Navegó a una página que no está disponible en español en este momento. Seleccione el enlace si desea ver otro contenido en español.

Página principal

Responsible Energy Financing

Frequently asked questions

In its 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility commitment, Wells Fargo announced its goal to accelerate the transition to a lower-carbon economy. How does continuing to finance fossil fuel companies and projects align with this pledge?

Wells Fargo is committed to supporting responsible development of many forms of energy, which extends to both fossil fuels and renewables.  While conventional energy remains an important element of U.S. economic development today, we are simultaneously focused on helping our customers and the economy explore, develop and invest in cleaner technologies.  We have invested nearly $83 billion in environmentally sustainable businesses and projects since 2012 (more than $12 billion in 2017), and in 2017, renewable energy projects owned in whole or in part by Wells Fargo produced eight percent of all solar photovoltaic and wind energy generated in the U.S.

In April 2018, Wells Fargo announced a $200 billion sustainable finance commitment, of which more than half is earmarked for companies and projects that directly support the transition to a low-carbon economy, including renewable energy, clean technology, green bond and green building transactions. The remainder will support companies and projects focused on sustainable agriculture, recycling, waste conservation and other environmentally beneficial activities. In addition to the financial pledge, our commitment includes sector-leading transparency, robust impact reporting, and engagement with our peers and other organizations interested in advancing a common approach to responsible, sustainable finance.

Our approach to assessing and managing risks in sectors that have elevated environmental and community impacts, including the energy industry, is articulated in our Environmental and Social Risk Management (ESRM) Framework and ESRM Report (PDF), which also include important information on our expectations of our customers in terms of their engagement with stakeholders.

Our commitment to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy is also alive in the way we operate our company and in our philanthropic investments. In our operations, we have reduced our own greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent since 2008 and achieved our goal of powering 100 percent of our global operations with renewable energy. And in 2017, we donated $22.5 million to support nonprofits, universities, and community organizations focused on environmental education, the development and commercialization of clean technologies, and strengthening community resiliency.

What is Wells Fargo’s role in energy financing?

Like most large banks, Wells Fargo lends funds and/or provides financial products to a variety of customers across a multitude of industries - including energy. For many years, Wells Fargo has been one of the largest lenders to the energy industry, serving customers whose businesses span:

  • exploration and development, transportation and refining of oil and natural gas;
  • power and utilities;
  • renewable energy such as wind, solar and hydropower generation; and
  • clean technologies and other environmentally beneficial businesses.

Since 2012, we have invested nearly $83 billion in clean technology and other environmentally sustainable businesses, and in 2017, eight percent of all solar photovoltaic and wind energy generated in the U.S. came from facilities owned in whole or in part by Wells Fargo.

How does Wells Fargo assess the environmental, social and human rights issues associated with energy exploration and production projects?

Understanding and managing risk is at the core of our company. As such, we seek to do business only with customers who demonstrate responsible management of their environmental and social risks. Our Environmental and Social Risk Management Framework and policies supplement our traditional due diligence practices to help us more deeply understand how our customers in certain sectors are managing these risks.

Additionally, Wells Fargo is an Equator Principles (EP) Financial Institution. The EP, a framework of environmental and social risk practices, require that energy projects  such as pipelines adhere to all ten requirements set forth in the EP, including having an environmental category assigned and, in some instances, evaluation by an independent consultant to assess project compliance with the EP.

Does Wells Fargo conduct any additional due diligence for companies or projects in the Canadian tar sands?

For customers involved in tar sands (or oil sands), during our due diligence, our Environmental and Social Risk Management policies require us to seek specific information on their approach to stakeholder engagement, indigenous peoples engagement and consultation (where applicable), land reclamation, tailing ponds, waste management, and greenhouse-gas management prior to providing any financing. We also seek to understand  how our customers engage with critical stakeholders, and the depth of their their analysis regarding how their activities might impact community health, safety, and security, cultural identity, and the sacred lands and heritage of affected Indigenous Peoples, where applicable. We continually enhance our ESRM due diligence requirements as our understanding of complex environmental and social issues evolves.

What was Wells Fargo’s role in the Dakota Access Pipeline?

Wells Fargo, through its Energy Group, funded $120 million as a participant in a $2.5 billion credit facility to finance a portion of the cost of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We were one of 17 banks with commitments to the $2.5 billion credit facility. Our loan represented less than five percent of the total financing for the project. The pipeline is now complete and the financing is fully funded. At this point in time, we have fulfilled our lending obligations with respect to that credit facility.

What is Wells Fargo’s commitment to Native American and Native Alaskan governments and communities in the context of energy infrastructure projects?

Wells Fargo has been serving Native American and Native Alaskan governments and communities for more than 50 years, and today we provide capital and financial services to more than 200 tribal entities in 27 states including tribal community development projects. We have dedicated team members focused on serving Native American customers and communities with products, services and financial literacy programs tailored to help individuals and tribal communities succeed financially.

We recognize that native tribal communities are some of the most marginalized in American society, and we acknowledge that in connection with the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe believes it wasn’t consulted properly at the outset of the process. As a result of issues that arose in that case, we have enhanced our due diligence in sectors subject to our Environmental and Social Risk Management policies to include more focused research into whether or not indigenous communities are impacted and efforts have been made to consult with the community and stakeholders.

We also developed an Indigenous Peoples Statement (IPS) in consultation with tribal leaders, indigenous stakeholders and their representatives, that will help guide our decision-making for projects where proceeds of Wells Fargo financing may potentially impact Native American, Native Alaskan or other indigenous communities.  Based on the IPS, for project-finance opportunities where we can identify that the use of proceeds may potentially impact Native American, Native Alaskan or other indigenous communities, we now require the customer to demonstrate alignment with the objectives and requirements of International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 7 on Indigenous People, including with respect to circumstances requiring Free, Prior and Informed Consent.

In November 2017, Wells Fargo announced a five-year $50 million commitment to American Indian/Alaska Native communities to address unique social, environmental and economic needs in Indian Country, with a significant portion dedicated to philanthropy. As part of that commitment, in 2017 Wells Fargo provided $5 million in seed funding to create the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund with nonprofit GRID Alternatives, which aims to catalyze the growth of solar energy and expand solar job opportunities on tribal lands.

What is Wells Fargo’s commitment to human rights with regard to domestic energy infrastructure projects?

As specified in our Human Rights Statement, Wells Fargo recognizes that governments have the duty to protect human rights, and our company has a responsibility to respect human rights. We recognize that respecting human rights is a continuing effort, and we must regularly assess our practices and approaches in light of changing policies and business practices. As an example, in 2016 we enhanced our due diligence in sectors subject to our Environmental and Social Risk Management policies to include more focused research into how indigenous communities may be impacted, and if they have been consulted and provided a meaningful engagement process.

Has Wells Fargo changed the way it approaches energy-infrastructure projects based on the Dakota Access Pipeline experience?

In late 2016, we enhanced our due diligence in sectors subject to our Environmental and Social Risk Management policies to include more focused research into how indigenous communities may be impacted, and if they have been properly consulted and provided a meaningful engagement process. We also developed an Indigenous Peoples Statement (IPS) in consultation with tribal leaders, indigenous stakeholders and their representatives that will help guide our decision-making for projects where proceeds of Wells Fargo financing may potentially impact Native American, Native Alaskan or other indigenous communities. Based on the IPS, for project-finance opportunities where we can identify that the use of proceeds may potentially impact Native American, Native Alaskan or other indigenous communities, we now require the customer to demonstrate alignment with the objectives and requirements of International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 7 on Indigenous People, including with respect to circumstances requiring Free, Prior and Informed Consent.