RBS secures three-year partnership with the University of Edinburgh to further climate expertise

The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced a three-year partnership with The University of Edinburgh Centre for Business, Climate Change and Sustainability.

RBS secures three-year partnership with the University of Edinburgh to further climate expertise

David Brown, deputy vice principal enterprise, University of EdinburghClare Martin, purpose & climate curriculum lead at NatWest Group, Jenny Britton, head of executive development at University of Edinburgh Business School and James Close, head of climate change at NatWest Group, Gogarburn, Edinburgh.

The £1.5 million partnership will facilitate the delivery of a climate education programme to more than 16,000 people across the business by the end of 2024, including relationship managers and other customer-facing colleagues.

It will also support the delivery of the in-depth Climate Change Transformation training programme for those in priority roles who require a broader level of knowledge.

Experts from The University of Edinburgh Centre for Business, Climate Change and Sustainability will work alongside Royal Bank of Scotland business banking specialists to deliver 12-week online education programmes to relationship managers and colleagues in priority roles to help Scottish business customers identify the opportunities a net zero economy can create, while helping them become more sustainable operations in the process.

The university will work with the bank to develop the training, tools and content to support colleague education and awareness. This will help them engage in climate conversations both within the bank and with Scottish business customers, helping them understand and take action to reduce their climate impact and to identify and realise the business opportunities from being at the forefront of the net-zero economy.

This new deal builds on the previous successful collaboration with The University of Edinburgh Centre for Business, Climate Change and Sustainability and seeks to support the evolution and growth of existing programmes, developing new learning to support key sectors across the bank.

This year will also see the rollout of sector-specific climate training programmes across commercial real estate, retail and leisure and manufacturing.

The University and Royal Bank will work with real estate expert Cushman and Wakefield to provide commercial real estate specialist training; Circuthon Consulting, Helen Chambers Consulting and My Little Green Wardrobe to provide retail and leisure specialist training; and Warwick Manufacturing Group at Warwick University to deliver manufacturing specialist training.

James Close, head of Climate Change, NatWest Group, said: “Climate education across the bank is central to us reaching our climate ambitions and the UK’s move to a net zero economy. We continue to inspire climate action and innovation through learning and this partnership with the University of Edinburgh will enable us to accelerate this. In the next three years we will continue to improve the climate capability of the bank through co-delivery of a robust and specifically tailored programme of education.

“This specialist training will provide the confidence for colleagues to step into climate conversations both within the bank and with customers. Increased knowledge will empower bank colleagues to help businesses across sectors roll out effective and credible transition plans as the UK heads towards a low carbon economy.”

Jonathan Seckl, senior vice principal of The University of Edinburgh, added: “The Centre for Business, Climate Change and Sustainability are leading the field in this area of research, and we are proud that this new partnership will enable them to further their impact in this sector. Social responsibility and sustainability are central focal points for the University’s 2030 Strategy, and a partnership that promotes the delivery of such a significant climate education programme is at the very heart of what we hope to achieve.”

Wendy Loretto, dean of The University of Edinburgh Business School, commented: “We are delighted that this relationship has resulted in an official partnership, as it will enable us to build upon and deepen the close working relationship that our Business School colleagues have established with Royal Bank of Scotland over the past few years. The response we have had from across the business is inspiring and testament to the positive approach being adopted by the bank in pursuing its purpose led mission.

“COP26 highlighted just how integral businesses are in this climate crisis, and collaborations such as this mark the great responsibility business schools have in ensuring their research translates to effective change. This partnership gives us the opportunity to ensure we are at the forefront of such change.”

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