Manufacturers benefit from £1bn net zero investment fund

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

NAtWest is offering £1bn in additional lending for Net Zero projects
NAtWest is offering £1bn in additional lending for Net Zero projects

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UK food and drink manufacturers are set to benefit from £1bn in lending to support investment in cleaner more efficient forms of energy generation and use.

NatWest announced it was providing the extra lending to the UK manufacturing industry by the end of 2030 through loans, asset finance and overdrafts.

Food and drink firms whose activities align with the NatWest Group’s Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing Inclusion Criteria will be eligible for this £1bn lending.

The bank is also partnering with Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) to pilot with customers the opportunity to join their Business Energy Aid Toolkit programme, which identifies the energy use involved in their business’ processes and production.

Net zero recommendations

The programme then recommends actions to reduce emissions, alongside estimates of the impact these would have on overall emissions.

Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest Group and Co-chair of UK Energy Efficiency Task Force said: “Manufacturing is a significant contributor to both the economy and UK carbon emissions, and so it’s important that businesses in this sector are supported to transition to cleaner, more sustainable operations in a positive way, where the benefits outweigh the costs.

“That’s why we aim to provide an additional £1billion of lending to the Manufacturing sector, to help businesses in transitioning to a net-zero economy.

“As part of my role on the UK Energy Efficiency Task Force, it has become clear that the best way of delivering change at scale is through public and private sectors working together. For NatWest, that starts with helping businesses move forward in an informed and supported way.”

Measuring carbon footprints

The bank also offers its free Carbon Planner tool, which allows businesses to measure their carbon footprint and build a plan to reduce their emissions on a simple online portal.

WMG Centre chief executive Professor David Greenwood added: “The UK has committed to reduce total energy demand by 15%, from 2021 levels, by 2030. UK manufacturers are continuing to experience prohibitively high energy costs which significantly effects their ability to be competitive in global markets. 

“In partnership with NatWest, WMG are helping UK manufacturing to deliver both economic benefits as well as environmental benefits as we move forwards this critical objective. The BEAT (Business Energy Action Toolkit) programme is already supporting small and medium sized manufacturers take control of their energy costs, make better decisions, and maintain or increase profitability.”

Meanwhile, major food and beverage brands are too focused on carbon reduction to the detriment of other areas in which they can achieve net zero,​according to Supply Pilot.

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