PLATFORM Unravelling the CarbonWeb
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Unravelling the Carbon Web is a project by PLATFORM. We work to reduce the environmental and social impacts of oil corporations, to help citizens gain a say in decisions that affect them, and to support the transition to a more sustainable energy economy.

SEE ALSO

Royal Bank of Scotland

What can students do?

What will RBS do to your student loan?

RBS opening up the carbon frontier

Fuelling Climate Change

The Responsible Bank of Scotland?

What should RBS do?

Banksecrets - new website

 

Oil & Gas Projects:

Shell's Sakhalin II disaster

Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline

The Responsible Bank of Scotland?

“As a financial services group our direct impact on the environment in terms of climate change […] is limited compared to many other business sectors."
RBS 2005 Corporate Responsibility report

RBS presents itself as a responsible member of the community, paying attention to consumer satisfaction, employee happiness and environmental impacts. Yet the high levels of embedded emissions and destructive projects financed indicate greenwash.
 
The 2005 RBS Corporate Responsibility report focuses on donations to charity, combating fraud and small business lending in the UK. Yet RBS is a global bank with global investments and thus global impacts. There is no mention of the many controversial projects funded by RBS in the Caucasus, in Chile, in Angola and Wales.
 
 
RBS: a laggard on climate change policy and process

RBS is a laggard on climate change compared to other major banks, having neither acknowledged its major impacts on the planet’s climate nor adopted a comprehensive policy on climate change.

While no bank is beyond criticism regarding its carbon responsibilities, several have adopted policies and taken steps forwards. The CEO of HBOS’ asset management arm Insight has argued, “Tackling climate change will hinge on the investment decisions made by institutional investors.” Bank of America has committed to reducing emissions resulting from its energy and utilities portfolio by 7% by 2008.
 

The Equator Principles

RBS’ has adopted the self-regulatory Equator Principles. Yet even here RBS is a laggard on implementation.

The Principles are a set of voluntary guidelines adopted by 40 banks, intended to reduce credit risks by minimising or avoiding social and environmental risks. Yet the Principles remain very weak, with no accountability mechanism and minimal reporting.

Despite being a founder signatory, RBS appears not to have integrated the Principles into its practices, judging by the projects it has been involved in since. Furthermore, the Principles don’t address the implications of bringing millions of barrels of carbon-heavy oil from deep underground to the market to be burnt into climate-threatening carbon dioxide.