RBS, Fossil Fuels, Campaigns & Greenwash
Interesting story in the news this morning that Royal Bank of Scotland has pulled out of sponsoring Climate Week after pressure from NGOs angry at the bank’s $13bn investments in fossil fuel industries.
To me, this is an interesting case that throws up all sorts of questions – the trickiest of which is “can no-one with a financial stake in fossil fuels campaign against climate change?” I’ve got half a tank of diesel in the car outside, yet I’m heading off (by fossil fuelled public transport) in 90 minutes to give a lecture on climate change to engineering students. Am I a hypocrite?
A hard line on this would surely rule out most corporate sponsors, which then begs the question – who will sponsor ‘Climate Week’. Actually, I’m getting a bit cynical about all these special ‘weeks’ and ‘days’, anyway, so I’m not so bothered.
The lesson here for businesses in general is more clean cut. You won’t get much credit for ‘doing good’ if you are still ‘doing bad’. Stopping doing ‘bad’ things is the litmus test between a true green business and the rest. And that takes real leadership.