‘People can easily feel overwhelmed by the issues around sustainability,’ says Alex. She first joined NatWest as an intern, moved into the graduate programme, and is now a Climate Capability & Engagement Lead.
‘To me, sustainability means thinking about the environment, but also about society. It’s about realising what we can do now – as individuals and collectively – while acting in a way that will make things better for future generations.’
Networks and champions
Alex co-chairs the employee-led Sustainable Futures Network – an active, creative network of groups throughout the bank that works to raise awareness and create hands-on projects. While climate change and biodiversity have been a main focus, the network looks deeply into social sustainability.
And they’ve created plenty of practical ways to learn more and to get involved. They’ve partnered with Giki Zero to bring our colleagues a tool to explore their carbon footprint at home and work, and to see how even tiny changes can make a difference.
They’ve launched the Sustainability Champions programme, empowering colleagues to help build a sustainable bank that takes the lead in addressing climate change. Around 350 champions created personal and professional objectives to push sustainability in their own business areas. They encourage people to join the network, to make the most of volunteering opportunities, and to take part in technology-focused trials – such as the EV8 Switch – which helps people decide whether an electric vehicle would fit with their driving needs.
Any change is better than none
Alex does what she can in her home life, but is realistic about not getting everything right. ‘There are lots of sustainable home improvements I’d ideally change in my home, but an old flat isn’t easy to work with. I started the Bike to Work Scheme and I take the train rather than fly. I also try to buy local and seasonal food rather than produce transported from far away.
‘There’s a danger that if we feel we can’t make a big change, that there’s no point doing anything. I truly believe there’s something worthwhile we can all do.’
Along with what she’s learned from podcasts and awareness events, Alex says some of her most inspiring moments have come from volunteering and team days. ‘You soon realise how easy it is to spend a day that improves things for the community or the environment, doing good to feel good’ she says. ‘There are lots of development opportunities here, and some amazing projects. You get to see what you can do in your own community, but also to have new conversations around sustainability and get different perspectives from colleagues.’
Alex feels positive that we’re on the right track towards sustainability by helping and influencing customers and partners.
Being sustainable is just one of our five values.Find out more