Approach To Climate Change
We recognise Climate change is a significant global issue and we fully support the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement and the emissions reductions strategies set by the UK and devolved Governments. We have publically pledged our support for the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and reported further details of our approach to TCFD in our Annual Report and Accounts.
We believe there is a need to support our customers to reduce their emissions, save energy and manage their costs. Over the last decade, we have become one of the leading lenders to the UK Sustainable Energy market, with expertise and services designed for customers from small businesses up to large corporations. RBS was recognised by InfraDeals as the leading lender to the UK renewables sector by number of transactions over the past six years (2012- 2017).
As we have refocused our business on the UK, Ireland and Western Europe, we have also substantially reduced our lending to carbon intensive parts of the global economy such as coal mining and oil extraction. Our total exposure to the oil and gas industry, for example, now accounts for just 0.5% of our lending exposures. In 2017 we did not directly finance any new coal mining or coal power projects. We have Environmental, Social, Ethical (ESE) risk policies to define the level of risk the bank is prepared to accept, these are available in the downloads section.
Relative to our size, our operational footprint from serving our customers is quite small, but still significant. Our primary emissions impact comes from the energy used to heat, cool and power our buildings and data centres. We have set targets using a science-based method in order to align our efforts to reduce emissions with the climate science that sits behind the Paris Climate Agreement. Our target for 2020 is to reduce our direct carbon emissions by 45% from a 2014 baseline and at the end of 2017 we had already recorded a 39% reduction.
Our overall approach to climate change will evolve and adapt over the coming years as we listen to our customers and stakeholders and refine our approach. But it forms a logical part of our plan to run a much simpler, stronger, fairer bank.
We have agreed to publicly support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. These voluntary recommendations encourage companies to disclose climate-related information to help investors, lenders, and others make sound financial decisions. Further details of our disclosure can be found in our Annual report and accounts and on these sustainability webpages.
Prior to this, we signed the European Financial Services Round Table (EFR) Statement on Climate Change in support of a strong, ambitious response to climate change at the Paris COP21 summit as well as the ‘Paris Pledge for Action’ to demonstrate that we are ready to support the implementation of an agreement. For more information about our broader financing of the energy sector, our lending to the Sustainable Energy sector and what we are doing around our own environmental footprint please see below:
- Read about our financing of the energy sector
- Read about our approach to sustainable energy
- Read about our direct environmental impacts
If you are interested in finding out how we can help and support business customers please visit the relevant pages: