NatWest offers free digital Carbon Planner tool designed to help UK retail businesses lower energy bills and cut carbon

To support all retail businesses, not only NatWest customers, through the current cost-of-trading crisis, NatWest has created a new Carbon Planner tool, a free to use digital platform designed to help cut businesses energy costs, whilst reducing their carbon footprint. 

Making a business case for investment in sustainability is seen as a key barrier for businesses looking to take action on their climate impact, however, NatWest’s A Springboard to Sustainability report, published November 2022, estimated that there is a potential £175bn revenue opportunity available for the UK economy through the decarbonisation and the drive to Net Zero.

The report, commissioned in partnership with McKinsey, also found that with rising energy costs, the business case for decarbonisation is stronger than ever. For example, installing a heat pump pays back today in half the time that it would have taken in 2021 whilst elevated energy prices also mean that deploying solar panels today could pay back nearly 25% quicker than estimated in 2021.

The launch follows the bank’s broader commitment to lend £100bn to businesses in Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing by 2025. The latest financial results published by NatWest shows that the cumulative contribution made to date now stands at £26.2 billion.

The NatWest Carbon Planner provides personalised actions based on user-data, enabling users to make better informed decisions when looking to reduce their carbon emissions. Businesses can benefit from vital information such as the potential savings of adopting sustainability measures and the time it will take to earn a return on investment. Around two thirds of businesses that sign up to the NatWest Carbon Planner are making use of the tool to create a transition action plan. 

Solange Chamberlain, Chief Operating Officer, Commercial & Institutional, NatWest Group said; “Retail businesses of all sizes are coming under increasing pressure due to rising energy costs. Our Carbon Planner tool is designed to help navigate these challenging conditions by providing a clear case for investment in sustainability through equipping businesses with greater insight into areas of high-energy and high-carbon consumption.

“The tool can help businesses invest to save by switching from volatile commodities to renewable sources with predictable prices, and support retail businesses in taking actions to measure, evaluate and act to reduce their climate impact.

“We must support UK businesses through the current challenges without falling behind on taking the sustainability measures that will ultimately lead us towards a cleaner, greener future.”

How does it help retail businesses on their journey to net zero?

The Carbon Planner takes a business through four practical steps to help them take action:

  • Inform – lets businesses know their current emission hotspots and suggests alternatives
  • Diagnose – helps businesses understand what is best for their business
  • Plan – supports businesses in developing a plan of actions
  • Deliver – signposting potential options available to help them to take actions that can help their business and have the potential to reduce impact on the environment

NatWest engaged with environmental management consultancy, Green Element to develop the questions, actions and model. The bank also worked with other 3rd parties to develop the tool, including consultancies and academic experts.

The platform was customer-led in design and developed with the support of more than 1,000 businesses. 77% believed the Carbon Planner will be ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ valuable to their organisation.

Will Richardson, CEO, Green Element said: “Working with NatWest on this project has been a phenomenal experience. Being a part of the solution and solving problems is at the core of what Green Element do. Having worked in this space for 20+ years, seeing a large banking group push boundaries and help with the 1.5 degree goal we are all trying to reach is just brilliant to be a part of.”

John Bamford, Head of Advisory, Northern Europe, EcoAct, an Atos company comments:

“Achieving a company-wide transformation plan to reach net-zero requires clear direction from leadership. We are therefore excited to see how NatWest brings customers along in their net-zero journey by facilitating a tailored data-driven tool to support their transition to a low carbon economy.

“From identifying priority areas and actions for reducing emissions and tracking progress, to connecting businesses to the funding needed to deliver their net-zero transition plans, NatWest’s Carbon Planner will help unlock some of the barriers businesses face when determining which low-carbon choices are worth making while building up collective climate action.”

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