Just as Occupy gears up to apply more pressure on Wells Fargo - starting at its shareholder meeting in San Francisco on April 24 - the company announced new environmental commitments.
By 2020, Wells Fargo commits to $30 billion in loans and investments in support of a "greener" economy, $100 million in community grants for grassroots environmental initiatives, and a 40% increase in the company's energy efficiency.
In January, the bank signed on to finance Enfinity America with a $100 million for solar PV plants across the US.
Since 2006, Wells Fargo has invested $2.7 billion in equity financing for over 300 renewable energy projects in 27 states. It was the largest purchaser of renewable energy certficates in 2006 and also has the strongest policy against financing mountaintop removal coal mining after being taken to task for financing the practice (among other environmentally destructive practices) in 2006.
Accelerating the transition to a greener economy
- $30 billion in loans and investments, including wind and solar energy, clean technologies, energy efficient buildings, environmental innovation, and environmentally responsible public financing
- Raising awareness in its 70 million customer base of services like paperless banking services and financing for energy efficient home improvements
Encouraging stronger and more sustainable communities
- $100 million in community grants and volunteerism for grassroots environmental initiatives, ie, tree planting and open space. Grants also support "innovation" led by nonprofits and universities aimed at promoting clean technology and breaking down barriers to a "greener" economy
- $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 operations
- Create a culture of sustainability by increasing employees' environmental stewardship in communities, at work and in their daily lives
- 40% increase in energy efficiency
- 65% waste diversion rate
- 35% reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions below 2008 levels
- 35% of buildings achieve LEED certification
- Engage suppliers to enhance their environmental performance through increased accountability and transparency in supply chain
"Our research shows more than 80 percent of our customers think environmental issues are important," says Mary Wenzel, 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."
Meanwhile, Causa Justa (Just Cause), which is working with Occupy, says "In the last year before the subprime bubble burst, Wells Fargo issued $74.2 billion worth of subprime loans, contributing to the current foreclosure crisis. In spite of its role in helping to crash the economy, Wells Fargo was rewarded with a $43 billion bank bailout from the federal government. To thank the taxpayers that funded this, the company commenced slashing 6,000 jobs over the following 4 years while foreclosing on $17.5 billion worth of homeloans that it owns.
The groups are campaigning for Wells Fargo to institute a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, divest from private prisons and immigrant detention, and end predatory lending.
CEO John Stumpf earned a salary of $17.9 million in 2011, including a raise of $300,000, while receiving a tax cut of over $1 million, according to The Washington Post,.
Wells Fargo Environmental Forum: