A new campaign to encourage 1,000 businesses to make at least one climate pledge has been launched by NatWest and Newsquest, publisher of the Adver, Wiltshire Times and Gazette & Herald.

The initiative comes ahead of the COP26 conference in Edinburgh in November. NatWest is one of the key sponsors of the event as it looks to become 'the number one bank challenging climate change.'

As the world has been pre-occupied with tackling the coronavirus pandemic, climate change has continued relentlessly and ultimately threatens life on earth.

One of the key objectives of COP26 is to make further progress towards global net zero by 2050. Alison Rose, the chief executive of NatWest, has put the climate emergency front and centre of the organisation's priorities. Paul Edwards, Chair of the NatWest South West Board, said:

“Tackling climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime and for NatWest Group it is central to our purpose-led strategy.

“That is why our climate pledge campaign with Newsquest is so important. It is the opportunity for businesses to take real action by making a commitment to helping the environment.

“We know how much climate change matters to businesses and that they want to do more. Often it can come down to simply knowing what action to take. This campaign helps businesses take those all-important first steps that can lead to real change. As the largest business bank in the UK, we believe we have a clear obligation to play a bold and active role in supporting our customers transition to a low carbon economy. That starts by encouraging and supporting businesses to set and reach their climate goals and this campaign is one of the ways in which we can help empower them.”

Tracy Hayden, a Director of Advertising at Adver owner Newsquest said: "NatWest and Newsquest have developed a list of 10 pledges that businesses can choose from so that there is something for every business type, regardless of scale. As a business we have made our own pledges including reducing the amount of plastic bags we use and replacing it where possible with recyclable paper. We also invested in drink bottles for all our staff so that we could remove the need for plastic cups.

Companies can make more than one pledge and NatWest and Newsquest believe any pledge, big or small, will make a difference while also giving businesses a tangible goal to work towards in the months ahead.

NatWest's own targets are:

•At least halving the climate impact of its financing activity by 2030 and doing what is necessary to achieve alignment with the 2015 Paris agreement.

•Providing more than £20bn additional funding and financing for climate and sustainable finance by end of this year.

•Make its own operations climate positive by 2025, having already achieved its ambition to make them net carbon zero by the end of 2020.

Pledging couldn’t be simpler via our climate pledge email below and can be done in a matter of seconds. One business from among those who pledge will win £1,000 worth of print and digital marketing spend courtesy of Newsquest. Don’t forget, you can make more than one pledge per business!

The 10 pledges in detail:

1 – Measure and Reduce Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The first step for any company is to measure its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. You can use an online carbon footprint calculator for this. The Carbon Trust has a great one for SMEs. You can then look at ways to reduce your emissions.

2 – Reduce Energy Consumption

Turning off the lights in the office in the evening, slightly lowering the heating or the air conditioning or taking devices off the plugs when it’s not needed are some good actions companies can implement. It can also save you money which is great news too!

3 – Give Renewable Energies a go

Fossil fuels have a major impact on green house gasses, but moving to renewable energy suppliers who source and use 100% renewable energies means you can reduce your carbon footprint and potentially save money too.

4 – Reduce office waste

Avoiding disposable cups, stirrers, and capsules for the coffee machine and using kitchen crockery instead; reducing the number of prints, reusing papers as drafts, sorting waste for recycling correctly; and repairing and recycling equipment all plays a massive role in helping the environment.

5 – Help your staff go greener with their travel

By encouraging employees to take public transport, to carpool with other colleagues living close-by, or by giving them discounts on public transportation can significantly reduce their indirect CO2 emissions and therefore their impact on climate change.

6 – Choose Greener Infrastructures and Equipment

Choosing more environment-friendly infrastructures and equipment makes a huge difference. Switching a car fleet to electric vehicles doesn’t just help the environment, it can be cost-effective too. Inside your office, when it comes to buying new printers, air conditioners, laptops, screens, bulbs or office materials, make sure you recycle the old ones and choose the most efficient and sustainable new ones.

7 – Choose Sustainable Suppliers

Look at your supply chain and try and work with those who are making an effort to follow your lead with good environmental practices. If you’re a bigger company looking to achieve B Corp status this is even more important because you’ll be measured against who you work with.

8 – Contribute to climate action in society

Your employees and clients can take leading role too. Here education is key. Raising awareness of sustainability and the actions will all need to take is a powerful way of positively influencing this people.

9 – Promote Environmentally Friendly Ways of Working

Remote working and video conferencing are great as you can leave the car. The amount of paper we use also has a strong environmental impact, as do computers and the Internet because of servers. Did you know you can save a lot of CO2 emissions by cutting down on the number of people you copy in an email?

10 – Sign-up to the UK Government’s Together for our Planet Campaign

Supported by NatWest, the Government’s campaign is running in the lead-up to COP26 in November. As well as making a commitment to reduce their carbon emissions, businesses get a tool kit of support to help their reach that goal. You can find out more information and sign-up at here.

To make your pledge email your company name and pledge number (1-10) to climate.pledge@localiq.co.uk and you will automatically enter into our £1,000 advertising giveaway