How NatWest are tackling climate change

Interview with James Close, Head of Climate Change, NatWest

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time across all parts of society, and the banking industry is no exception to this. It is imperative that decision-making across the industry is driven by sustainable strategies. That’s why we wanted to speak to James Close, Head of Climate Change at NatWest to get his thoughts and insights ahead of the MoneyLIVE Autumn Festival. Let’s see what he had to say.

“Our goal of halving the climate impact of our financing by 2030”

You were appointed to lead the climate change agenda at NatWest at the beginning of 2021, what have your priorities been since you started?

I’ve been delighted to work towards our goal of halving the climate impact of our financing by 2030. We’ve also become founding members of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance as part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero which is an important contribution to aligning financial flows to support the journey to net zero. It’s really important that we understand sector emissions and pathways so that we can help our clients on the transition and we see this as a great opportunity. Our role as Principal banking sponsor for COP26 is also a priority and enables us to collaborate with others as we raise ambition for climate action.

“The starting point is for us all to understand our carbon footprint and what we can do about it.”

We’re hearing more and more about green mortgages and other green products, what areas do you think are most ripe for sustainable disruption and innovation?

The starting point is for us all to understand our carbon footprint and what we can do about it. That’s why we’re working with Microsoft, CoGo and the Sustainable Food Trust to give our customers access to carbon excellent measurement tools. We also see a really important role for green finance to incentivise and reward those who accelerate the transition either through green bonds or sustainability-linked loans. At a sectoral level, we’re delighted to be working in partnership with Octopus to give our customers access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“The timing for the MoneyLIVE Autumn Festival is perfect. The urgency for climate action is apparent and coming to the forefront of everyone’s thinking.”

What are you most looking forward to about MoneyLIVE Autumn Festival?

The timing for the MoneyLIVE Autumn Festival is perfect. The urgency for climate action is apparent and coming to the forefront of everyone’s thinking. Having the conversation with like-minded professionals is a great way to reinforce our individual commitment and share brilliant ideas for accelerating climate action.

James has spent his career working at the interface of the public and private sectors. He is now committed to working on some of the most challenging global issues focusing on sustainable development and climate change. He is currently the Head of Climate Change at NatWest Group and a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Advisory Group for the ICAEW. Prior to this role, he was the head of the circular economy programme for London. 

Want to hear more from James? Join him at MoneyLIVE Autumn Festival across October and November.
James is speaking in Virtual Episode 4: Purpose, trust, sustainability: towards better banking.
Register your place here.

UPCOMING EVENT

The MoneyLIVE Autumn Festival is reuniting the banking and payments community with our highly anticipated Big Meet-Up in London on 17 November, plus five immersive Virtual Episodes.

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, will you be part of it?