Wells Fargo has provided $23 billion to sustainable businesses and projects since it made a commitment in 2018 to provide $200 billion through 2030 to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. The company announced this progress in its 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report, “Purpose in action.” “Every day, we challenge ourselves to more deeply embed the management of environmental, social, and governance issues across our business and make progress on our corporate responsibility goals,” said Mary Wenzel, head of Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility for Wells Fargo. “With growing concerns around climate change and pressing societal challenges, we are looking at where we can use our scale and expertise to have a positive impact through our business, products, and philanthropy.”
During the first year of the sustainable finance commitment, Wells Fargo has:
“I am proud of the progress we have made — both toward our corporate responsibility goals and in rebuilding trust with our customers, team members, community partners, and other stakeholders.”
— Mary Wenzel
- Provided $23 billion in financing to sustainable businesses and projects, with 63% going toward low-carbon solutions such as green buildings, renewable energy, and clean technologies. The remainder has supported organizations focused on sustainable agriculture, conservation, recycling, resource management, and other environmentally beneficial projects.
- Published its sustainable finance accounting methodology, in an effort to be transparent about the types of transactions the company includes and how it accounts for its progress toward the $200 billion goal.
- Engaged vendor and leading nongovernmental organization thought leaders to help measure the carbon intensity of the Wells Fargo lending portfolio.
- Provided financing for green buildings, renewable energy, and sustainable agriculture. By the end of 2018, Wells Fargo tax equity projects represented 9.5% of all wind and solar generation capacity in the U.S.
- Increased engagement with a variety of stakeholders through sponsorships and participation at high-level events focused on climate change, including the Global Climate Action Summit and Bloomberg’s Sustainable Business Summit.
Corporate responsibility goals
The Corporate Responsibility Report also provides a comprehensive update on the company’s achievements in three areas of strategic focus:
“Wells Fargo’s annual Corporate Social Responsibility report reflects our commitment to transparency on these matters and our desire to consistently report our progress toward these important goals with all interested audiences,” said Jim Rowe, head of Stakeholder Relations for Wells Fargo. “This year, we are proud to specifically report how far we have come toward meeting our 2020 goals.”
“Purpose in action” is published at the midpoint of Wells Fargo’s timeline for achieving its 2020 corporate responsibility goals, established in 2016. A number of those goals — including down payment assistance to 4,000 low-income homebuyers and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% (from 2008 baseline) — already have been exceeded.
Wells Fargo team members donated more than 2 million hours of volunteer time in 2018, and the company was named the No. 1 company in workplace giving by United Way Worldwide for the 10th consecutive year.
In 2018, Wells Fargo donated more than $444 million to nearly 11,000 nonprofits in support of social, economic, and environmental challenges in underserved communities, among other local needs. Wells Fargo also made progress in reducing its environmental footprint in 2018. With efforts like meeting 100% of global electricity needs with renewable energy and deploying building analytics in 780 bank branches to increase energy efficiency, Wells Fargo has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to 873 trips around the Earth. And by donating gently used office furniture to nonprofits, Wells Fargo kept 1,500 tons of waste out of landfills in 2018.
“I am proud of the progress we have made — both toward our corporate responsibility goals and in rebuilding trust with our customers, team members, community partners, and other stakeholders,” Wenzel said. “At the same time, we acknowledge we have more work to do. I join the entire Wells Fargo team in sharing my commitment to putting purpose in action as we work to address these important issues in our community and society.”