I want to send a very clear message at the beginning of 2023 that we are not letting up on tackling climate change.

Alison Rose DBE
NatWest Group CEO

Giving a speech at a climate event held at our Bishopsgate HQ in London, our CEO Alison Rose DBE set out proposed actions we plan to take to reduce the climate impact of our financing activities while also supporting our customers to achieve their ambitions to transition to the net zero economy.


Speech by NatWest Group CEO, Alison Rose DBE.

"Almost 3 years ago, in this very building I announced that tackling climate change would be a central pillar of my strategy as CEO of NatWest Group.

Today, a week ahead of the publication of our initial Climate Transition Plan, I want to take stock, outline our progress and set out our plans to drive further action.

And that action will include much more support and investment for our business customers to tackle climate change, significantly more money for green mortgages, more tools to rapidly increase retrofitting across the UK and a change to our oil and gas funding policy. 

So why am I making these announcements today?

Put simply, tackling the climate emergency is one of, if not THE biggest issue of our time – and banks have a massive role to play in mobilising the power of finance to meet the net zero ambition.

I want to send a very clear message at the beginning of 2023 that we are not letting up on tackling climate change.

I would like to thank Lord Stern, the NGOs and our climate partners who have joined us here today, for the help and challenge they have given us over the last three years. I hope we will continue to work together as constructive friends going forward. 

Not only is tackling climate change the right thing to do for the planet and for future generations but, as our adviser Lord Stern has always said, it is a massive growth opportunity for the bank and for many of our customers. 

Our recent Springboard report identified there is a potential £175bn opportunity for the UK economy through the transition to net zero – this is an opportunity we cannot miss.


So first of all let me outline what we are doing to get our own house in order.

Having climate change at the heart of our purpose-led strategy has changed the way we operate as a bank.

We are the first major UK bank, and one of the first bank’s globally, to have sector level emissions reductions targets validated as science based by the SBTi.

As I’ve said we will publish our initial Climate Transition Plan next week, and we continue to include certain climate targets in senior executive remuneration.


But it is not just about us – our customers are central to everything we do.

To achieve meaningful change across the economy, we know we need to support and encourage our customers and give them not just finance, but also the tools they need to transition.

So we are harnessing the power of innovation to develop tools such as Carbon Planner, to help businesses understand their carbon emissions.

Our innovative Green Mortgages are providing cheaper finance to customers focussed on tackling climate change.

And I want to announce today that we will aim to provide at least £10 billion lending for EPC A and B residential properties by the end of 2025.

Let me be very clear - we are serious about supporting customers through the transition and achieving more energy efficient homes.


Responsible lending is my next area of focus.

We are making good progress against our target to provide Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing of £100 billion by the end of 2025. 

We’ve made commitments on coal, oil and gas and are making progress in these areas.

We’ll publish our latest figures next week but at September 2022, oil and gas represented only 0.7% of our outstanding committed exposures. 

And by the end of 2020, we had reduced absolute scope 1,2 and 3 emissions associated with the oil and gas sector by a third compared with the 2019 emissions profile.

Our oil and gas emissions reduction target has been validated by the SBTi as science based, which underpins our climate transition plan.

And I am announcing today that we are reducing our current levels of lending to upstream oil & gas (PDF 156KB).

We want to ensure our capital is being used to support a transition whilst continuing to reduce the financing of harmful emissions.

So from today, we will not provide reserve based lending specifically for the purpose of financing oil and gas exploration, extraction and production for new customers, and, after, the 31st December 2025 we will not renew, refinance or extend existing reserve based lending specifically for the purpose of financing oil and gas exploration, extraction and production.

I hope this sends a strong signal that we are serious about ending the most harmful activity whilst financing the transition.

But we know tackling climate change cannot be done alone. Building powerful partnerships is key.

It’s a team sport if we are to move at pace and ensure that we are doing the right thing.

So two years ago we launched the Sustainable Homes and Buildings Coalition with British Gas, Worcester Bosch, Citizens Advice and Shelter.

We’ve been working with the Sustainable Food Trust to develop a tool to help farmers measure their environmental impact.

And we are working with organisations and companies like WWF, the SMI and CoGo.

So a lot done but a lot more to do.


And on doing more, next week we will be one of the first financial services companies in the UK to publish our initial Climate Transition Plan.

In producing our CTP, we have drawn from the GFANZ Transition Planning framework and the guidance from the Transition Planning Taskforce.

The analysis of our lending and investment book will link to our ambition to halve the climate impact of our financing activity and recently announced sector targets validated by the SBTi.

We know that in some areas we can take action ourselves but in others we are dependent on government policy. This vital partnership between the public and private sectors is the key to unlocking the challenge of our lifetime at pace and scale.

We are focussed on developing transition plans at a sector level – prioritising sectors with high emissions rates or balance sheet exposure values.

