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.
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The 2009 green university league table, compiled annually since 2007 by People and Planet as part of their ‘Go Green’ campaign to celebrate universities’ environmental performance, has been unveiled this week. The league table pits 127 UK universities against each other, ranking them on a number of environmental criteria and awarding them in degree style with differing classifications according to their performance; first, 2:1, 2:2, third, and fail. Universities that did not provide any information were listed under the ‘did not sit exam’ category.
People and Planet, the UK’s largest student network, held protests yesterday in London and Glasgow in response to the Royal Bank of Scotland’s AGM. The group, which supports environmental, human rights and works to put an end to poverty marked the occasion in protest at RBS’s continued investment in dirty fossil fuels.
Ben Miller, a protesting student from Edinburgh University gave his reasons for joining in the protest:
“We’re here today because RBS is the most damaging bank for the environment in the UK and Europe, and the double whammy is that they are now using taxpayers’ money to invest in coal and other climate damaging industries.”
The protesters dressed as cleaners for the occasion, and acted out sweeping coal under a piece of carpet as a representation of the actions of the financial giant, who over the past 2 years has invested as much as $16 billion in loans to companies linked to the coal industry internationally.
People and Planet is inviting the bank’s customers to join the campaign to pressure RBS-Natwest to turn over a new leaf and announce plans to invest in renewable energy and a low-carbon future rather than continuing to contribute to a potential climate catastrophe, by boycotting them if they don’t change their ways.
Considering other banks such as the Co-opertative, Smile and Triodos manage to conduct profitable business without investing in fossil fuels it can be difficult to understand why RBS can’t do so too. Additionally, these other ethical banks promise not to invest in rainforest deforestation, arms trades and other concerns that result in human and animal mistreatment. So if your threat isn’t answered and you want an ethical bank to switch to, there are some alternatives.