RBS clearly rattled by campaigners, doors opened for dialogue
Campaigning groups met this morning with RBS executives, including Sir Philip Hampton, RBS Group Chairman, as part of their extensive campaign to challenge RBS’ investments in controversial projects, such as Tar Sands.
The meeting fell in the middle of a week of action, including an alternative public AGM alongside RBS’ closed-door AGM. This meeting represented a significant concession on the part of RBS who had previously resisted campaigners’ requests for high level meetings.
The campaign groups have been putting pressure on RBS to publicly commit to stop financing companies that are exacerbating climate change or developing projects without the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities.
“I was shocked to hear the Chairman state that RBS involvements in Tar Sands were seen to be so minute, that they hardly knew what the Tar Sands actually are. Eight billion dollars loaned to companies involved in tar sands extraction is hardly minute. Our local communities are feeling the devastating impacts of tar sands each and every day.” Said Eriel Deranger, of the Rainforest Action Network
“We welcome RBS’ commitment to take our issues to board level discussion, however talk alone is not enough. We remain sceptical that this will lead to changes in RBS’ practises relating to lending in projects such as Tar Sands or Vedanta. The Chair explicitly denied any significant responsibility on the part of individual banks towards the harmful impacts of such investments. Nonetheless, we hope the board collectively will take a different view.” said Deborah Doane, Director of the World Development Movement.
The groups included Amnesty International Scotland, Friends of the Earth Scotland, World Development Movement, SEAD, People & Planet, Indigenous Environmental Network, Rainforest Action Network and PLATFORM which were targeting RBS over its financial involvement with companies with poor climate change and human rights records.
They made it very clear that they would continue their campaigns to ensure that RBS is not using taxpayers money to continue to trample on the environment and human rights.