Letter to The Herald, 30 April 2022

Text of letter by DBOTBS member Dr Michael Orgel published in The Herald on 30 April 2022:

It was interesting to learn of the potential massive increase in bonuses for directors of the NatWest group bank approved at their AGM on 28 April 2022.

However an issue of greater importance to people in Scotland and the rest of the world has not been addressed. Scotland’s largest bank, NatWest Group, recommends looking into electric cars, but is still financing the companies that build nuclear weapons. Customers of RBS and other NatWest subsidiaries are asking their local branches for help to change this outdated practice and get NatWest to be a bank that doesn’t contribute to global catastrophic risk – like climate change and nuclear weapons.  

The problem is that NatWest has a controversial weapons policy which only partially restricts investment in companies doing nuclear weapons work, while it unconditionally prohibits any investments in companies producing landmines or cluster munitions. Why would the worst weapon ever created get treated differently? 

Part of the reason is that the UK still clings to an outdated, unproved and dangerous theory of nuclear deterrence. This extremely expensive theory has allowed Putin to invade Ukraine and commit war crimes with impunity. Now the risk of nuclear war is the highest it’s been since the cold war and our very existence is under threat.

NatWest needs to stop funding companies profiting from this global catastrophe waiting to happen. They can do this by taking three decisive steps. First, the bank should announce its decision to eliminate all financial support to companies involved in nuclear weapons work. Second, existing loans should be terminated or, if necessary, allowed to run their course, and third, NatWest should publish an updated policy that treats nuclear weapons as what they are – inhumane and prohibited under international law.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Orgel
Don’t Bank on the Bomb Scotland

The letter as it appeared on page 25 of The Herald