Ditch Dirty Development: clean up RBS-Natwest

Keep up the pressure

RBS AGM 2010 Edinburgh students protest

Students from across the UK protest outside RBS’s 2010 shareholder meeting

People & Planet ran the Ditch Dirty Development campaign from 2007 to 2010. This campaign has evolved into the Fossil Free campaign - check it out now.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is still the UK’s biggest backer of dirty fossil fuels like the tarsands.

Join other People & Planet students taking action for a fossil free future.

Campaign Summary

Climate change is perhaps the most serious threat we face. If we are going to cut our carbon emissions we must stop extracting fossil fuels and start developing renewable energy.

Fossil fuel extraction doesn’t happen without funding. Likewise, the switch to a low carbon economy won’t happen unless there’s serious cash behind it.

Almost everyone now agrees that action on climate change is urgently needed. But funding for fossil fuels is still far greater than investment in renewable energy. Loans to oil, coal and gas projects that run for decades will guarantee massive future emissions. Loans for renewables could secure us a safe energy future. To avoid devastating climate change we must stop funding fossil fuel extraction and start investing in renewable energy.

Download our report - Towards a Royal Bank of Sustainability

What RBS must commit to:

  1. Calculate and publish the embedded emissions resulting from loans to oil, gas and coal companies and projects

  2. Cap embedded emissions and set annual targets for reductions

  3. Commit to a complete transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy lending

  4. Establish ‘no-go’ areas for lending: immediately halt loans to unconventional fossil fuels (eg tar sands) and which affect sensitive ecosystems such as rainforests. Funding for new unabated coal power generation in the global North should also immediately be stopped.


Campaign Strategy

Ditch Dirty Development campaign logo

The Ditch Dirty Development campaign aims to shift financial support away from fossil fuel extraction and exploration towards renewable energy. We in coalition with World Development Movement Scotland (WDM), Friends of the Earth Scotland and Platform to deliver this.

Since the global financial crisis in 2008, the lines between banks and the government have become blurred. That’s why we have two main targets.

Target 1: The Royal Bank of Scotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which owns NatWest, is one of the biggest companies in the world and the UK’s most polluting bank. It is one of the major funders of fossil fuels, and invests in some of the most controversial projects. In 2006 its investments were responsible for more emissions than the whole of Scotland.

As a major UK financial body, now majority-owned by the taxpayer, RBS should be showing the way to a low-carbon future. Instead they are leading us to climate catastrophe.

Target 2: The Treasury

The Treasury has pumped billions of pounds of public money into RBS to stop it going bankrupt. We now own around 84% of the bank yet the Treasury has so far failed to do anything to stop RBS’s most destructive investments.

The Treasury claim to be concerned about climate change and promoting a green economy. They could and should be using RBS to finance the switch to green energy we desperately need. Instead they are allowing RBS to invest public money in the very projects which are endangering our future.


The bailouts provided a huge opportunity for positive change. We now own one of the biggest banks in the world. We have the chance to use RBS to lead the transition to a low-carbon economy that we urgently need. Join the campaign to green RBS and help stop climate chaos.