NatWest Edinburgh AGM to vote on climate, buybacks

NatWest-RBS HQ at Gogarburn in Edinburgh

NatWest Group plc — the bank formerly known as RBS — announced it will hold its Annual General Meeting at the group’s Gogarburn headquarters on the west side of Edinburgh, at 2pm on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Shareholders will be able to attend the 2022 AGM in person and investors are also being invited to attend a “live” virtual shareholder event which will be held at 5pm on April 21.

NatWest shareholders will for the first time be given a vote on the company’s climate policy at the AGM.

Shareholders will be asked to support NatWest’s climate strategy and its intention to publish a transition plan to align with Paris Agreement climate goals.

Investors will also vote on resolutions that would allow NatWest to buy back 10% of its shares from the market, and 4.99% of directed buybacks from the UK government, which still owns around 51% of the bank following its 2008 financial crisis bailout.

“The bank is asking its shareholders to give their support to its strategic direction on climate change, its intention to develop and publish a transition plan, and for annual progress reports to be published,” said NatWest.

“In presenting the resolution to shareholders, the bank intends to promote transparency about its climate ambitions and strategic direction and obtain feedback which will help it to shape its future climate transition planning, execution and reporting.”

NatWest Group CEO Alison Rose said: “Tackling climate change is a key strategic priority for NatWest Group.

“It is also near the top of the agenda for many of our shareholders, and we want to work with all of our stakeholders to help shape our future planning, execution and reporting on climate.

“We have already set out bold targets to help tackle climate change and to support the UK economy’s transition to net zero.

“We believe being transparent about our progress is vital, which is why we have decided to give our shareholders this say on climate.

“Addressing the climate crisis is not something NatWest Group or any individual organisation can do on its own.

“As a bank, the biggest impact we can have on the transition to net zero comes from supporting our 19 million customers to understand and reduce their climate impact.

“The transition to net zero can only happen if we make the necessary financing, insight and tools available to the people, families and businesses we serve.”

NatWest Group set out its climate strategy in February 2020.

“To meet its ambition to be the leading UK bank addressing climate change, NatWest Group will halve the climate impact of its financing by 2030 and be net zero by 2050, primarily by supporting its customers to transition to the low carbon economy,” said the bank.

“As of 31 December 2021, NatWest Group had analysed 52% of its gross lending and investment balances at full year 2019 to support estimating its financed emissions.

“As signatories of the Science Based Targets initiative, NatWest Group has sought to use their guidance for financial institutions to estimate emissions intensity estimates for 2030, where possible.

“The bank has recently submitted 2030 emission intensities and sector-specific targets to SBTi for validation.

“In 2023 the bank will publish its climate transition plan which will further support its ambition to do what is necessary to achieve alignment with the 2015 Paris Agreement.

“It intends to be transparent in providing updates on progress against its climate transition plan by publishing annual reports.

“NatWest Group recognises the role it can play in financing the transition to a zero-carbon economy and in 2021 supported its customers with £17.5bn climate and sustainability funding and financing.

“This included £8.1bn since launching its new target in July last year to lend £100bn to these projects by 2025.”

Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) — owner of Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows and Halifax — announced it will hold its AGM at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 11am.