Environmental campaigners today (28 November 2011) call on the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to pull taxpayers money out of climate wrecking industries, following the announcement that the bank’s sponsorship of Climate Week has come to an end.

Friends of the Earth Scotland is calling on the bank to stop providing finance to companies involved in environmentally damaging projects around the globe that are driving climate change and human rights abuses, such as the Canadian tar sands oil extraction, deep water oil drilling and the development of new coal power.

Mary Church, Friends of the Earth Scotland campaigner, said:

“It’s good news that RBS are no longer able to greenwash their image through sponsorship of Climate Week, but what we really want to see is an end to the bank’s damaging investments in coal, deep water oil and the tar sands.

“RBS is 83% taxpayer owned and is using our 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.

“It’s laughable that the bank continues to sponsor the Scottish Low Carbon Conference given its track record in financing fossil fuels is totally undermining the transition to a low carbon future.”

Taxpayer owned RBS is the UK bank most heavily involved in financing the fossil fuel industry, yet the bank continues to pursue sponsorship of climate-friendly initiatives such as Climate Week and the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference in an effort to greenwash its activities.

Friends of the Earth Scotland recently campaigned at the Scottish Low Carbon Conference, where a ‘girl band of oily bankers’ sang about the bank’s greenwash attempts.

It is not clear whether RBS withdrew their funding of Climate Week or were rejected by the initiative following bad publicity about the relationship stimulated by the Clean up RBS’ campaign.

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact: Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland t: 0131 243 2719

Notes to Editors

1. Royal Bank of Scotland cancels climate change campaign sponsorship – The Guardian
www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/28/royal-bank-scotland-climate-sponsorship

2. RBS Protest Song: “Wanna pump the tar sands” – video
www.youtu.be/V26AyA8ZKGI

4. RBS Stunt at Low Carbon Conference – hi-res photos
www.flickr.com/photos/friendsoftheearthscotland/sets/72157627764500988

5. 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. 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. For more information on the ‘Clean up RBS’ campaign, see:
www.foe-scotland.org.uk/cleanupRBS

6. Friends of the Earth Scotland is * Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation * An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland * 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. www.foe-scotland.org.uk