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RBS and University of Edinburgh launch programme to help SMEs become climate change leaders

A new partnership designed to empower Scottish companies to become climate change leaders has been launched by the University of Edinburgh and Royal Bank of Scotland.

The £1m programme, supported by the bank’s 300 Fund, will see experts from the university’s Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI) and RBS’ business banking specialists work together to help firms identify the opportunities a net zero economy can create, while helping them become more sustainable operations in the process.

Being funded by RBS – a principal partner at this year’s COP26 – the partnership is focused on the small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) community and aims to assist more than 500 businesses.

ECCI will work with the bank to develop the tools, advice and materials that will let businesses understand and take action to reduce their climate impact, to fully contribute to tackling climate change, and to identify and realise the business opportunities from being at the forefront of the net zero economy.

Content will include toolkits, online learning, mentoring and peer-to-peer work that will provide training and advice.

RBS’ 300 Fund is a multi-million pound initiative created to support projects in Scotland making a positive difference in areas such as climate change, financial capability and enterprise.

It will see £1m a year invested in activities across Scotland until 2027, the year the bank celebrates its 300th anniversary.

Professor Dave Reay, executive director at ECCI and chair in carbon management at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Small businesses have so much to contribute to the transition to a net zero economy, but they need support to understand where they can have most impact and to recognise and respond to the opportunities it presents.”

Malcolm Buchanan, chair of the Scotland board at RBS, added: “SMEs are the lifeblood of the Scottish economy and as the country prepares to host COP26 in November the work that the ECCI and Royal Bank is about to undertake and the insight it can offer becomes more relevant than ever.”

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