By Hannah Levitt Bloomberg News
Wells Fargo & Co. joined rivals in pledging to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades. The fourth largest U.S. lender said Monday it aims to reach that goal, which includes its financed emissions, by 2050. It will also deploy $500 billion in financing to sustainable businesses and projects by 2030.
“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,” Chief Executive Officer Charlie Scharf said in a statement. “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.”
Wells Fargo was the seventhlargest financier of fossil fuel companies last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The firm joins Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley in promising to achieve netzero emissions in their lending and underwriting activities. JPMorgan Chase & Co., which was the biggest financier of fossil fuels last year, said in October that it’s planning to set emissions targets for its financing portfolio.
Still, environmental advocates have argued that many of the finance industry’s net-zero targets are set too far ahead and don’t mention any plans to stop financing fossil fuels.
Wells Fargo said Monday that it will disclose how it will measure some financed emissions within a year, and will share financed emissions for certain carbonintensive portfolios, including oil and gas, by the end of next year. The company will also set interim targets for those portfolios by that time.
The firm will also set up an Institute for Sustainable Finance that will work to “support clients in their climate transitions” and deploy the $500 billion.