And from our work on sector level transition plans, it is clear that there are interlinkages between sectors which support decarbonisation across the system.

This is most obvious on property retrofits to create energy efficient homes which need a good supply chain and government intervention.

Home energy efficiency is an absolutely key area not just for NatWest Group, but our customers and the population as a whole.

We are one of the biggest mortgage lenders in the UK and our strategy is to support the greening of UK housing underpinned by the ambition that 50% of our mortgage book is at or above EPC C by 2030.

NatWest can play a critical role, beyond the provision of capital, by connecting homeowners with energy companies and retrofit specialists to remove the points of friction for retrofitting of buildings.

And kickstarting the market for green technologies, materials, and services requires at-scale customer demand.

A large, guaranteed demand pipeline will be key to improve the affordability of solutions to decarbonise buildings across the UK.

So, recognising the scale and urgency of the climate challenge, I am announcing today that we have partnered with Places for PeopleBritish Gas Centrica and Schneider Electric – coordinated by Pineapple Sustainable Partnerships - to work together on a pilot project to show that retrofitting homes at scale can be an achievable and affordable goal.

The ambition is to retrofit thousands of social homes in the coming years through a coalition of landlords across the country. 

Improving the comfort, safety and performance of social housing is a powerful example of our purpose in action. 

This is the culmination of two years of work from our respective organisations – and I thank the representatives here today for working with us. 

We look forward to taking the learnings from this pilot, and collectively delivering solutions at scale to support our current and future customers with improving their property efficiency and performance.

We want to work at scale to increase demand. But we need the skills and companies to carry out the work and we also want to make it as easy for our customers to retrofit as possible.

So we are in discussions with Airbnb to see how we can work together to support its Hosts along their sustainability journey. Together, we want to make it easier for landlords to access the finance they need to enable them to invest in improving the energy efficiency of their properties. I hope we can work together successfully to make a massive difference.

We are also exploring how we can work with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to share the knowledge and build the skills needed to retrofit homes across the UK.

And the final piece of the jigsaw is to help people access all the information they need.  

So I can announce today that NatWest Group is creating a One Stop Portal where customers will be able to work out what they need to improve the energy efficiency of their home, find the finance and source a supplier.

We must make this as easy and cost effective as possible to encourage people to take the leap, whilst also recognising the economic challenges for households currently, and the diversity of housing stock.

There will be more announcements to come but I hope the ones I have made today show that we have the intent and will work hard with both private and public sector bodies to move at pace to help transform home energy efficiency in the UK.

And on support for our business customers, I spoke earlier about the potential £175bn revenue opportunity for small businesses in the UK’s drive towards decarbonisation.

But for many SMEs the current economic climate means their focus is not on the transition. And this is where organisations like NatWest Group can step in to help.

So we are introducing a significant new feature into Carbon Planner – one that will allow businesses to use their accounting data to automatically estimate their carbon footprint. This will save valuable time and money.

And to make it easier for business customers to transition to electric vehicles, the bank’s asset finance arm Lombard is partnering with Diode, an innovative climate tech start-up, to create a toolkit to help SMEs transition in a more informed way.

These are practical solutions but more than that - they help encourage SMEs to take the plunge and seize the potential cost saving and revenue making opportunities.

Finally this week we also announced the carbon credit transition network that we have founded with 8 other global banks, Carbonplace, has raised $45 million in seed funding and formed its own entity led by a new CEO. 

The Voluntary Carbon Credit market lacks scale, accessibility, transparency and trust. Carbonplace will help change all that and is yet another example of working with partners to make big changes, at pace to tackle climate change.

So in conclusion NatWest Group has come a long way in just three years but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact there is much more to do.

We must work together with partners. We must harness technology and we must educate ourselves and develop the tools to help our customers join us on the journey.

And we must take Lord Stern’s advice and make the most of the commercial opportunities the transition to net zero gives us.

I understand the Cost of Living is what most people are focussed on, but I believe that Cost of Living concerns can lead to more and better action on tackling climate change.

More energy efficient homes and buildings, bringing down energy costs, more revenue opportunities for SMEs, more upskilling across the whole of the UK to drive local economies, more brilliant collaboration between the public and private sectors.

The announcements I’ve made today are just the start of our activity in 2023 to tackle the climate crisis.

I hope it shows good progress and the right intent and leaves you in no doubt that tackling climate change continues to be a major priority for this bank.

Thank you."


This article is for media use only and is not a financial promotion.

Information on Green Mortgages

Green Mortgages are available to over 18s purchasing a home with a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of A or B. Product fees may apply. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Information about Carbon Planner

Carbon Planner is available online to all UK businesses and is not limited to NatWest customers. While any UK business can use the tool, businesses will get the most from the NatWest Carbon Plan if they: 

- Have an annual turnover of above £2m

- Can access it on a desktop computer

- Are interested in taking action to reduce their carbon emissions

Information about Lombard

Security, guarantees or indemnities may be required. Product fees may apply. Finance subject to status and is only available for business purposes. Over 18s only.

