Banks provide billions for Dirty Diesel traders while failing to act on human rights, says new briefing
- Of 26 banks contacted, not one has pressured companies over toxic fuel exports to Africa
BankTrack is the international tracking, campaigning and support organisation focused on banks and the activities they finance.
We aim to promote fundamental changes in the banking sector so that banks adopt just and sustainable business practices.
Ric Lander, Friends of the Earth Scotland
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, Coutts, Ulster Bank and Citizens.
After a massive bailout in 2008, RBS is now a UK government owned institution. In 2014 RBS embarked on a restructuring process that will see the bank operate mainly in the UK and Ireland by 2019. The strategy is expained here.
Gogarburn 175 Glasgow Road
EH12 1HQ Edinburgh
Ross McEwan |
Group Chief Executive
|Annual report||Annual Report 2016|
listed on London Stock Exchange
RBS has been effectively nationalised by the UK government, who has taken an 85 per cent share in the bank in 2008. Currently it still holds around 73 per cent of the shares.
RBS investment policies can be found here.
The Equator Principles are a voluntary commitment of banks to try to avoid or minimise the social, environmental and human rights impact of projects they finance. For more information on the Equator Principles see their website here and the campaign page of BankTrack here.
The Equator Principles exist already since 2003. RBS adopted the Equator Principles in 2003.
RBS must report annually on its implementation of the Equator Principles. All information is supposed to be found here.
RBS is involved in financing the following Equator Principles projects that BankTrack considers controversial.
True leader Front runner Follower Laggard
BankTrack has assessed RBS on its implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in June 2016. RBS is assessed as a Follower, with a total score of 5/12.
RBS is reporting on the implementation here.
In May, Bank of America and Crédit Agricole became the first major banks to announce plans to stop financing coal mining. These announcements marked a hugely significant win and a breakthrough moment in the fight to end financing for the coal industry. The second half of 2015, in the run-up to the make-or-break UN climate change conference in Paris, then saw important coal finance restrictions being announced by institutions including Citi, Natixis, Goldman Sachs, Société Générale, BNP Paribas, ING and RBS. All these moves are captured here – significantly, a number of banks have chosen not just to get out of coal mining, but are also extending into ending their support for coal power.
In 2014, JP Morgan, Cit, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland all responded to a worldwide pressure campaign of NGOs, including Banktrack, urgewald, Greenpeace and Market Forces, by announcing that they would not help finance the expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in Australia. While ANZ and others remain tied to the deal for now, these banks did the right thing in foregoing this destructive deal that threatens the Great Barrier Reef.
In 2013 the seven-strong Thun Group of Banks' produced a discussion paper on banks' responsibilities under new UN human rights guidelines. BankTrack's response to the paper highlighted that the banks had failed to address their responsibility to provide access to remedy to victims of human rights abuses. After we pushed the point further at a conference with the banks in 2014, they agreed to "explore options for addressing ... access to remedy." We look forward to the outcome.
In 2013, BNP Paribas pledged to cut financing for top producers of mountaintop removal coal. In spring 2014, JPMorgan Chase updated its environmental policy committing to aggressively reduce its financing relationships with mountaintop removal coal mining companies. And in April 2014, Royal Bank of Scotland followed suit, updating their environmental policies to prohibit financing to companies who are "significant producers of coal using mountaintop removal (MTR) mining in Appalachia."
Together with the UK student network People & Planet and the National Union of Students, Platform's "Oyal Bank of Scotland" campaign led to thousands of postcards being signed, stickers put up, and student demonstrations focused on the climate impacts of RBS financing fossil fuels. Following the campaign, RBS stopped denying climate change or promoting itself publicly as "the Oil & Gas Bank", and the Chairman was forced to respond publicly to demands that the bank report on its embedded emissions.