The Royal Bank of Scotland has announced a three year partnership with a Scots university to further their climate change knowledge.
RBS today announced the three-year partnership with The University of Edinburgh centre for business climate change and sustainability.
The £1.5m partnership will facilitate the delivery of a climate change programme to over 16,000 people in RBS by the end of 2024 including relationship managers and customer-facing colleagues.
It will also support the delivery of an in-depth climate change transformation training programme for those in priority roles who require a broader level of knowledge.
Experts from The University of Edinburgh centre for business, climate change and sustainability will work with RBS business banking specialists to deliver 12-week online education programmes.
The online education programmes will help relationship managers and colleagues in priority roles to help Scottish business customers identify the opportunities a net-zero economy can create.
The university will work with the bank to develop the training, tools and content to support colleague education awareness, helping them engage in climate conversation within the bank and with Scottish business customers.
The programmes will help the bank understand and take action to reduce their climate impact and identify and realise the business opportunities from being at the forefront of the net-zero economy.
The new deal builds on the previous successful collaboration with The University of Edinburgh centre for business climate change and sustainability.
It seeks to support the evolution and growth of existing programmes developing new learning to support key sectors across the bank.
This year will also see the rollout of sector-specific climate training programmes across commercial real estate, retail, leisure and manufacturing.
The university and RBS will work with real estate expert Cushman and Wakefield to provide commercial real estate specialist training.
Circuthon Consulting, Helen Chambers Consulting and My Little Green Wardrobe will work to provide retail and leisure specialist training.
Warwick Manufacturing Group at Warwick University will deliver manufacturing specialist training.
James Close, head of climate change, NatWest Group said: “Climate education across the bank is central to us reaching our climate ambitions and the UK’s move to a net-zero economy.
“In the next three years we will continue to improve the climate capability of the bank through co-delivery of a robust and specifically tailored programme of education.
“This specialist training will provide the confidence for colleagues to step into climate conversations both within the bank and with customers.
“Increased knowledge will empower bank colleagues to help businesses across sectors roll out effective and credible transition plans as the UK heads towards a low carbon economy.”
Jonathan Seckl, senior vice-principal of The University of Edinburgh said: “The Centre for Business, Climate Change and Sustainability are leading the field in this area of research, and we are proud that this new partnership will enable them to further their impact in this sector.
“Social responsibility and sustainability are central focal points for the University’s 2030 Strategy, and a partnership that promotes the delivery of such a significant climate education programme is at the very heart of what we hope to achieve.”
Wendy Loretto, Dean of The University of Edinburgh Business School: “The response we have had from across the business is inspiring and testament to the positive approach being adopted by the bank in pursuing its purpose-led mission.
“COP26 highlighted just how integral businesses are in this climate crisis, and collaborations such as this mark the great responsibility business schools have in ensuring their research translates to effective change.
“This partnership gives us the opportunity to ensure we are at the forefront of such change.”
This announcement follows the publication of A Springboard to Sustainability report last year, which found that the UK’s six million Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can achieve 50% of the UK’s Net Zero decarbonisation goals while opening up an estimated £160 billion revenue opportunity.