UK – National Westminster Bank (NatWest), a major retail and commercial bank in the United Kingdom, is providing £1bn (US$1.07bn) in lending to support investment in cleaner more efficient forms of energy generation and use in the UK manufacturing industry.

The extra lending to the UK manufacturing industry will be done through 2030 by providing loans, asset finance, and overdrafts.

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 reported that the industry is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with over 12% of the UK total attributed to the sector.

 As the industry is likely to remain energy-intensive, NatWest aims to offer support to those in the sector through lending, partnerships, and tailored financial advice.

Food and drink firms whose activities align with the NatWest Group’s Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing Inclusion Criteria will be eligible for the share of £1bn lending.

The bank is also partnering with Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), one of the largest academic departments at the University of Warwick, to pilot with customers the opportunity to join their Business Energy Aid Toolkit program.

The program identifies the energy use involved in their business processes and production and recommends actions to reduce overall emissions, alongside estimates of the impact these would have on overall emissions.

Alison Rose DBE, Chief Executive, NatWest Group and Co-chair of the UK Energy Efficiency Task Force said: “Manufacturing is a significant contributor to both the economy and UK carbon emissions, and it is 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 is why we aim to provide an additional £ 1 billion of lending to the manufacturing sector, to help businesses in transitioning to a net-zero economy. As part of my role in the UK Energy Efficiency Task Force, it has become clear that the best way of delivering change at scale is through the public and private sectors working together. For NatWest, that starts with helping businesses move forward in an informed and supported way.”

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.

WMG Centre chief executive Professor David Greenwood pointed out the UK has committed to reducing total energy demand by 15%, from 2021 levels, by 2030.

UK manufacturers are continuing to experience prohibitively high energy costs, which significantly affects their ability to be competitive in global markets. 

“In partnership with NatWest, WMG is helping UK manufacturing to deliver both economic benefits as well as environmental benefits as we move forward with this critical objective. The BEAT (Business Energy Action Toolkit) program is already supporting small and medium-sized manufacturers to take control of their energy costs, make better decisions, and maintain or increase profitability.”

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