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NatWest supports UK construction drive to net zero as CO2nstruct initiative reflects on first year of progress

NatWest supports UK construction drive to net zero as CO2nstruct initiative reflects on first year of progress

The UK construction sector has taken a number of significant steps towards net zero, according to data published this week by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), as UK bank NatWest reflects on its key role as a partner of the programme helping its construction customers make the transition.

At COP26 last year, the Construction Leadership Council launched its CO2nstruct Zero programme, with associated measures to track carbon reduction activities, and challenge the industry to improve in 9 key areas.

The first annual review of progress published on Monday, sets out the evidence that UK construction is playing a leading role in cutting carbon. The annual CO2nstruct Zero Performance Dashboard shows that the last 12 months has seen the sector:

  • Train more than 500 retrofit co-ordinators, with associated business accreditation
  • Connect 55,000 heat pumps by 4,100 trained & registered installers
  • Deliver a 33 per cent increase in EV charging points
  • Include carbon literacy in professional qualifications

In support of its customers in the construction sector as a leading partner of the programme, NatWest has taken a number of steps in the last 12 months to help its customers improve in the 9 key areas outlined in Construct Zero’s dashboard. Earlier this year, the bank launched its Carbon Planner tool, designed to help SMEs understand their carbon footprint and suggest tailored actions to help reduce emissions and cost. The bank has also introduced green loans and green asset finance to support businesses across the sector to invest in zero emission plant and electric vehicles, as well as charging points and associated infrastructure.

The bank also formed its Sustainable Homes and Building Coalition with Worcester Bosch, British Gas, Scottish Power and Shelter, to raise awareness around retrofit, and are currently retrofitting 10 homes as part of the coalitions retrofit pilot.

CO2nstruct Zero’s network has grown rapidly, with more than 200 organisations now established as Business Champions and Partners under the programme, alongside NatWest. This network has played a crucial role in supporting carbon reduction policy development, feeding into UK Government work on retrofit and energy security, as well as developing its own detailed plans including a route map to cut diesel usage on sites.

Construction Leadership Council Deputy Co-Chair Richard Robinson said: Last year we asked the industry to join us on a journey towards a lower carbon future, and the response has been very encouraging. We must now build on this momentum, pushing ahead with pace and purpose in 2023 as we continue to play a leading role in getting the UK to net zero.”

Laura Capper, Head of Manufacturing and Construction, NatWest Group said: “We are delighted to be a part of the Construct Zero programme, and are pleased to see the progress being made in the first 12 months. We know our customers want access to tools and products that will help them enact long term, meaningful change within their business, and our partnership with the CLC is helping ensure we focus on the areas that will make the most difference to the sector. We look forward to continued collaboration with Construct Zero and the wider network over the coming year.”

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024