition to a net zero carbon economy.

“Cross-industry collaboration and powerful partnerships will help to accelerate the speed of the transition, and I am very pleased we are working with Microsoft to help Britain’s businesses to understand and tackle their carbon footprints.”

Clare Barclay, chief executive officer, Microsoft UK, commented: “At Microsoft we grounded our carbon negative strategy in the belief that technology can help solve the world’s biggest challenges. We are focused upon pulling all of the levers of influence we have including our operations as a customer, supplier, investor, employer, policy advocate and partner.

“We are proud to partner with NatWest on its bold sustainability aspirations. Partnerships help us accelerate progress and together I’m looking forward to enabling more UK businesses to drive the progress we so urgently need.”

This piece of work is a demonstration of NatWest Group and Microsoft’s commitments not just to tackle their own climate impacts but to support other businesses to reduce theirs through the use of data and technology.

Both companies have put tackling climate change at the heart of their strategies.

In January 2020, Microsoft announced its goal to be carbon negative by 2030 and remove more carbon from the environment than it has emitted since its founding by 2050. NatWest Group has set ambitions to make its own operations climate positive by 2025, having achieved net zero in 2020, and to halve the climate impact of its financing activity by 2030.

The bank has published its first ever ESG supplement, a new publication bringing together non-financial disclosures to help investors and other stakeholders understand the bank’s progress against its purpose, for which climate is a key priority.

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