In potentially the first case of it’s kind, RBS and the Treasury could face court action for investing in carbon-intensive industries including coal, oil and gas as well as environmentally destructive mining.
The environmental groups involved in bringing about the hearing today include People and Planet, the World Development Movement and Platform. The conclusion of the hearing could lead to green groups having a case with which to sue the bank and the Treasury.
The Green groups claim that the unethical investments go against the government’s own environmental policies and guidelines, the Companies Act as well as disrespecting indigenous people is one case which accuses RBS of giving credit to a intensive mining company in India.
Other investments that have been frowned upon include lending £10bn to coal, oil and gas firms since the bailout, including a massive £6bn to E.ON and £1.4bn to Tullow Oil in Ireland.
Mel Evans, a climate campaigner at Platform said,
“The court case today is clearly showing the legal reasons why the Treasury under the Company Law Act must take action to stop RBS from investing in companies that trash the climate. But there is also a business case, which is demonstrated in this new report. In an increasingly carbon-constrained world, investors, and in this case, the public as owners of RBS, are exposing themselves to more and more risk in continuing to pump billions into new fossil fuel projects”