NatWest Group, the largest business and commercial bank in the UK, announced today a collaboration with technology giant Microsoft, aimed at helping UK businesses to better understand their carbon footprints and to create tailored action plans to reduce their carbon emissions leveraging digital technologies.

The bank also announced that it intends to join Race to Zero, a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, and investors committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest, and to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy ahead of COP26.

Alison Rose, Chief Executive Officer of NatWest Group, said:

“Tackling climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. As the leading bank in the UK for businesses, we have a significant responsibility, and the ability, to encourage, enable and to lead the way in the UK to transition to a net zero carbon economy.

“Cross-industry collaboration and powerful partnerships will help to accelerate the speed of the transition, and I am very pleased we are working with Microsoft to help Britain’s businesses to understand and tackle their carbon footprints.”

According to a recent customer survey conducted by NatWest, over two thirds of sustainability / supply chain managers have a target date to become Carbon Neutral, and nearly half of businesses are creating multi-year carbon footprint reduction plans, yet many businesses report that measuring and reducing their emissions is very challenging, with lack of data a leading barrier to emissions reduction progress.

The new initiative by the bank will build on Microsoft’s cloud, data and AI platform and NatWest’s deep customer understanding to support business customers in understanding how and where they can reduce their emissions. NatWest expects to pilot the project later this year.

Clare Barclay, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft UK, said:

“At Microsoft we grounded our carbon negative strategy in the belief that technology can help solve the world’s biggest challenges. We are focused upon pulling all of the levers of influence we have including our operations as a customer, supplier, investor, employer, policy advocate and partner.

“We are proud to partner with NatWest on its bold sustainability aspirations. Partnerships help us accelerate progress and together I’m looking forward to enabling more UK businesses to drive the progress we so urgently need.”