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Bank’s climate change supremo among the speakers at P&J Business Breakfast

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Energy transition and net-zero – themes for a major online event later this month – have gone from being just buzzwords to take their place at the heart of the north-east and wider Scottish economies.

Barely a day goes by without fresh news of how businesses are adapting to change as part of a move away from fossil fuels.

Much of this economic evolution was already in train before the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak just over a year ago.

But the pandemic has accelerated the process – and The Press and Journal Business Breakfast, in association with Royal Bank of Scotland, and supported by Burness Paull and Aker Solutions, will shine a spotlight on our journey to a low carbon future.

The event will take place from 8-9am on Friday April 23, the same day as The P&J publishes a business supplement devoted to renewables, transition and the move to net-zero.

Banking perspective

Among the strong roster of speakers is James Close, head of climate change at Scottish banking giant NatWest Group, which operates as Royal Bank of Scotland north of the border.

Mr Close, who boasts a degree in chemistry from Durham University, has spent his career working at the interface of the public and private sectors.

He is now committed to working on some of the most challenging global issues focusing on sustainable development and climate change.

As well as his key role at NatWest, he is a member of the energy and natural resources advisory group for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and was previously head of the circular economy programme for London.

James Close, head of climate change at NatWest Group

Mr Close’s CV also includes a five-year spell in Washington DC as the director for climate change at the World Bank.

Before that he was a partner in the corporate finance practice of global professional services giant EY, and also worked for HM Treasury.

Joining him on our breakfast event speaker panel for what is shaping up to be a fascinating discussion are Opportunity North East chairman Sir Ian Wood, Aker Solutions UK country manager Sian Lloyd-Rees and Burness Paull partner Neil Smith.

Our last virtual business breakfast broke attendance records, and this month’s event is widely expected to attract just as much, if not more attention. To register for free, visit

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