Community & culture

Let’s talk values – Sustainable

From small changes at home to game-changing projects at work, Alex Tait lives and breathes sustainability – and she’s on a mission to help everyone recognise the part they can play.

At NatWest Group we’re all different, but we share the same purpose-led focus and values to truly champion potential. Our values are: Inclusive, Curious, Robust, Sustainable and Ambitious.

In our ‘Let’s talk values’ series, we profile colleagues who live and breathe our values. Read about our colleague Alex Tait, who truly brings our ‘Sustainable’ value to life.

I truly believe there’s something worthwhile we can all do

“People can easily feel overwhelmed by the issues around sustainability,” says Alex, who joined NatWest as an intern, moved into the graduate programme and is now an Analyst in the Climate Data and Technology team.

“To me, sustainability means thinking about the environment, but also about society. It’s about realising what we can do now – as individuals and collectively – while acting in a way that will make things better for future generations.”

Alex co-chairs the employee-led Sustainable Futures Network (SFN) – an active, creative network of groups throughout the bank that aims to raise awareness and enable hands-on projects. While climate change and biodiversity have been the main focus, the network will be looking more deeply into social sustainability this year.

The network has created plenty of practical ways to learn more and to get involved. They’ve partnered with Giki Zero to bring NatWest Group colleagues a tool to explore their carbon footprint at home and work and to see how even tiny changes can make a difference. 

Last year, they launched the Sustainability Champions programme, which was set up to empower colleagues to help build a sustainable and leading bank in addressing climate change. Around 350 people created personal and professional objectives and they’ll soon be championing sustainability in their own business areas. They’ll also be encouraging people to join the network, to make the most of volunteering opportunities and to take part in technology-focused trials, such as the EV8 Switch, which helps people decide whether an electric vehicle would fit with their driving needs.

In her home life, Alex does what she can, but is realistic about not getting everything right.

 “There are lots of sustainable home improvements I’d ideally change in my home, but an old flat isn’t easy to work with. I started the Bike to Work Scheme and I take the train rather than fly. I also try to buy local and seasonal food rather than produce transported from far away.

“There’s a danger that if we feel we can’t make a big change, that there’s no point doing anything. I truly believe there’s something worthwhile we can all do.”

Along with what she’s learned from podcasts and awareness events, Alex says some of her most inspiring moments have come from volunteering and team days.

“You soon realise how easy it is to spend a day that improves things for the community or the environment, doing good to feel good” she says. “There are lots of development opportunities here, and some amazing projects. You get to see what you can do in your own community, but also to have new conversations around sustainability and get different perspectives from colleagues.”

Alex feels positive that we’re on the right track towards sustainability by helping and influencing customers and partners.

“As an analyst, I see that many customers are interested in climate and social issues but often don’t know where to start in making changes. The data we collect and analyse ultimately helps them take the first steps.

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