By Dieter Holger

 

Wells Fargo & Co. pledged half a trillion dollars over the next decade as part of a new goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, joining other big banks that have set out similar actions.

The San Francisco-based bank, one of the five largest in the U.S. by assets, said Monday that its new pledge takes aim at its funding of carbon-intensive industries. To aid in that goal, it would deploy some $500 billion by 2030 toward sustainable financing that would help green the economy.

Wells Fargo's move expands its focus from its contribution to climate change from its direct operations, like its offices, business travel and energy use, to its financing, as banks face pressure from investors and activists to wield their lending power to fight climate change.

In 2019, the bank reached carbon neutrality from its direct operations and energy purchases, known as Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Its new pledge tackles the more elusive Scope 3 emissions, which are contained in products. In Wells Fargo's case, that would be its lending and investments.

More and more big lenders across the world have pledged to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and mobilize financing to help meet the Paris Agreement on climate change. Earlier this year, Bank of America Corp. and Spain's Banco Santander SA said they would reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Wells Fargo said it would first disclose its financed emissions of select carbon-intensive portfolios, including oil-and-gas and power companies, and set interim reduction targets for those portfolios no later than the end of 2022. Eventually, it will set targets and disclose emissions for all of its financing.

"We have a responsibility to help find solutions and are committed to deploying our resources and working closely with our clients in this transition," Wells Fargo Chief Executive Charlie Scharf said.

 

Write to Dieter Holger at dieter.holger@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 08, 2021 14:29 ET (19:29 GMT)

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