The chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Sir Philip Hampton, is to meet with environment and human rights campaigners this week in an attempt to defuse escalating protests about the bank’s “dirty” investments.
The bank’s annual general meeting (AGM) in Edinburgh on Wednesday has become the target for a wide range of protest groups. They accuse RBS of putting up to £10 billion of public money into fossil fuel and mining projects in Canada, India and elsewhere which wreck the environment and violate human rights.
RBS was bailed out for £45.5 billion by the UK government during the banking crisis and is now 84% owned by British taxpayers. It has argued in the past that it cannot be held responsible for all the actions of the companies in which it invests.
But by agreeing to meet with campaign groups in Edinburgh after the AGM, Hampton may be signalling a new approach. “We are keen to listen to their perspective,” said an RBS spokeswoman.
“We recognise that a broad range of stakeholders have a very legitimate interest in the way that we conduct our business. Although we will not always agree with the many different opinions expressed, we welcome feedback and constructive engagement.”