NatWest Targets £100bn Green Funding by 2025

The true colour of money? Eyeing 30,000 new companies, NatWest promises new eco-friendly business loans for SMEs

NatWest group has unveiled a report which identifies a £160bn opportunity for SMEs to be created by the UK’s push to a smarter, greener economy. The numbers predict the launch of some 30,000 new companies and over 130,000 jobs as a result.

The new funding drive by NatWest, with a self-pronounced focus on sustainability, will target smaller businesses but also investment in new areas of growth, from electric vehicles and renewable energy supplies to green mortgage deals for home buyers.

The objective is to support SMEs by acting on four pillars: ensuring SMEs have access to funding; helping SMEs know where they stand in relation to climate footprint; supporting SMEs to identify new opportunities for growth; helping SMEs to navigate the climate action landscape by connecting to relevant insights and resources.

Chief executive Alison Rose explains, “Our ambition to play a leading role in the UK’s transition to a net zero economy is why we are targeting £100bn of climate and sustainable funding and financing by the end of 2025.”

“I’m firmly of the view that we should never underestimate the power of the small – and in this instance SMEs – for leveraging big advances,” adds Rose.

The new target ups the ante on its prior goal of £20bn of sustainable financing, which the bank delivered some six months ahead of previous projections.

The bank group, majority-owned by the taxpayer, became one of 43 banks globally to join the Net Zero Banking Alliance earlier this year. This coalition of financial services companies have pledged to work together to help deliver the Paris Agreement.

NatWest Group was also the banking sponsor of the COP26 climate summit, NatWest Group’s membership of this global alliance demonstrates its commitment to work collaboratively with its peers, policy makers and other stakeholders to play its part in bringing about significant change at speed and to help build a more climate-resilient economy.

CEO Alison Rose has called climate change “one of the biggest shared challenges of our time”.

Elaborating on NatWest’s own strategy, Rose explains, “We have already committed to halve the impact of our financed emissions by 2030 and we are now joining the ‘Business Ambition to 1.5C’, cementing our ambition to reach net zero before 2050.”