An alternative People’s Charter for the Royal Bank of Scotland is launched today, outlining a green future for the 83% publicly owned bank.

The People’s Charter calls on RBS to commit to withdrawing investment in companies and projects that damage the environment and ignore human rights, and to minimising the climate change implications of their investments.

Billboards around the country proudly announce RBS’s Customer charter, 14 vague commitments to improve customer services.

Friends of the Earth Scotland have drawn up the People’s Charter to challenge the bank to make a commitment to real changes that would turn RBS into a Royal Bank of Sustainability.

Mary Church, Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“RBS is keen to highlight its sponsorship of important cultural events like the Edinburgh festival, but it’s not so happy when the spotlight is shone on the damaging consequences of its investment portfolio.

“Tar sands mining in Canada is devastating the local environment and poisoning ecosystems relied upon by indigenous communities. RBS is the UK bank most heavily involved in the funding of companies involved in tar sands extraction in Canada, having underwritten loans of more than $7.5bn in recent years.

“We are calling on RBS to stop funding climate trashing fossil fuel projects and prioritise lending to low-carbon companies, technologies and infrastructure, and communities.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:

Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
t: 0131 243 2719

Notes to Editors

For more information on how RBS could be transformed from climate change funders into green economy financiers read our report, “From Oyal Bank of Scotland to Royal Bank of Sustainability” at www.foe-scotland.org.uk/oyalbankofscotland

RBS People’s Charter

We commit to withdrawing investment in companies and projects that damage the environment and destroy human rights

– We will withdraw current, and cease further, investment in projects and companies that destroy fragile and irreplaceable eco-systems, with immediate effect – We will refuse to finance businesses or ventures that marginalise communities, fail to uphold human rights or have close links to oppressive regimes – In particular, we will stop investing in companies exploiting unconventional sources of oil, such as the Canadian tar sands – We will not fund the construction of any new coal fired power stations, nor companies involved in the mining and transportation of coal

We commit to minimising the climate change implications of our investments

– We will recognise the full implications of our operations on climate change, particularly the core business of financial services – We will introduce a comprehensive policy for reducing the climate change impacts of our entire operations including a target for annual reductions and a strategy to achieve this – We will calculate, publish and cap carbon emissions embedded in our investment portfolio and financial services – We will prioritise investment in projects that actively contribute to the creation of climate jobs

We commit to becoming a Royal Bank of Sustainability

– We will replace the Oil and Gas Team with a Sustainable Energy Team, the majority of whose investments will be in renewable energy and energy conservation – We will open up direct lending to communities to micro-finance the transition to a low-carbon society with projects such as de-centralised energy and insulation – We will prioritise lending to low-carbon companies, technologies and infrastructure – We will enable and respect public participation in investment decisions – We will seek to repay our climate debt to the worst affected people and environments – We will transform RBS into a precedent setting Green Investment Bank

Friends of the Earth Scotland exists to help people in Scotland look after the planet for everyone’s future. We think globally and act locally in Scotland, delivering solutions to climate change by enabling and empowering people to take both individual and collective action. We offer help to people with the big things in life – helping to sustain a healthy society and environment. We believe that all of our children’s futures will be better because of what we do. www.foe-scotland.org.uk