NatWest-WWF team up to prevent UK agriculture into ‘freefall’

UK commercial bank NatWest and WWF have announced a new strategic partnership that aims to support the UK’s agriculture sector through a sustainable transition. 

NatWest and WWF will work on bringing together some of the leading firms in the agriculture sector to channel and scale private and public finance to support farmers, as well as develop innovative agriculture payments. 

The partners will also collaborate to provide guidance advice and tools to help deliver transition plans in the UK food and agriculture sectors.   

Alison Rose DBE, Chief Executive of NatWest Group, said: “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.”

With farmland covering 70% of the UK, and agriculture accounting for 11% of UK climate emissions, agriculture has been labelled “a crucial player in tackling the climate and nature crises”, by NatWest. 

The strategic partnership follows a new report published in May by the UK bank, which found that 82% of farmers want to embrace the climate and nature challenges and transition their growth, but they need support to do this. 

NatWest has committed to lending up to £7bn to UK agriculture, falling in line with WWF’s Land of Plenty report, which aims for the world to become net-zero as they look to establish an environment where farmers can get a fairer share of the agriculture market. 

“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,” added Tanya Steele CBE, CEO, WWF. 

“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 understand that productivity and sustainability can go hand in hand, and that more and more customers and consumers expect it.”