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Response from Royal Bank of Scotland to disinvestment campaign

RBS claimed to be aware of the 'complex ethical issues' surrounding the use of DU, but were content to follow the UK Ministry of Defence's position that there is nothing wrong with its use.
13 February 2008 - ICBUW

"I write in response to your letter send in December regarding the business activities of a number of RBS clients.

We are aware of the current political and medical debates surrounding the manufacture and use of depleted uranium (DU). When considering complex ethical matters such as this, we take guidance from the appropriate legal and regulatory bodies, and the UK Government has issued the following statement relating to the issues you have raised:

"Many independent reports have been produced and researchers continue to consider the battlefield effects of using DU munitions. These reports include work by the Royal Society, the European Commission, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). None of these organisations has found a connection between DU exposure and illness, and none has found widespread DU contamination sufficient to impact the health of the general population or deployed personnel."

We will continue to monitor this issue and ensure that our lending decisions are taken in strict accordance with the relevant legal and operational frameworks and guidance.

As a result of legal and contractual obligations the bank can not comment on individual clients or projects. However we can assure you that we take account of social and environmental issues when making lending decisions and in our broader sphere of influence.

Thank you for letting us know your views on this matter. More information on our approach to responsible lending is available at

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Cave
Head of Corporate Responsibility