“This transition to a low-carbon economy is real and we want to be biased in it, financing and helping our clients rather than ignoring it,” said Jon Weiss, CEO of firm and investment banking at Wells Fargo. With CNN business.
Severe wildfires and floods have a negative impact on businesses.
Wells Fargo is seeing the climate crisis as part of a risk management issue.
“Scientists don’t need to notice that our customers are affected by climate change,” Weiss said. Represents a risk to people and companies that stand in the way.
And Weiss pointed out that “Often the severity of these weather events falls on the vulnerable parts of society that cannot go out of their way or do not have the same kind of stable housing.”
But Wells Fargo and other big banks have also come under heavy pressure from investors seeking to support companies that are seen as part of the solution, not the problem.
“What is important to our investors is important to us, eventually they own our company,” Weiss said, “and they speak very loudly.”
As part of the climate target, Wells Fargo has promised to pump $ 500 billion in wind, solar and other sustainable financing projects by 2030, marking 157 Wells Fargo accelerations. Billion dollars said it has invested in sustainable businesses and projects since 2012.
“The financial system is aware of climate risks and is working to tackle it,” said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, a nonprofit that promotes environmental and social responsibility. “This is an important signal for the entire economy”
‘We shared our mistakes’
“There’s no question that we’ve shared our mistakes – and perhaps more of our past mistakes,” Weiss said. The change is that we try to lead from the front instead of staying quiet from the shadows. “
Wells Fargo has been a former supporter of the energy industry, a role that has made banks a lightning rod for sometimes criticism.
Why Wells Fargo changed the song
Despite Monday’s announcement, Wells Fargo did not say goodbye to the fossil fuel industry. At least not yet
Weiss said Wells Fargo plans to help customers transition to a more sustainable future and reduce emissions.
“It’s a very customer-driven strategy, not an announcement against our customers,” he said.
Weiss explained that Wells Fargo could also finance shale or similar projects. But, he said, support must be measured within the context of trying to move the bank’s lending portfolio to carbon neutrality.
Likewise, Wells Fargo has yet to say how it will achieve this long-term goal. The bank said it plans to set and disclose interim goals for carbon-intensive businesses, including oil, gas and the energy sector by the end of 2022.
Likewise, Wells Fargo said it would set and disclose goals for additional sectors within it. “At the right time” after disclosing the financial emissions for those sectors.
Wells Fargo decided to make an announcement now, Weiss said, due to the urgent nature of the crisis.
“We are forced with a sense of responsibility,” Weiss said. “If we don’t start now, we will later try to help our clients and society solve this problem.”