Information about A Springboard to Sustainable Recovery Report

Whilst the information of this report is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates included in this report are solely those of the NatWest Group Economics Department, as of this date and are subject to change without notice. 

Caution About Forward-looking Statements.

This speech above contains climate-related and other forward-looking statements, aims, ambitions, estimates, targets and plans, including but not limited to,

- NatWest Group’s aim to at least halve the climate impact of its financing activity by 2030 and align with the 2015 Paris Agreement;

- NatWest Group’s target to provide at least £10 billion in lending for EPC A or B rating residential properties between 1 January 2023 and the end of 2025 as part of its wider target to provide £100 billion of climate and sustainable funding and financing between 1 July 2021 and the end of 2025;

- NatWest Group’s ambition that 50% of NatWest Group’s mortgage book has an EPC rating of C or above by 2030;

- NatWest Group’s sector level emissions reduction targets validated as science based by SBTi;

- NatWest Group’s plans (i) from February 2023 to stop providing reserve based lending specifically for the purpose of financing oil and gas exploration, extraction and production for new customers, and, that after the 31st December 2025 not to renew, refinance or extend existing reserve- based lending specifically for the purpose of financing oil and gas exploration, extraction and production; and (ii) to stop providing reserve- based lending and borrowing base financing to upstream Oil and Gas companies specifically for the purpose of financing upstream assets located in Arctic or Antarctic Waters; and

- NatWest Group’s ambition to retrofit thousands of social homes in the coming years through a coalition of landlords across the country.

Words or phrases such as ‘ambition’, ‘aim’, ‘believe’, ’continue’, ‘effort’, ‘estimate’, ‘goal’, ‘guidance’, ‘intend’, ‘intention’, ‘may’, ‘plan’, ‘potential’, ‘target’, ‘will’, ‘would’ or similar expressions that convey the prospective nature of events or outcomes generally indicate other forward-looking statements. 

There are many significant uncertainties, assumptions, judgements, opinions, estimates, forecasts and statements made of future expectations underlying these forward-looking statements which could cause actual results, performance, outcomes or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these forward-looking such statements.

The most important of these significant risks, uncertainties and other factors include, without limitation:

(i)                  the extent and pace of climate change, including the timing and manifestation of physical and transition risks, the macroeconomic environment;

(ii)                uncertainty around future climate-related policy, including the timely implementation and integration of adequate government policies;

(iii)               the effectiveness of actions of governments, legislators, regulators, businesses, investors, customers and other stakeholders to mitigate the impact of climate and sustainability-related risks;

(iv)               changes in customer behaviour and demand, changes in the available technology for mitigation;

(v)                the roll-out of low carbon infrastructure;

(vi)               the availability of accurate, verifiable, reliable, consistent and comparable climate-related data;

(vii)             lack of transparency and comparability of climate-related forward-looking methodologies;

(viii)           variation in approaches and outcomes – variations in methodologies may lead to under or overestimates, and consequently present exaggerated indication of climate-related risk; and

(ix)               reliance on assumptions and future uncertainty (calculations of forward-looking metrics are complex and require many methodological choices and assumptions).

In addition increases in NatWest Group’s lending and investments that increase its financed emissions, particularly absolute financed emissions, may result in NatWest Group being unable to achieve the ambitions, aims, plans, expectations and other anticipated outcomes expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements made in this document, especially our 2030 ambitions.

Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed on these statements.

This cautionary statement should not be regarded as a complete and comprehensive statement and should be read together with the following: 

- the ‘Risk Factors’ (in particular the risk factors in relation to ‘Climate and sustainability related risks’ that describes several particular uncertainties, climate and sustainability related risks to which NatWest Group is exposed) and the ‘Forward-looking statements’ section of the NatWest Group plc 2021 Annual Report and Accounts, the ‘Summary of Principal Risks and Uncertainties’ of NatWest Group’s H1 2022 Interim Results; and

- the NatWest Group’s Climate-related Disclosures Report 2021 (in particular Section 5.8 ‘Cautionary note about climate-related data and methodology challenges’ and Section 5.9 ‘Climate-related and other forward-looking statements and metrics’);

- the ‘Risk Factors’ (in particular the risk factors in relation to ‘Climate and sustainability related risks’ that describes several particular uncertainties, climate and sustainability related risks to which NatWest Group is exposed) and the ‘Forward-looking statements’ section of the NatWest Group plc 2022 Annual Report and Accounts (to be published on or about 17 February 2023); and

- the NatWest Group’s Climate-related Disclosures Report 2022 (in particularly the sections entitled ‘Cautions about climate-related data, metrics and methodology challenges’ and ‘Climate-related and other forward-looking statements and metrics’) to be published on or about 17 February 2023).


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