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NatWest Group and WWF partner to support sustainable transition of UK food and agriculture sector

young woman with glasses smiling
3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
Sunset over the green hills countryside in England, Dorset

British banking company Natwest Group and the WWF have announced their strategic partnership, which will work towards helping the UK food and agriculture sector embrace more sustainable practices.

Both organisations will collaborate to boost private and public investment in the industry and are calling on the Government to reform agricultural payments to help farmers meet climate and nature targets. They will also deliver guidance, advice, and tools to the sector to advance its sustainable transition.

Natwest and WWF say that agriculture must be prioritised for “immediate funding, support and guidance”, as it has a key role in tackling the climate crisis. Almost 70% of land in England is said to be used for farming purposes, with agriculture accounting for 11% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.

The announcement of the partnership comes following the release of a report from NatWest in May which found 82% of farmers want to invest in sustainable practices for the future but lack the necessary support.

With a goal of making sustainable agriculture more achievable for farmers in the UK, NatWest is lending almost £7 billion to the sector. The fund will be distributed to agricultural businesses through Green Loans (designed to support a business’s sustainable goals), conventional loans, asset finance (allows companies to purchase essential equipment and spread the cost over an agreed period), and increased overdrafts.

Alison Rose DBE, Chief Executive at NatWest Group commented on the collaboration with WWF: “The UK Agriculture sector is at a turning point – facing higher costs, declining domestic production and supply chain issues, whilst also trying to reduce their climate emissions.

The industry needs collective action for a sustainable and secure future. So we’re delighted to be partnering with WWF to mobilise public and private investment into climate and nature friendly farming, ensuring that our farmers are properly supported throughout.”

Tanya Steele CBE, CEO of WWF also added: “With UK nature in freefall, there is no true food security without tackling climate change and protecting and restoring the natural world which underpins our farming system. Our shared vision is for a flourishing farming sector that is equipped to achieve a net-zero future bursting with life, where growers and producers get a fairer share of the market and are supported with sustainable, long-term financing.

“Farmers are eager to embrace a new world of lower emissions and nature restoration, not least because it is in the long-term interests of their sector. But they need support and certainty to make it a reality. WWF and NatWest Group understand that productivity and sustainability can go hand in hand, and that more and more customers and consumers expect it.”

WWF are supporting Food Matters Live’s Sustainable Food Week, taking place 19 – 24 September 2023, featuring a range of digital and live events to raise awareness of and address the environmental impacts of food production. The organisation will also be speaking on 19 September at the in-person Sustainable Food Forum on the panel The future of food: how to transform the global food production system.


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