Wells Fargo will provide $200 billion in financing to sustainable businesses and projects by 2030, with more than 50% focused on clean technology and renewable energy transactions that directly support the transition to a low-carbon economy. The company also detailed its commitment to transparency in its methodology for accounting, project inclusion and the carbon intensity of its credit portfolio, and will regularly report on the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the lending.
“Wells Fargo is committed to taking a leadership role in supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy and promoting environmental sustainability through our products and services, operations and culture, and philanthropy,” Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said during his keynote at the CECP CEO Force for Good Investor Forum in San Francisco. “With this commitment, we are combining a strong financial goal with enhanced transparency and disclosure practices that we believe will lead to sector-wide progress on responsible, sustainable finance.”
More than $100 billion in financing offered by Wells Fargo will support the transition to a low-carbon economy by funding clean technologies, clean energy (renewables), green bonds and alternative transportation. The remainder of the $200 billion will support companies and projects focused on sustainable agriculture, recycling, conservation and other environmentally beneficial activities.
In addition to the financial pledge, Wells Fargo has committed to transparency around its sustainable financing accounting and inclusion practices, annual impact reporting, and reporting on contributions toward the United Nations sustainable development goals and progress in implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure. Additionally, the company will engage with sector peers and other organizations interested in advancing a common approach to responsible, sustainable finance. Wells Fargo further pledged that it would revisit the commitment periodically to make any adjustments necessary based on progress made and/or developments in best practices for transparency and disclosure.
“Wells Fargo’s new commitments are significant and add to the growing momentum by the financial sector to commit hundreds of billions of dollars in clean energy investments and to improve transparency through greater disclosure of climate-related risks and opportunities,” said Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of Ceres. “More and more investors and companies understand the economic imperative and strategic long-term benefits of keeping global temperature rise to well-below 2-degrees Celsius.”
Wells Fargo’s 2012 sustainable finance goal of $30 billion by 2020 was met five years early (in 2015). In 2016, projects owned in whole or in part by Wells Fargo produced more than 9% of all wind and solar photovoltaic energy generated in the U.S., and in 2017, the company invested $12 billion in sustainable businesses.
In 2017, the company began meeting 100% of its global electricity needs with renewable energy and met its 2020 carbon-reduction goal of 45% from a 2008 baseline. It also logged progress against other sustainability goals focused on water and energy efficiency, waste reduction and LEED certification.
Wells Fargo’s Innovation Incubator is a $30 million philanthropic program with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory that speeds the path to market for promising clean technologies and entrepreneurs focused on energy efficiency and sustainability. A piece of the program is the opportunity for certain technologies to beta test within the Wells Fargo footprint on their way to the commercial marketplace.
“We take an ecosystem approach to supporting clean technology,” said Mary Wenzel, head of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs at Wells Fargo. “We work to advance new technologies by providing financing and other services, testing and adopting new technologies within our footprint and providing philanthropic support to leading accelerators, incubators and universities focused on clean technology development and entrepreneurship.”
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