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RBS targeted by protesters at international banking conference

Climate activists denounce bankers’ involvement in financing destructive tar sands
Dodgy deals
By London camp for climate action | London, Jul 13 2010

Activists from the London Camp for Climate Action and the UK Tar Sands Network attended the Annual International Bankers Conference [1] in London this morning to protest the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) using tax payers' money to finance destructive fossil fuel projects around the world.

As bankers, including Stephen Hester, Head of RBS arrived at the conference, they were given ‘Never mind the bankers' newspapers, [2] while activists took turns to swipe at papier mache piggy banks emblazoned with the RBS logo. The protest was billed as a ‘warm up' event to the Camp for Climate Action in Edinburgh in August that will be targeting the headquarters of RBS. [3]

Lisa Newberry of the UK Tar Sands Network who was protesting at the event said:
"Oil companies in Canada are destroying crucial ecosystems, indigenous communities and the climate through the extraction of tar sands, and banks like RBS are providing them with the cash to do it. Activists in the UK and in Canada are coming together to cut off this destructive financial flow."

RBS, which is 83% owned by the UK public, has historically been the UK bank most heavily involved in providing fossil fuel finance. Companies that have been recently financed include ones carrying out coal extraction in the UK, and expansion of the Albertan tar sands. [4]

Terry Gardiner, from the London Camp for Climate Action [5] said "Banks have trashed the economy, and are in the process of trashing the climate. Communities affected by climate change are saying no to this exploitative and dangerous destruction of our planet and our future. Hundreds of us will be targetting RBS in Edinburgh this August, taking steps to stop destructive projects like these by taking on the institutions that feed them."

Notes to editors:


[2] The newspaper can be downloaded from

[3] see

[4] Tar sands:
Coal: In September 2009, RBS led a consortium of five banks in providing
Hargreaves Services with a £115 million credit facility. This British coal
mining, importing and haulage company owns the Maltby coal mine in South
Yorkshire which supplies Drax power station, the single biggest carbon
emitter in the UK and the site of the first Camp for Climate Action in

[5] From the Camp for Climate Action website: Why RBS?

RBS is the UK bank that has been the most heavily involved in financing fossil fuels and corporate bad guys around the world. It took part in providing E.ON with $70 billion at the time it was looking to bust out 17 new coal and gas power plants across Europe, and underwritten $8 billion in loans to ConocoPhillips in the last three years, who apart from being active in the Peruvian Amazon are one of the biggest players in the Canadian tar sands. In fact RBS is the UK bank the most heavily involved in providing the most loans to oil companies that are extracting tar sands and in doing so trashing the climate and destroying Indigenous Communities.

Since the financial crisis, RBS has received billions of pounds of public money to keep it afloat, to the point where it is now 84% owned by the UK public. Communities in the UK are now facing years of cuts to health, education and social services as a result of bailing out the actions of irresponsible bankers. And now they are using our money to prop up the E.ONs and the Shells of this world.

Using public money to support banks in trashing the climate embodies the absurdity of the economic and political system we live in. We need to stop our money from being used to finance tar sands, coal and all fossil fuels, and we need to have democratic financial institutions that serve the needs to people, communities and sustainability rather than just lining the pockets of greedy bankers.



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RBS was founded in 1727 and is one of the major UK banks. RBS has 40 million customers using the financial services of over 30 brands, including NatWest, Direct Line, Churchill,…
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