Wells Fargo latest big bank to go zero

Wells Fargo has become the latest bank to announce a transition to a low-carbon economy, setting a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The bank completes "big six" group of US investment banks with net-zero climate goals, and will measure and disclose financed emissions for select carbon-intensive portfolios; set interim emission reduction targets; deploy more capital to finance climate innovation; and work with its clients on their own emissions reductions efforts.

The company will also launch an Institute for Sustainable Finance to manage the deployment of $500 billion of financing to sustainable businesses and projects by 2030, as well as support science-based research on low-carbon solutions and advocate for policies that enable client transitions.

“Climate change is one of the most urgent environmental and social issues of our time, and Wells Fargo is committed to aligning our activities to support the goals of the Paris Agreement and to helping transition to a net-zero carbon economy,” said Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf. “The risks of not taking action are too great to ignore, and collective action is needed to avoid the significant impact on our most vulnerable communities. We have a responsibility to help find solutions and are committed to deploying our resources and working closely with our clients in this transition.”

Growing pressure from investors, including filing shareholder resolutions by climate group As You Sow last year have helped push this last US big bank to make the announcement, with Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, commenting: “Wells Fargo’s announcement establishes a clear bar for the banking sector — now that six of the top US banks have made this commitment, we expect that others will join in demonstrating that their own financing is in line with the Paris Agreement’s global net-zero climate goal. Frameworks like the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials can help create global consistency in measuring and reporting progress. We look forward to seeing Wells Fargo take the next steps on this critical pathway.”

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