THE Royal Bank of Scotland should be forced to help save the world from global warming by backing “ethical” projects according to a top business academic.
The idea would see RBS ploughing cash into eco-friendly energy firms and promoting renewable power.
The banking giant – which is 73 per-cent owned by the Government – should be pressurised into the move according to the director of the Centre for Business and Climate Change at the Edinburgh Business School.
Dr Craig Mackenzie was speaking out in a report backed by Friends of the Earth.
He believes UK Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI) – the body set up to manage partly-Government owned banks – must act now to represent the wider interests of taxpayers who funded the bail out of RBS.
He said: “UKFI must put pressure on RBS to invest in companies and projects that promote alternative energy solutions.
“The roots of the financial crisis lie partly in a failure of owners and institutional shareholders to play a sufficiently engaged part in the governance of banks.
“It would be ironic if the solution to the current crisis was to create a governance vacuum that contributes to the next one.”
Banking expert Nick Silver, who wrote the new report entitled “Royal Bank of Sustainability,” agrees that UKFI should push RBS bosses into ethical spending.
He said: “There is a clear case for UKFI to engage actively with the board and management of RBS to ensure effective consideration and analysis of environmental, social and corporate governance issues.”
In response, UKFI insisted they will “take an interest” in Dr Mackenzie’s suggestions for RBS.
They said: “Corporate social responsibility can be an important part of shareholder value and we therefore take an interest in it, alongside other issues.”