Take action over RBS' dirty investments

24 Feb 2011

As bailed-out bank RBS publishes details of its 2010 financial results, campaigners call on the government to cure RBS of its high-risk oil addiction.

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 2011 rbs stunt oil addiction

Protesters showcase RBS oil addiction as financial results are announced

Today’s announcement of major losses by publicly-owned ‘Oil and Gas Bank’ RBS show that it is still the wrong investment choices. Ditch Dirty Development campaign partners Friends of the Earth Scotland and World Development Movement staged a stunt in London to highlight RBS’ continued investments in dirty and dangerous tar sands and fossil fuel projects.

They have joined forces with People & Planet to urge the government, as majority shareholder in the bank, to use its power to switch the investments of the Royal Bank of Scotland away from climate-damaging fossil fuels towards cleaner, greener low-carbon energy industries. You can too by telling Business Secretary Vince Cable to clean up RBS

At the Treasury, campaigners delivered over a thousand postcards signed by taxpayers angry at the Government for letting RBS use their money to finance projects and companies that are worsening climate change and threatening human rights.

A campaigner dressed as an RBS banker, addicted to fossil fuels, lay ‘unconscious’ on the pavement outside the Treasury this morning, having overdosed on oil while another dressed as a doctor tried to cure the banker of his oil addiction.

RBS is the UK bank most heavily involved in financing the global coal industry and companies mining tar sands in Canada. Since being bailed out in October 2008, RBS has provided finance of nearly £3.6bn in direct loans to fossil fuel companies and has helped raise equity finance worth an additional £9.3bn. Of this £13bn, just over £1bn has financed companies involved in tar sands mining.

People & Planet and partners argue that the government should be turning RBS into a Royal Bank of Sustainability or a Green Investment Bank in order to finance low carbon transition in the UK and kick start a green jobs revolution. RBS was bailed-out with a total £45.5bn of taxpayers’ money and the bank is now 83% owned by the Government. Despite its majority shareholding, the Government has refused to intervene to switch RBS’s lending practices away from destructive projects like tar sands and into low carbon, green energy.

Mary Church of Friends of the Earth Scotland said:

“People don’t want a profitable RBS at the expense of human rights and the environment. Instead of simply lining the pockets of bankers, a Royal Bank of Sustainability could serve the interests of both taxpayers and the environment, by financing a just transition to a green economy.”

Take action now by emailing Business Secretary Vince Cable

Dirty Oil

Canadian tar sands extraction has been described as the most destructive industrial project on earth, producing carbon emissions three times larger than conventional oil and creating devastating impacts on indigenous communities and the local environment.

In Northern Alberta, an area the size of Wales, has been stripped bare and rivers polluted by the tar sands extraction. Similar excavations are also being investigated in a UNESCO World Heritage Site containing undisturbed forests and mangrove swamps in Madagascar.

Find out more about People & Planet’s international campaign to Stop the Tarsands