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NatWest Group partnership with the University of Edinburgh

Sustainability is at the heart of the partnership between NatWest Group and the Centre for Business, Climate Change and Sustainability (B-CCaS) at the University's Business School - a £1.49m, three-year framework-level agreement to support the development and delivery of climate change education programmes for bank employees and external contacts.

Businesses are integral to solutions to the climate crisis

COP26 highlighted just how integral businesses are in the climate crisis we are all facing, and the great responsibility business schools have in ensuring their research translates to effective change. B-CCaS is developing research-led solutions for businesses to best organise themselves to meet climate change and sustainability goals. The Centre also contributes to policy debate and development while teaching and inspiring future change makers.

At B-CCaS we’re looking at climate change and we’re looking at the consequences of system-wide change. So, a lot of the time I’ll be talking to external companies who are keen to find out how learning can help them with their organisation and the change that they’re trying to effect.”

-Jenny Britton Director of Executive Development, B-CCaS

Oftentimes the most efficient and effective organisations are ones that are also able to engage with sustainability at an operational and a strategic level.”

-Dr Winston Kwon, Senior Lecturer in Strategy, University of Edinburgh Business School

Confidence to engage in climate conversations

Central to the NatWest Group partnership is the delivery of several online education programmes covering sectors such as retail and leisure, real estate, commercial real estate and agriculture, enabling employees in priority roles to be equipped with the tools and confidence to engage in climate conversations both within the bank and with business customers.

If you’re looking for a loan for instance, if you’ve got advisers who know what they’re talking about, and they are supported by the academics, and they are able to look at that business proposal and advise that person they could get a lower rate of interest on this if their business is more climate resilient because that’s a better investment for them”.

- Professor Dave Reay, Professor of Carbon Management and Director of Edinburgh Climate Change Institute.

To deliver the programmes, The University and NatWest have worked with Nourish Scotland to provide the agricultural specialist training, real estate expert Cushman and Wakefield to provide the commercial real estate specialist training, and with Circuthon Consulting, Helen Chambers Consulting and My Little Green Wardrobe to provide the retail and leisure specialist training, and Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick to deliver the manufacturing specialist training.

Embedding climate change in every decision that’s made

Dr Sarah Ivory, Director of B-CCaS, at the University of Edinburgh Business School believes the partnership is making a real difference to the organisation:

We have been absolutely astounded as to how committed NatWest Group are to these ideas. We really work with people in NatWest Group who believe in embedding this in every decision that’s made. And they are seeing the outcomes from that, from more people wanting to join NatWest Group to more people insisting on change within the organisation and making it happen”.

Clare Martin, Purpose and Climate Curriculum Lead, NatWest Group said:

I would definitely recommend University of Edinburgh B-CCaS, and partnering with an organisation when you realise that you haven’t got that expertise or credibility in house- it is so much better or quicker or more credibility to partner with the right people at the right time.”

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