ROYAL Bank of Scotland (RBS) non-executive director Sir Sandy Crombie will come face-to-face with some of the lender’s “fiercest critics” under plans to extend the work of its “group sustainability committee”.
The former Standard Life chief executive – who joined the RBS board in 2009 – chairs the committee, which has already met with groups including the British Chambers of Commerce, development charity Oxfam, consumer group Which? and environmental body WWF.
Three meetings were held last year, with “consumer trust”, “business lending”, “culture and reputation” and “IT incidents” raised as the top issues. Six gatherings are planned for the year ahead.
One of the early results from the meetings was yesterday’s announcement that the bank will fit headphone sockets to 80 per cent of its NatWest and RBS cash machines by 2015 to help visually impaired people use the devices.
News of the “talking ATMs” scheme came as the group published its 2012 sustainability report, which covered areas ranging from business lending and online security through to environmental impact and staff relations. The bank said that it was the biggest lender to the renewable energy sector in the UK for the second year in a row.
Andrew Cave, RBS head of group sustainability, said: “2012 was a difficult year for the banking sector, but as we deal with the consequences of some bad practice in the past, it only serves to underline why we need to operate more sustainably in the future.”