One of Britain’s biggest private banks, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), has been criticised by UK research group, Platform for positioning itself as ‘the oil and gas bank’ and for providing the finance that is driving worldwide oil and gas projects. These projects will be at the expense of the communities and climate change.

According to Platform: “RBS trumpet corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts such as calculating their carbon emissions and adopting the self regulatory Equator Principles. Yet RBS’s emissions calculations are based on power used by cash tills and computer screens, obscuring the far more significant impact of their investments. Meanwhile, project finance practice serves as a reminder of the limits of self-regulation. RBS’s bid for a slice of Shell’s Sakhalin II project, despite clear breaches of both the Equator Principles and Shell’s own policies, will further the impression that RBS’s drive to profit from oil and gas will override concern for human rights and the environment”.

Despite its much trumpeted CSR initiative:  “RBS is closely involved in the Satellite Oil Field Project in offshore Nigeria, the OCP pipeline in Ecuador and BP’s BTC pipeline. Its interests in gas projects span from Egypt to the Gulf of Mexico while loans have been made to Angola’s Sonangol and SOCAR in Azerbaijan. The largest project finance deal of 2004/5 was structured by RBS: Exxon’s $9.3bn Qatargas II. RBS structured financing of the entire supply chain: field development, gas production, onshore facilities, transport ships and the terminal in South Wales to where the gas is being shipped”.

Platform conclude: “As RBS becomes more successful at driving oil and gas production, so its role in feeding climate change and fossil fuel addiction will grow”.

If you bank with the RBS – you can always vote with your wallet and move banks. Yes, it’s that simple.