The partners will support customers in knowing how and where they can bring down their emissions


NatWest joins forces with Microsoft to help British business in addressing their carbon emissions. (Credit: marcinjozwiak from Pixabay

NatWest Group is partnering with Microsoft to support British businesses with their carbon footprint and provide customised action plans to lower their carbon emissions with the help of digital technologies.

The collaboration will build on the cloud, data, and artificial intelligence (AI) platform of Microsoft alongside NatWest Group’s deep customer understanding. It will support business customers in knowing how and where they can cut down their emissions.

NatWest said that during the research phase of the project, it had surveyed 500 business customers of various sizes to understand their challenges in achieving their climate goals.

According to the British banking group, 88% of those surveyed said lowering their indirect emissions, like those in their supply chains, is not easy to get external support for.

The bank said that 41% of the surveyed customers said that they found cutting down indirect emissions to be ‘very challenging’ or ‘incredibly challenging’.

For businesses that didn’t launch their transition, the biggest obstacles faced by them are a lack of information and data, and also inadequate resource or funding, said NatWest.

NatWest Group CEO Alison Rose 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.”

On its part, the UK banking group is targeting its operations to be climate positive by 2025, having achieved the net-zero target last year. Besides, the bank will aim to halve the climate effect of its financing activity by the end of this decade.

Microsoft, on the other hand, announced in January 2020 a target to become carbon negative by 2030. The US tech giant also said that by 2050, it aims to eliminate more carbon from the environment than it has emitted since its founding.

Microsoft UK CEO Clare Barclay 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.”

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced a collaboration with French oil and gas firm Total to advance digital transformation and support the shift towards net-zero emissions.