How North West businesses can drive sustainable transformation post COP26

How North West businesses can drive sustainable transformation post COP26

13th May 2022, 11:44 am

Martyn Kendrick, Regional Director, SME & Mid Corporates Banking North West at Lloyds Bank, discusses the opportunities available for businesses across the region as they focus on a green recovery. From adopting new ways of working to utilising financial support, here, Martyn explains how operating in a more sustainable way will be a major driver for growth across Manchester and the North West.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) shone a light on the challenges we face when it comes to tackling climate change and it’s clear work still needs to be done if we’re to protect our planet.

Encouragingly, when I speak to businesses in Manchester they talk about their commitment to moving into a newer, greener way of working that will support the UK’s net zero ambitions.

Now is our chance to shift our focus onto how we can operate in the most sustainable way while capitalising on growth opportunities.

Ahead of the game

At Lloyds Bank, we wanted to better understand the scale of the ‘green’ opportunity for the different regions of the UK, so we recently commissioned Oxford Economics to produce the UK Green Growth Index.

It found the North is already ahead of the game, with an established green economy, that already supports an estimated 14% of UK jobs in the sector.

There are still huge opportunities firms off all sizes across the North West to adopt cleaner, greener ways of working.

One way is to embrace renewable energy sources like wind and solar, which can reduce energy bills when compared to traditional fossil fuels – boosting the bottom line – and can contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of products to meet consumer expectations.

From SMEs to large corporates, small changes like changing energy supplier or introducing better insulation to buildings can make a big difference.

Committed to change

We recognise that as a bank we have a significant role to play in supporting the nation’s green transition. That is why we’re committed to helping businesses futureproof their operations by investing in innovative technologies and the skills they need.

In the last five years, we have provided more than £8.6 billion of discounted green finance to help firms invest in sustainability, including measures to improve water and energy efficiency, reduce waste and emissions, and adopt electric vehicles.

This year, we’ve also expanded the funding available under our green finance initiatives from £3 billion to £5 billion.

This includes our Clean Growth Funding Initiative (CFGI), which provides discounted lending to firms that adopt sustainable measures. For example, businesses can introduce new renewable energy sources or water management systems to help lower their carbon emissions and ultimately support the road to net zero.

We know it’s what businesses want; we’ve seen an eight-fold increase in demand for sustainability-linked loans from our clients in the past year alone.

We’re committing to increase our support because the transition to a green economy will bring a wealth of opportunities and we don’t want anyone to miss out.

And by making sustainability a priority in the region, we can build back better from what has been a tough 18 months.

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