Saturday, August 18, 2007

Reputational risk: Climate protesters declare RBS a target for direct action

The Scotsman: … the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) now faces becoming embroiled in the Heathrow airport climate change protest after being accused of playing a major role in global warming. Protesters at Britain's biggest airport said the bank's main London offices were on a hit list of possible targets for a planned 24 hours of direct action.

The Camp for Climate Action is also considering a demonstration at Heathrow operator BAA's offices at the airport, and against air freight firms, during the action, due to begin at midday tomorrow. It has accused cargo companies of the "lunacy" of transporting food and flowers by air.

…Heather Riley, a spokeswoman for the group, said: "The Royal Bank of Scotland is one of several potential targets as a major funder of climate change. "It is the aviation bank, with a specific aviation arm which provides a massive amount of money to the industry. Although many banks fund dubious projects, the Royal Bank has a particular focus on both aviation and the oil and gas industries. We will be staging this protest to show the links between big business and climate change."

…The environmental pressure group Platform said the bank's future profits could be hit because of what it claimed were unaccounted-for "carbon liabilities" of almost £1 billion. This relates to the scale of carbon dioxide emissions involved in the energy projects the bank is funding.

The bank yesterday sought to stress its green credentials. A spokesman said: "Whilst operating companies are ultimately responsible for their own emissions, the bank closely monitors the climate change associated risks for all areas of its business."

…” We are greener than many other players in the aviation industry, the Royal Bank of Scotland said yesterday. A spokesman said the aircraft it leased were an average of 3.5 years old - younger and more fuel efficient than competitors'.

It also disputed claims about its impact on climate change through the oil and gas industry. The spokesman said claims about the levels of carbon dioxide involved were at odds with internationally accepted methods of measuring carbon emissions.

…THE Royal Bank of Scotland is at the centre of the climate change crisis because of its major funding of the aviation, oil and gas industries, campaigners claim. They say its investment in fossil fuels last year involved 44 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

…Duncan McLaren, the chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "The bank seems happy to claim kudos and credit when it funds renewable energy projects, yet rejects any accountability for the emissions that result from the oil and gas projects it finances."

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