NatWest Group named as banking sponsor of COP26 climate summit in Glasgow
NatWest Group, formerly known as RBS Group, has been named as the banking sponsor of next year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
The banking group said its sponsorship would demonstrate “its ambition to champion the fight against climate change by playing an active role in the transition to a low-carbon economy”.
Group CEO Alison Rose said: “NatWest Group is committed to being a leading UK bank helping to address the climate challenge. We will do this by driving material reductions in the climate impact of our financing activity and by making our own operations net zero carbon in 2020.
“But we want to do more than play our part. We want to lead on the collaboration and cooperation that is so critical to influencing the transition to a low carbon economy, which is why I am so proud that NatWest Group will be the COP26 banking sponsor.”
Alok Sharma, president of COP26, said: “I am delighted to announce our first sponsors for COP26, who have all shown ambitious climate leadership through setting net zero commitments and Science Based Targets.
“When it comes to climate action, we all have an important role to play. Only by continuing to come together can we build the zero carbon, climate resilient future that is essential for our people and our planet.”
The sponsorship move also coincides with two climate announcements from NatWest Group.
It has become the first major UK bank to sign up to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which has published guidance for financial institutions to set science-based targets to align their lending and investment activities with the Paris Agreement.
This builds on the bank’s commitments to make its operations net zero carbon by the end of 2020 and to at least halve the climate impact of its financing activity by 2030, which it set out in February. The bank has also committed to quantify the total climate impact of its lending and define sector-level targets by 2022.
To help NatWest Group meet these climate ambitions, it appointed expert Lord Stern as an independent climate advisor in July.
NatWest Group also announced today that more than 500 of its senior leaders have been enrolled on a sustainability leadership programme with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), which will begin tomorrow.
The programme, which will run over nine weeks, will be led by CISL faculty and draw in academic and industry experts. It will boost the climate and broader sustainability knowledge and skills of some of the bank’s most influential senior leaders.
The University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Business, Climate Change and Sustainability (B-CCaS) is currently training a further 1,000 NatWest Group colleagues to help the bank support its customers to reduce their carbon impact and transition to the low carbon economy.