A ‘girl band’ of environmental activists dressed as ‘oily bankers’ protested outside the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) sponsored Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference (1) in Edinburgh this morning (Tuesday 27 September 2011).

Video footage and photographs available

The ‘girl band’ sang a well-known chart song with lyrics altered to tell the
story of RBS’s ‘oily investments’, which finance companies involved in some
of the world’s most environmentally destructive activities, including oil
and gas exploration, the development of new coal plants and the mining of
tar sands in Canada, described as the most destructive industrial project on
Earth (2).

Since the banking crisis in 2008, RBS has received more than £45billion in
bail out money from the UK Government – the equivalent of £736 from every
man, woman and child in the UK. RBS is 83% owned by the British taxpayer and
yet the taxpayer has no say in the type of investments that RBS makes, and
the company continues to invest in projects and businesses that are fuelling
climate change and causing environmental destruction and human rights abuses.

While Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomes support for low carbon
investments, the organisation questions the integrity of RBS’s involvement
in the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference. As the UK bank most
heavily involved in financing the fossil fuel industry, RBS’s activities
totally undermine the transition to a low carbon future.

Stan Blackley, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“RBS’s sponsorship of this conference is utterly hypocritical and completely
two-faced. These ‘oily bankers’ are keen to be seen promoting events like
this because it distracts attention from their major links to some of the
most environmentally damaging projects on earth, such as the Canadian tar
sands and deep water oil exploration in the Arctic.

“The ‘Oil Bank of Scotland’ is using our, the taxpayer’s, money to finance
activities that are driving climate change, damaging the environment,
causing massive human rights abuses, and contributing to inequalities all
around the world. We want the bank to adopt strict ethical and environmental
investment criteria on how it uses our money. If it is serious about
investment in low carbon technologies, then that action must come hand in
hand with immediate dis-investment in dirty energy.”

Earlier this month, RBS pulled out of conducting further financial deals
with cluster-bomb manufacturers after its investments in the controversial
industry were exposed. Friends of the Earth Scotland is calling on the bank
to continue the improvement of its investment practices and shift its
investment from polluting fossil fuel extraction to the development of safe,
clean, renewable sources of energy and electricity instead.

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact:
Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
t: 0131 243 2719
e: sblackley@foe-scotland.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1. For more information on the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference,
see: www.slciconference.com

2. Between 2007 and 2009, RBS led the underwriting of more than $7.5bn worth
of loans to multinational oil companies mining tar sands in Canada. For more
information see: www.foe-scotland.org.uk/tarsands. For more information on
the ‘Clean up RBS’ campaign, see: www.foe-scotland.org.uk/cleanupRBS.

According to research published in March 2011 ranking 35 international banks
according to the amount of finance they had been involved in providing to
the 20 biggest coal based electricity generators, RBS was ranked 3rd; and to
the 20 biggest coal mining operators, RBS was ranked 8th.

In 2009, RBS loaned $100 million to Scottish oil company Cairn Energy. Less
than a month later, Cairn announced that it was able to move its plans to
drill in the arctic forward by one year.

3. Friends of the Earth Scotland is Scotland¹s leading environmental
campaigning organisation, an independent Scottish charity with a network of
thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland, and part of
the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2
million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist
groups – covering every continent.

For more information about Friends of the Earth Scotland, see:
www.foe-scotland.org.uk.