Royal Bank of Scotland joins Edinburgh climate pact

The Royal Bank of Scotland has joined with five other Edinburgh businesses and employers to sign a pledge aimed at sparking radical action on climate change across the city.

Launched by the Edinburgh Climate Commission, the Edinburgh Climate Compact outlines a list of commitments which organisations taking part will need to adopt, to contribute to a green recovery and help Edinburgh reach its target of net zero emissions by 2030.

The six founding signatories comprise representatives from the private and public sector with Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, NHS Lothian, Robertson, the City of Edinburgh Council and the University of Edinburgh joining NatWest Group, which includes RBS, in confirming their commitment to be leaders in the race to net zero.

It is the first time in Scotland that employers spanning the health, finance, investment, construction, education, arts and culture and the public sector have come together to agree a significant reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions through their operations, influence and leadership, transport and buildings, to address climate change. 

Chair of the Edinburgh Climate Commission Dr Sam Gardner said: “As Scotland enters the twelve-month countdown to hosting COP26, Edinburgh has a unique opportunity to show the world the power of collaboration and the difference we as a city can make to address the climate emergency.

“Edinburgh’s key businesses and employers can, and must, show leadership in delivering real progress on the net-zero future of the city.”

As part of their role in leading on climate action in the Edinburgh, the signatories have agreed to 16 actions which will lead to clear change in their business practices in order to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. These include:

  • Publicising what action is currently taken by each signatory to address climate change including the disclosure of current emission levels and publishing plans for how they plan to reduce their carbon emissions;
  • Committing to retrofitting owned buildings and decarbonising operations to become more energy efficient and sustainable;
  • Prioritising active and sustainable travel in their workforce and investing in a switch to zero-emissions company owned vehicles;
  • Providing training for staff to develop their awareness and understanding of climate change and changes in their behaviour which could lead to a reduction in emissions.

Commissioner Clare Foster, who led the Climate Compact work stream for the Commission, added: “This Compact is for organisations who are committed to being leaders in the race to net-zero. It represents a significant step forward on the path to a new normal of sustainable business practice in a thriving green city.

“This level of collaboration between different sectors and organisations of this size has never been attempted before in Scotland when reducing emissions.

“The determination of the signatories to make a collective difference by committing to radically cutting their emissions is amazing and we hope it will set a benchmark that will encourage other businesses to join and other Cities to replicate.”

Simon Watson, managing director of retail banking and executive sponsor for climate change at RBS, said: “Climate change is the most significant challenge facing our society and, as the biggest backer of UK businesses, we have an important role to play in helping our customers transition to a low carbon economy.

“We are determined to lead on the collaboration and cooperation that is so critical to influencing the transition and that is why we are proud to be working with and learning from other employers in Edinburgh on this important agenda.”

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