08 Dec 2020
NatWest Group appoints James Close to lead climate change agenda
A new climate centre of excellence will help NatWest Group to achieve its ambition to be a leading bank taking on the climate challenge.
James Close, who was director for climate change at the World Bank for four years until 2018, will join the bank as Director, Climate in the new year from London Waste and Recycling Board, a partnership between the Mayor of London and the London boroughs working to reduce consumption-based emissions and waste.
In his new role at NatWest Group, James will define and deliver a roadmap for the response to climate-related risks and opportunities. He will also set up and lead a climate centre of excellence to help the bank deliver its climate change strategy and bring all of its climate-related work together.
The new climate centre of excellence will look beyond the bank’s current commitments and activity, horizon scanning for shifts in the competitive landscape, emerging risks and new opportunities.
James will report directly to Oliver Holbourn, NatWest Group’s Director of Strategy & Ventures.
James Close said: "I am looking forward to joining NatWest Group to support their ambitious approach to climate change as part of their purpose-led strategy. NatWest's leadership is an important part of the Paris Agreement's commitment to make financial flows consistent with a pathway towards a low carbon future."
Oliver Holbourn, Director of Strategy & Ventures at NatWest Group, said: “We are delighted James is joining NatWest Group. Our ambition is to be a leading bank in the UK and the Republic of Ireland helping to address the climate challenge and to at least halve the climate impact of our financing activity by 2030.
“James’s expertise means he is well placed to help us deliver on our ambitions and next year will be particularly exciting as we are sponsoring the COP26 hosted in Glasgow.”
Since 2018 London Waste and Recycling Board, James has been leading the Circular London Programme, which supports London’s goal to be a world-leading low carbon circular city.
For the four years before this, James was Director of Climate Change at the World Bank in Washington DC.
During his time at the World Bank, James led a team to develop and implement the bank’s climate change strategy. This involved doubling climate finance in line with the World Bank’s Paris commitment.