Could RBS be turned into a green investment bank?

Whilst we are the biggest share holders of RBS and basically own it outright, the bank has failed to substantially change the way it is orientated in terms of how it serves the public (social, economic and environmental sustainability) interest. Has it really shown any real gratitude for the public bailing it out from destruction? Not really.

Lets ask another important question. Are the government sticking to their supposed green ‘credentials’? Both parties promised this and that before they joined, so no compromise excuse is really that plausible. Instead, the government has embarked on damaging environmental decisions, including the apparent abandonment of a green investment bank.

It is a testament to how illogical this government’s economic policies are. They are missing the chance to rebalance the economy towards more substantial ends, and instead are ideologically pursuing an agenda to shrink the state whilst attempting to allow for private sector expansion (I say expansion lightly).

However, these problems could be improved if the government followed the recommendations of a recent interesting report, which has shown that RBS could be turned into a green investment bank. Ruth Sunderland, who was involved in writing the report, points out some good reasons for why RBS has the needed requirements:

“But this is unlikely if the Green Investment Bank is seen as a fringe operator rather than a serious institution. The idea of bringing together banking reform and the green growth agenda through RBS has a number of attractions, including harnessing its expertise in financing renewables; it has been particularly active in the offshore wind sector. Another advantage is the bank’s strong position in the small- and medium-sized firms market, likely to be the source of much innovation in the low-carbon sector. RBS would also be in a good position to act as a distributor and promoter of green Isas, for customers who want their savings to support environmentally friendly projects.”

As well as ushering in radical change to a financial institution that could inspire other such changes, it would create 50,000 jobs and encourage ecological and sustainable growth. Will the government act on this or will they just brush it away and file it under the ‘aspiration’ folder (where the majority of the LibDem policies are)?

Personally, I think it is unlikely the government will act upon it, their actions thus far show little intent on creating any radical rift within the banking sector (the levy is cancelled out by the corporation tax reductions, and actually results in the banks making profits). Their environmental credentials are at an all time low, and they show as little intent as Labour did with making the basically nationalised (and non-nationalised) banks change their ways.

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7 thoughts on “Could RBS be turned into a green investment bank?

  1. Jane

    As far as I know work is being done on the establishment of a green investment bank. I have seen nothing to suggest otherwise. Whether it is the bank you want or not might be another question but things will be clearer in the autumn.

    Simon

  2. I sent you that link over twitter, the green investment funding is being used on other projects – that’s why the use of the RBS for a green investment bank would be a good idea.

    Google it, there was loads on it last week.

  3. Jane

    I didn’t seem to have got the link.

    But I saw those reports. The money from the assets sales that the previous government was planning was going to go into the green investment bank as seed capital. The government has decided not to fund it in that way but that doesn’t mean the bank isn’t happening.

    I was at an event last week where Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, discussed the bank.

    Simon

  4. Yes, but the reports were that the government have rather abandoned the idea all together. Until the government sets out its ‘alternative’ – if it has one – then I stick by the view that it has u turned on its commitment.

    I also said apparently in the blog post, not a definite yes or no.

    Also, remember that just because Vince Cable says he wants something doesn’t mean its government policy, we only have to look at the government’s reaction to his proposed graduate tax to see that.

  5. That’s true about Vince but I haven’t heard anything that says the government has abandoned it and when I say that I mean from the government directly as opposed to what was written in the press.

  6. Yeah, but equally there has been nothing of substance that indicates they are taking it that seriously. There has been everything from a Big Society Bank to an Academies Bill being past – surely this should be a policy that is on the top of the agenda?

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