Article published: Saturday, October 23rd 2010
The boycott has been called in response to the bank’s heavy investment in fossil fuel projects such as tar sands and new coal-fired power stations. Last year, RBS provided £117 million worth of loans and equity to Cairn Energy who have recently began drilling off the coast of Greenland. This operation has proved particularly controversial, since the area has not been exploited for oil before, only becoming possible as climate change has caused icebergs in the region to melt.
Amanda Walters, Campaigns Officer for UMSU said, “RBS is in breach of our ethical and sustainable code. We can no longer have a financial relationship with RBS because they are one of the biggest investors in fossil fuels which worsen people’s lives due to climate change.
“RBS is 84 per cent owned by the UK taxpayer. It’s outrageous that this public money is being used to destroy our future. Edinburgh University has recently switched to banking with RBS. We encourage them, and all other Students Unions to boycott the Royal Bank of Scotland,” she continued.
The boycott move follows a series of high profile campaign actions by Manchester activists both locally and nationally. In 2008, campaigners from People & Planet disrupted RBS recruitment stalls and hosted a mock ‘Greenwash Awards’ show outside the company’s regional headquarters in Manchester. In February 2009, activists occupied the roof of the RBS branch at UMSU. In August 2010, around 900 people targeted the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters during the Climate Camp protests in Edinburgh.
Toby Brett, from Manchester People & Planet said, “RBS’ investments led to people getting evicted from their homes both in the UK and globally. Students have come together to say that we shall not stand for such actions, which are clearly not in our interests, and so we’ve evicted them in return.”
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