NatWest has introduced a new digital tool, the Energy Help and Support hub, to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in managing their energy costs and reducing carbon emissions. Launched amidst a cold snap in the UK that is expected to lead to a surge in energy bills, the online platform offers free recommendations tailored to SMEs, suggesting ways they can significantly cut their energy expenses. By utilising a business’s postcode, the tool provides information on estimated costs, return on investment, and assists in sourcing suppliers. The launch aligns with a new survey from NatWest indicating that 45% of small businesses anticipate rising energy prices to be a “significant challenge” in 2024.
The digital platform advises on energy efficiency measures, solar panels, and heat pumps, aiming to empower smaller businesses to make informed decisions about reducing their carbon footprint. With the recent reduction in government financial support packages for energy costs, businesses are facing challenges, and the tool helps them explore attractive investments in energy-saving measures and on-site generation technologies. NatWest’s research suggests that, with the right support, up to 70% of business cases to reduce emissions can be financially viable for SMEs by 2030.
James Holian, Head of Business Banking at NatWest Group, emphasised the potential financial benefits for businesses in reducing their carbon footprint. He stated that the new tool removes the guesswork by offering tailored recommendations for improving energy efficiency, whether through solar panels or low-carbon heat pumps. NatWest aims to enable business leaders to make well-informed decisions that are financially prudent and environmentally responsible. The introduction of this tool follows NatWest’s recent launch of a retrofit learning platform for the construction industry, in collaboration with the Supply Chain Sustainability School, focusing on expanding skills for the growing retrofit market in the UK.