RBS invites us to meet days before AGM protests – PR spin or genuine concern?

RBS invites us to meet days before AGM protests – PR spin or genuine concern?

Date: 26 April 2010

Kate Blagojevic, press officer

The PR tactic of organising a meeting with your opponents days before a protest or critical report is launched is as old as the hills. But it can still be disarming.

WDM has been working with PLATFORM and People & Planet for a year on the campaign to get RBS to stop investing our money in dirty and unethical companies and projects. During that time, we have repeatedly asked for meetings with high level reps from RBS to explain why they are the target of our campaign so that they will see that we are talking sense. They have always ignored us or offered us a meeting with their head of corporate sustainability, Andrew Cave.

With no disrespect to Andrew, a meeting with the head of corporate sustainability of the bank that’s got a track record of investing in the most unsustainable fossil fuel projects in the world is as useful as a chocolate teapot. We need to get in higher up, with someone who we can talk about the real issues with, rather than getting the corporate, green-washed brush off.

On Friday with just days to go before nation-wide protests, including outside the conference centre in Edinburgh, RBS has offered us a meeting with Andrew and the Chair of RBS, Sir Philip Hampton. We’re happy to have this opportunity to bend their ears and we’re going to meet Sir Philip and Andrew the day after the AGM, along with Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, an indigenous activist from Canada so that she can explain in person the devastating affects that tar sands extraction is having on her community’s health and human rights.

But the question remains – are they inviting us to a meeting because they want to know what we have to say and see the errors of their ways that leads to the devastation of Eriel’s community and communities across the world? Or is it so they can get articles like this, ‘RBS ready to meet protesters.’? Let us know what you think, and what we should be saying to RBS when we finally meet them.