NatWest to end new business loans for oil and gas extraction

NatWest has introduced it’s going to cease providing loans to new clients hoping to fund oil and gasoline exploration, extraction or manufacturing tasks, as a part of a wider local weather transition plan because of be unveiled subsequent week.

The banks’s chief government, Alison Rose, mentioned related steps can be taken to part out the identical funding for current clients, that means the financial institution would refuse to resume, refinance or prolong loans for upstream gasoline tasks from the beginning of 2026.

“We wish to guarantee our capital is getting used to assist a transition whereas persevering with to cut back the financing of dangerous emissions,” Rose mentioned.

“I hope this sends a powerful sign that we’re critical about ending probably the most dangerous exercise whereas financing the transition,” she added.

Rose made the announcement as she trailed the discharge of the financial institution’s first local weather transition plan, which is because of be unveiled alongside the financial institution’s full-year outcomes subsequent Friday. The plan, which will likely be one of many first launched by a UK financial institution, will give a sector-by-sector breakdown of how NatWest will halve the emissions created by the tasks and firms it funds by 2030.

Rose mentioned that the financial institution – which remains to be 48% owned by the UK authorities – can be “prioritising sectors with excessive emissions charges or steadiness sheet publicity values”.

Nonetheless, the quantity of carbon-heavy tasks that NatWest funds as a proportion of its total mortgage ebook is comparatively small, accounting for 0.7% of its excellent loans, value about £3.3bn as of final 12 months.

The NatWest boss additionally introduced that the financial institution was launching a pilot mission centered on demonstrating “that retrofitting properties at scale might be an achievable and inexpensive aim”.

It would contain partnering with a “coalition of landlords”, in addition to Centrica and Schneider Electrical, and specializing in enhancing the power effectivity of social housing throughout the UK.

Rose mentioned she was additionally in discussions with Airbnb on learn how to assist hosts retrofit their properties via NatWest’s inexperienced loans – having invited Airbnb’s chief government for Europe, Amanda Cupping, to her speech on the NatWest headquarters in London.

“I perceive the price of dwelling is what most individuals are centered on, however I imagine that value of dwelling considerations can result in extra and higher motion on tackling local weather change,” Rose mentioned. “The bulletins I’ve made at present are simply the beginning of our exercise in 2023 to sort out the local weather disaster.

“I hope it exhibits good progress and the best intent and leaves you in little question that tackling local weather change continues to be a serious precedence for this financial institution,” she added.

In the meantime, Barclays is underneath hearth for failing to supply the identical pledges over its oil and gasoline funding.

A bunch of over 27 traders with $1.4tn (£1.1bn) in belongings underneath administration have written to Barclays, in addition to 4 different European banks – BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Financial institution and Société Général – urging them to cease immediately financing new oil and gasoline fields by the top of this 12 months.

The letter was signed by traders together with the Midlands native authorities worker pension fund LGPS central, and the state-backed Nest pension fund and was coordinated by local weather marketing campaign group ShareAction. It comes practically a 12 months after 20% of Barclays shareholders rejected its local weather technique on the 2022 AGM.

Barclays defended its local weather observe document, together with its intention to realize web zero emissions by 2050, and mentioned it may “make the best distinction” by working with clients to transition to a low-carbon financial system. “We’re in common dialogue with many stakeholders, together with ShareAction, on local weather and broader sustainability subjects and we worth their ongoing considerate engagement.”

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