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Lord Stern appointed as independent climate advisor to NatWest Group

Climate change expert, Lord Nicholas Stern, has been appointed as an independent climate change advisor to NatWest Group.

Lord Stern is currently the Chair of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP), and the Chair of London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute.

In this newly-created role, Lord Stern will provide independent advice, guidance and challenge to the bank’s senior executives and management for eight days a year for an initial term of two years.

His advice will help to inform the implementation and delivery of the bank’s ambitious targets, as well as its future strategic direction on the environment and climate change.

NatWest Group CEO Alison Rose said:

“At NatWest Group, we are determined to lead on the collaboration and cooperation that is so critical to tackling the causes of climate change and transitioning to a low carbon economy. “This is the biggest challenge facing our planet today, and I am delighted that Lord Stern has agreed to work with us to provide independent advice and guidance to help us meet our ambitious targets and drive positive change on this crucial issue.”

Commenting on his appointment, Lord Stern said:

“There is an intense urgency to tackle climate change now: this is an absolutely crucial decade for taking action to protect future generations. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the dangers, fragility and inequities of the old economy.

“The necessary investments can drive both a strong recovery in output and employment and a new and attractive model of low-carbon development which will be the growth story of the 21st century.

“We now have an opportunity to build back better. It is crucially important for financial institutions to rise to the climate emergency and I will provide independent advice and guidance to NatWest Group to help it meet its climate ambitions.”

During the past decade, the bank has been the biggest lender to UK’s renewable energy industry. In February, it put tackling climate change at the heart of its purposeful strategy, announcing a number of specific targets. These include:

  • making its own operations net carbon zero by the end of 2020 and climate positive by 2025, by driving material reductions in the climate impact of its financing activity
  • at least halving the climate impact of its financing activity by 2030 and doing what is necessary to achieve alignment with the 2015 Paris Agreement
  • stopping lending and underwriting to companies with more than 15% of activities related to coal, unless they have a credible transition plan in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement by end of 2021. With a full phase-out from coal by 2030
  • stopping lending and underwriting to major oil and gas producers without a credible transition plan in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement by end of 2021.

NatWest Group can also confirm today it has signed up to the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative’s Collective Commitment to Climate Action (CCCA). The CCCA sets out how banks will align their services and lending with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.