Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) is a UK-based banking and financial services company, headquartered in Edinburgh, which serves 18.9 million customers across the globe.

Official Policies

In light of the importance of climate change, RBS publicly noted that it “is a significant global issue and a growing concern for our customers and we are determined to do what we can to support the transition.”

Their 2017 Sustainable Banking Report, emphasises that they “are making steady progress towards embedding sustainability across our organisation” and announced commitment to provide £10bn of funding towards the transition to a greener economy by 2020.

On top of that, RBS recently reviewed their lending restrictions to customers operating in the Mining & Metals, Oil & Gas, Forestry, Fisheries & Agribusiness and Power Generation industries and have taken the decision to no longer provide any finance to:

  • Power companies that generate more than 40% of their power from unabated coal
  • Mining companies who derive more than 40% of their revenues from mining of thermal coal
  • New coal projects: either thermal coal mines or coal power stations
  • The most high-impact forms of oil extraction, including oil sand projects and arctic oil projects
  • Projects involving unsustainable vegetation clearance or peatland clearance/extraction

As a result of this, RBS’s total exposure to the oil and gas industry, now accounts for just 0.5% of their lending exposures. In 2017 they did not directly finance any new coal mining or coal power projects.

Key Projects

Despite committing to significant improvements in terms of sustainability, in the period from 2015 to 2017 RBS provided US$1.122 billion in support for the fossil fuel industry. This level of support ranks it amongst the world’s largest financiers of the fossil fuel industry. One of the most impactful projects in which RBS has been involved in the past years is the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project, to which it provided a corporate loan of CAD 14 billion to the company Kinder Morgan who hoped to triple the capacity of the current system.

Email to CEO

If you’ve switched from RBS, get in contact with their customer service and let them know. We’ve drafted an email addressed to their CEO for you to edit below:

Dear Mr McEwan,

I have been a RBS customer for …. years now. [If you want you can include specific services such as current account, savings, mortgage.]

Despite your recent efforts and commitments to operate more sustainably, I am switching banks because of your continued investment in fossil fuel projects. I recognise that RBS has committed itself to reducing funding to coal, but I think that this is not enough.

I would be delighted to return once you align your lending practices with the Paris Agreement targets.

[You can also mention any other lending or projects that you don’t agree with.]

Best wishes,