Photo courtesy Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo announced the setting of some lofty 2020 “green” goals last week, testament to financial industry players’ growing commitments to financing renewable energy, clean technology and environmental initiatives. The San Francisco banking and financial services group April 23 announced that, by 2020, it intends to make $30 billion in “green economy” loans and investments, $100 million in community grants for grassroots environmental initiatives and an increasing of the group’s own energy efficiency by 40%.
“Our commitment to the environment reflects our belief that Wells Fargo’s responsibility as a corporation goes beyond its mission of helping customers succeed financially. We also have a major role to play in promoting the long-term economic prosperity and quality of life of the communities we serve,” said Chairman, President and CEO John Stumpf. “By bringing our talents and resources to these efforts, we seek to work jointly with businesses and communities in protecting and preserving this planet and its precious resources for future generations.”
The results of its own consumer research played a big role in management formulating its green economy lending and investment and community-focused environmental initiatives. “Our research shows more than 80 percent of our consumers think environmental issues are important,” said Mary Wenzel, Wells Fargo’s director of Environmental Affairs.
“We share their values and concerns and are acting on them through a broad-based, financially powerful approach to the environmental opportunities and needs we see on the horizon. We hope to demonstrate that progress for Wells Fargo and for the communities we serve does not have to come at the expense of the planet we share.”
Wells Fargo’s “comprehensive commitment to investing in environmental solutions for stronger communities” is focused on these areas:
- Accelerating the transition to a “greener” economy: $30 billion in loans and investments to promote a “greener economy,” including wind and solar energy, clean technologies, energy efficient buildings, environmental innovation, and environmentally responsible public financing
- An approach to environmental and social risk management focused on responsible ways of doing business together with our business customers
- Engage its 70 million customers through marketing and communications aimed at raising awareness about products and services that can help customers succeed financially as well as protect the environment – e.g. promotions of paperless banking services and financing for energy efficient home improvements
- Encouraging stronger and more sustainable communities: $100 million in community grants and increased volunteerism for grassroots environmental initiatives, such as programs that bring people together to plant and care for city trees and open spaces. Grants also support “innovation” led by nonprofits and universities aimed at promoting clean technology and breaking down barriers to a “greener” economy
- Target $1 billion for low- to moderate-income communities to prove the added value of community investments with environmental benefits
- Reducing the environmental impact of Wells Fargo’s operations: Create a culture of sustainability by increasing team member environmental stewardship in our communities, at work and in our daily lives
- Achieve measurable environmental performance goals by 2020: 40% increase in energy efficiency, 65% waste diversion rate, 35% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions below 2008 levels, 35% of buildings will achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification,
- Engage suppliers to enhance its environmental performance through increased accountability and transparency in its supply chain
More information is available on the Wells Fargo Environmental Forum.