As an employee-led network, the SFN acts as a voice for NatWest Group colleagues on matters of climate and sustainability.

Q. What is the Sustainable Futures Network?

The Sustainable Futures Network (SFN) is a bankwide employee-led network which supports and encourages colleagues to embed sustainability at work and at home. It was founded in 2019 when two of NatWest Group’s graduate trainees decided that they wanted to enable more of their colleagues to drive meaningful change in the bank and in their everyday lives.


Q. How did it come about?

Once the vision of the network had been established, support was secured for the idea from senior managers, business leads and ultimately, the CEO of NatWest Group, Alison Rose, who gave the final approval for the network to launch. Within the space of three years the network has grown from two passionate graduates to a network of 2,610 members and 43 leadership team members, driving action across the organisation at every level from bankwide change to local community initiatives.

Q. What does the SFN hope to achieve?

We want to ensure that every colleague understands the realities of climate change. Namely, its impacts on our individual lifestyles and the broad repercussions on our financial system. In the face of the huge shifts that climate change brings, we want colleagues to feel optimistic about the future, to understand the opportunity that it brings for our customers, and the positive changes we can help them make.



Q. What have been the major achievements of the SFN so far?

Apart from helping so many of our colleagues to feel educated and empowered about making positive environmental change, we’ve also delivered some very tangible outcomes.

For instance, our Sustainability Champions initiative has given colleagues access to a structured learning programme and the chance to set their own personal and professional sustainability objectives – creating a cohort of passionate individuals driving change on a raft of sustainability issues.

In January 2020, we also collaborated with carbon footprint tracking tool, Giki Zero Pro, which has enabled 3,833 colleagues to commit to reducing over 500,000 kgs of carbon in less than one year. And as a result of our work with Giki Zero, the SFN won the BusinessGreen Employee Engagement Campaign of the Year Award.


Climate Matters

Our Climate Matters publication features a foreword from COP26 President, The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, as well as articles from our CEO Alison Rose on how we’re building on the momentum created by COP26 and our Head of Climate James Close on what drives his passion for climate change.

Read now (PDF 3.9MB)

We want to ensure that every colleague understands the realities of climate change.

Q. How has the SFN influenced senior management thinking at NatWest Group?

As an employee-led network, the SFN acts as a voice for NatWest Group colleagues on matters of climate and sustainability. This means we have a regular dialogue with the company’s executive committee: providing updates on what we’re working on and relaying the sentiment of our members on specific climate topics.

As such, we have been able to play our part in directly raising and shaping the bank’s climate agenda. One area in particular has been the SFN’s key role in the bank’s Climate Education Working Group, where we have worked alongside the bank’s fulltime education team to deliver complementary sessions on a range of topics important to our members.

For us, this engagement feels incredibly empowering: knowing that the next generation of leaders are already being listened to and informing future business priorities.


Q. What is the SFN working on right now?

One of our key ambitions is to engage other businesses to stimulate sustainable change from within. We know that empowering employees can lead to enormous success in challenging the status quo in any organisation, and by sharing the ‘Institutional Activism’ strategies we’ve developed, we believe that we can help passionate people create change wherever they work.


How are you inspiring this change?

We started exploring this theme at COP26 by chairing an event with Microsoft, Hitachi Rail, and Scottish Power which focused on the potential of empowering youth activism.

In March 2022, at an event jointly hosted with KPMG’s sustainability network, the SFN expanded the discussion further. Over 80 people from customers and partner organisations, joined us for a panel discussion and interactive workshop about how to successfully build purpose-led businesses.

For us, this clearly demonstrated the power that can come from effectively partnering with the right organisations. But more importantly, it showed how we can create a positive influence that extends far beyond our own organisation.

Caution about this article. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the ones of members of the Sustainable Futures Network and do not necessarily represent the views of the NatWest Group. This article (i) has been prepared for information and reference purposes only; (ii) is intended to provide non-exhaustive, indicative and general information only; (iii) does not purport to be comprehensive; and (iv) does not provide any form of legal, tax, investment, accounting, financial or other advice. Click here to read the full Climate Matters document that contains cautionary statements relating to this content. (PDF 3.9MB)

Please see NatWest’s 2021 Climate-related Disclosures Report for those views and other information including about our financed emissions and heightened climate-related risk sectors.

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