NatWest has announced that, from today, it aims to provide an additional £1billion in lending to the UK manufacturing sector by the end of 2030, aiming to stimulate growth in the sector and help manufacturers invest in cleaner, more efficient forms of energy generation and use, with lending deployed through loans, asset finance, and overdrafts.
The assets, activities, companies which are eligible for this £1 billion lending are those aligned with NatWest Group’s Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing Inclusion Criteria.
Manufacturing in the UK is responsible for nearly 10% of total economic output, and over 8% of all employment in the UK. However, it is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with over 12% of the UK total attributed to the sector. With the industry likely to remain energy intensive, NatWest is aiming to offer support those in the sector that includes lending, partnerships and tailored financial advice.
The bank is also partnering with Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) to pilot with customers the opportunity to join their Business Energy Aid Toolkit programme, which identifies the energy use involved in their business’ processes and production. The programme then recommends actions to reduce emissions, alongside estimates of the impact these would have on overall emissions. Businesses who have completed the programme to date have seen minimum energy savings of 12%, with an average saving of 21%.
The bank also offers its free Carbon Planner tool, which allows businesses to measure their carbon footprint and build a plan to reduce their emissions on a simple online portal.
Alison Rose DBE, Chief Executive, NatWest Group and Co-chair of UK Energy Efficiency Task Force said: “NatWest is proud to be a leading bank for UK business and a major supporter of the Manufacturing sector across the country. Manufacturing is a significant contributor to both the economy and UK carbon emissions, and so it’s important that businesses in this sector are supported to transition to cleaner, more sustainable operations in a positive way, where the benefits outweigh the costs. That’s why we aim to provide an additional £1billion of lending to the Manufacturing sector, to help businesses in transitioning to a net-zero economy.
“As part of my role on the UK Energy Efficiency Task Force, it has become clear that the best way of delivering change at scale is through public and private sectors working together. For NatWest, that starts with helping businesses move forward in an informed and supported way.”
Professor David Greenwood, CEO of WMG centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult, University of Warwick comments: “The UK has committed to reduce total energy demand by 15%, from 2021 levels, by 2030. UK manufacturers are continuing to experience prohibitively high energy costs which significantly effects their ability to be competitive in global markets. In partnership with NatWest, WMG are helping UK manufacturing to deliver both economic benefits as well as environmental benefits as we move forwards this critical objective. The BEAT (Business Energy Action Toolkit) programme is already supporting small and medium sized manufacturers take control of their energy costs, make better decisions, and maintain or increase profitability.”
The announcement comes as NatWest holds its first Regional Growth Conference today at Wolverhampton’s Molineux Stadium, bringing together over 250 business leaders, policymakers and experts to help drive growth, collaboration and investment in the West Midlands.