NatWest launches digital Carbon Planner to help UK businesses
NatWest has today announced the launch of its Carbon Planner, a free to use digital platform designed to help UK businesses manage their future fuel and operational costs, and reduce their carbon footprint to help them go and grow greener.
The launch follows the bank’s broader commitment to lend £100bn to businesses in Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing by 2025.
NatWest research revealed that more than 72% of businesses expect their business will face increased difficulty in light of inflationary challenges citing increased costs of energy (56%), increased costs of materials (56%), and increased interest rates (37%) as the most challenging effects of inflation.
Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest Group, said: “Climate change is one of the biggest global challenges we face today, and small businesses have a critical role to play in helping the UK realise its green ambition.
“NatWest Group is committed to supporting its customers to understand and reduce their emissions. The launch of Carbon Planner is an important example of how we are putting tools in the hands of our customers to use their own data to cut costs and carbon emissions.”
The NatWest Carbon Planner is a tailored solution that provides personalised actions based on customer- data, enabling customers to make decisions as part of their plan when looking to reduce their carbon emissions, while outlining the financial impact of adopting such actions. NatWest’s A Springboard to Sustainability report estimated that 55-70% of business cases to reduce emissions will make financial sense for SMEs by 2030.
The platform also provides content, resources and solutions to help businesses make informed decisions so they can put actions into practice.
NatWest suggests that by businesses better understanding the commercial and carbon impact of their business operations, they will be in a stronger position to navigate the current inflationary challenges and make decisions about reducing their carbon emissions. With an ever-increasing focus on climate, the Carbon Planner can also help businesses with the ongoing management of their carbon reduction strategies.
Solange Chamberlain, chief operating officer, Commercial & Institutional, NatWest Group said: “Businesses are coming under increasing pressure due to rising costs. Many are fundamentally strong businesses which are experiencing a massive shock to input prices.
“As a bank, we can help businesses invest to save by switching from volatile commodities to renewable sources with predictable prices, and support businesses in taking actions to measure, evaluate and act to reduce their climate impact.
“Every business should consider if cutting carbon could cut costs and it’s important that we support the business community explore their options through access to finance to invest in cost reducing measures like energy efficiency.”
How does it help businesses on their journey to net zero?
The Carbon Planner takes a business through four practical steps to help them take action:
- Inform – lets businesses know their current emission hotspots and suggests alternatives
- Diagnose – helps businesses understand what is best for their business
- Plan – supports businesses in developing a plan of actions
- Deliver – signposting potential options available to help them to take actions that can help their business and have the potential to reduce impact on the environment
The platform was customer-led in design and developed with the support of more than 1,000 businesses.
Feedback from testing among both NatWest and non-NatWest business customers revealed that more than 72% of businesses expect their business will face increased difficulty in light of inflationary challenges citing increased costs of energy (56%), increased costs of materials (56%), and increased interest rates (37%) as the most challenging effects of inflation.
More than half (58%) of businesses surveyed think they will need financial help in order to reduce their carbon footprint. 77% believed the Carbon Planner will be ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ valuable to their organisation.
The bank’s research** also revealed that 87% of UK SMEs are unaware of their business’s total carbon emissions, despite good intentions – with almost half (45%) of UK SMEs recognising it is important to lower their emissions in the next five years.
NatWest engaged with environmental management consultancy, Green Element to develop the questions, actions and model. The bank also worked with other 3rd parties to develop the tool, including consultancies and academic experts.
Will Richardson, CEO, Green Element said: “Working with NatWest on this project has been a phenomenal experience. Being a part of the solution and solving problems is at the core of what Green Element do. Having worked in this space for 20+ years, seeing a large banking group push boundaries and help with the 1.5 degree goal we are all trying to reach is just brilliant to be a part of.”
John Bamford, head of advisory, Northern Europe, EcoAct, an Atos company comments: “Achieving a company-wide transformation plan to reach net-zero requires clear direction from leadership. We are therefore excited to see how NatWest brings customers along in their net-zero journey by facilitating a tailored data-driven tool to support their transition to a low carbon economy.
“From identifying priority areas and actions for reducing emissions and tracking progress, to connecting businesses to the funding needed to deliver their net-zero transition plans, NatWest’s Carbon Planner will help unlock some of the barriers businesses face when determining which low-carbon choices are worth making while building up collective climate action.”