NatWest is pointing to their green credentials in the run up to COP, but it’s writing loopholes into its policies allowing it to continue funding fossil fuels. NatWest is asking the fossil fuel companies it’s funding to “offset” their emissions, rather than actually cutting them back. Offsetting is full of flaws and it’s a great way to let oil and gas companies continue to extract and pollute as much as they want to – there’s even an open letter signed by organisations around the world explaining how offsets don’t stop climate change. It just avoids the action that we need right now, and it lets fossil fuel companies sweep any meaningful change under the rug for the next 10 years, all the while continuing to increase emissions. In short, it’s letting them off the hook.

NatWest has already said that it is expecting all the fossil fuel companies it finances to come up with a ‘credible transition plan’ to cut emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. That’s good. But it’s staying completely silent on what the criteria for a ‘credible transition plan’ really is. Unless it results in scaling back and ending fossil fuel investment, it’s simply not enough.

Cathel de Lima Hutchison of fossil-free campaign group Glasgow Calls Out Polluters said:

“NatWest Group wants you to think they are a climate friendly bank. What with them being the banking sponsor to COP26 and launching a carbon offset marketplace on their way to becoming ‘Net Zero Heroes’.

“Nothing could be more absurd. NatWest provides loans and underwriting to companies expanding their oil and gas drilling operations in the Arctic, and their carbon offset platform enables big polluters to keep polluting while passing the buck! We call on the UK government to drop NatWest as banking sponsor to COP26, and NatWest to divest from fossil fuels and stop promoting false solutions like carbon markets.”

There’s further Brandalism work targeting Standard Chartered, one of the biggest fossil fuel financiers in the UK. Their CEO Bill Winters is also pushing offsetting as a ‘solution’, while his company continues piling billions into fossil fuels just this year. We’re not allowing them to get away with their greenwashing ahead of COP: