" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> Exclusive: 'Climate Conscious CEO' - Alison Rose, NatWest in "Swashbucklers 2020"
Friday, February 23, 2024

Exclusive: ‘Climate Conscious CEO’ – Alison Rose, NatWest in “Swashbucklers 2020”

Our next esteemed Swashbuckler is none other than NatWest Group’s CEO, Alison Rose. Rose has been steering the bank since 2019, and we can decidedly agree that we like her style. A lot. Welcome aboard Rose! Alison Rose, NatWest | Fintech Finance

Broadening horizons for female entrepreneurs

There are two main reasons why we like Rose. The first is that she is a powerful advocate for women in finance. In 2019, she put together the government-backed Rose Review to assess what needs to be done to help get more women in powerful positions. According to her research, boosting female entrepreneurship isn’t just good for our general morals as a nation, it could add an extra £250 billion to the economy. 

Rose fights for positive change in a way which uses her banking skills to show the financial advantage. She speaks the right language, and she uses her powers for good. The way that Rose has taken such a hands-on role in trying to level out the playing field deserves recognition. Since she’s taken over NatWest Group (formerly RBS), the bank has ring-fenced £1 billion of debt funding for female-led enterprises. So, Rose puts her money where her mouth is (literally!).

Putting a (bit of a) stop of fossil fuel financing

So, what’s the second reason? The follow-up hit? Well, it’s a story with a few ups and downs. Here goes! Before Rose was in power, NatWest Group was notoriously one of the worst banks in the world for contributing to the climate crisis. It even named itself as the “Bank for Oil and Gas” back in 2007. Yikes. In 2018, it was the third worst bank in the UK, after Barclays and HSBC for financing fossil fuels, and in the worst 33 of the entire world. Eeech. 

But since taking over, Rose is making a real effort to do a 180, and steer things in a better direction. And we feel that deserves recognition. It takes balls to stand up in the old-school banking industry and do the right thing. We think Rose has more balls than all the previous CEOs put together. There we said it. 

Rose announced that NatWest Group will stop offering and lending underwriting services to oil and gas producers who do not have credible transition plans in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. The group will also phase out coal financing by 2030. The group is sponsoring UN Climate talks in Glasgow, and recently appointed Lord Stern as a Climate Advisor in July. 

There are a few loopholes here, and NatWest Group is certainly not out of the woods yet (if there are any woods left!). They have a long, long, long way to go before they themselves become carbon-neutral. But it’s a promising start. And we think it’s down to Rose. We hope that Rose’s leadership will be a beacon for the other incumbent banks to get their act together and stop funding fossil fuel companies. We’re counting on you Alison Rose! Keep going

This article was published in Swashbucklers 2020, Page 10

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