Friends of the Earth Scotland is challenging Scottish finance to fund a just transition to a zero carbon economy. This page summarises our past and current work on making banks more sustainable and democratic, going back to 2007.

Banking for the Common Good

In March 2016 we published a report with Common Weal, the New Economics Foundation and Move Your Money outlining a vision for a new banking system that the Scottish Parliament could create.

Instead of highly concentrated, profit-driven banking our propopals set out an ecosystem of institutions that are structurally designed to work for the benefit of people and planet.

The report was built on Friends of the Earth Scotland’s previous publication “Smaller, Greener Banking“, a review of proposals for banking reform published in the run up to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, and informed by our past work on the now privatised Green Investment Bank.

A green and ethical National Investment Bank

In 2016 we brought our Banking for the Common Good proposals to the Scottish and UK Parliaments, and political party conferences. Proposals to create a new national investment bank won support from the Scottish National Party and the UK Labour Party, with the Scottish Government announcing in 2017 they were backing a Scottish National Investment Bank.

You can read more about this active campaign on our main National Investment Bank webpage.

Oil Bank of $cotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland was one of the biggest banks in the world and a major global investor unlocking the new frontier of fossil fuel extraction. In 2007 we launched a campaign for the Bank to stop providing finance to fossil fuels. In 2008 the Bank nearly collapsed, and became majority publicly-owned.

Over an incredible 11 years of campaigning, documented in this blog, we won commitments from RBS to pull out of mountain-top removal in the USA, to stop financing companies who derive more than 40% of their revenue from coal, and to completely end project finance for coal, arctic oil and the tar sands.

Friends of the Earth has co-published a number of reports and briefings about RBS:

Despite significant progress RBS still invests in fossil fuels, and we are calling for the Bank to go fossil free as part of the Fossil Banks: No Thanks campaign.

Fossil Banks: No Thanks

In 2018 we marked the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis by returning to RBS to mark the huge impact their wreckless decisions had on society. You can watch a short clip of this here. The day was marked across the world as #10YearsOn, with actions taking place in a number of cities under the banner ‘Change Finance‘.

We’re supporting a new campaign to finally get banks to kick their fossil fuel habit. ‘Fossil Banks No Thanks’ is a European campaign to encourage banks to ditch their fossil fuel investments. You can find out more on the campaign website.

Conferences and events

We have supported a number of events and conferences to broaden Scotland’s conversation about finance and economic reform.

The ‘Just Banking’ conference was held in Edinburgh in 2012 exploring how we can change banking for the better. You can browse summary articles, presentations and videos from the event here. A follow-up conference in London ‘Transforming Finance‘ took place in 2013.

In 2014 we organised ‘Reinvent Our Economy for People and the Planet‘ at the University of Glasgow. Follow the link to watch videos and podcast recordings of the speakers including Ann Pettifor, Richard Murphy, Richard Werner, Molly Scott-Cato MEP and Anatole Kaletsky.

Ending investment in fossil fuels

As well as reforming our major financial institutions we’re also campaigning for every investor to stop investing in fossil fuels as part of a worldwide movement worth trillions of dollars.

Click here to read more about our Divestment campaigning.