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Sustainability

New report highlights the way ahead for sustainable agriculture

Our insight suggests that farmers and government should work together on a green transition. 

But according to our new report developed with input from published by NatWest Group and with input from the National Farmers’ Union, ‘Agriculture: Partnering with farmers for a more secure and sustainable agricultural sector’, the transition is both possible and workable.

Currently, the agricultural sector is responsible for 10% of greenhouse emissions, according to the UK Climate Change Committee 2022 Progress Report. Figures shared by the World Bank suggest demand for food might rise by 70% by 2050. In the short term, farmers must contend with high inflation on fuel, fertilisers and animal feed, but longer term, the industry is looking to improve its emissions.

The sector is at a turning point, argues the report, which finds that 82% of farmers in the UK want to embrace the long-term challenge and invest in their sustainable transition. Sustainability and productivity are increasingly connected, and a sustainable business is often a successful one. 

Steps to sustainable agriculture

The report identifies some crucial steps that the industry can take towards a net zero future. Among them are:

  • Use of the Global Farm Metric (GFM): this framework enables farmers to understand their social, economic and environmental sustainability in a way that is robust, holistic and independent of farming models. A common set of sustainability data also lets farmers share farm-level outcomes across the food and farming sector.
  • A collaborative plan for the future, developed by government and industry: through partnerships and joined-up thinking, both the agricultural sector and government can ensure that productivity and sustainability are co-dependent. Included in this is policy that rewards farmers for transition.

To support these ambitions and actions, NatWest Group has announced a £100bn target for climate and sustainable funding and financing, and has several initiatives to help the transition to enable sustainable agriculture. These include work with the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the Taskforce for Scaling Regenerative Farming.

We have stood behind UK farmers for nearly 300 years, and our approach now is to stand by the industry and invest in their transition.

Dame Alison Rose
CEO, NatWest Group
Download the report

NatWest Agriculture report (PDF, 6MB).

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of the NatWest Group Economics Department, as of this date and are subject to change without notice.

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