Just over a year since Wells Fargo joined RE100, the bank has reached its 100% renewable electricity goal and is now working to transition to new sources of renewable electricity by 2020. Here, Curt Radkin, Senior Vice President, blogs on progress and calls on others to follow its lead.
Commitment phase I: mission accomplished
Back in 2015, when we were developing our 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) priorities, we mapped out a handful of goals and commitments including the commitment to purchase renewable energy to power 100% of our global operations by 2017 through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), with a transition to long-term agreements that fund new sources of “greener” power by 2020.
We knew it was an ambitious goal, and last year Wells Fargo joined RE100 in order to gain access to companies that are making the most progress in meeting similar goals and thought leaders who are driving the movement toward greater private-sector action on climate change.
We are proud to announce that we have purchased enough RECs to ensure that 100% of our electricity needs will be met with renewable energy for 2017 (well over two million MWh of 2017 vintage RECs).
Now, the tough work begins.
Developing a strategy for phase II:
While we worked to accomplish Phase I of our commitment, we were also strategizing around how we’d deliver on our ultimate goal - to directly fund new renewable electricity projects. We are exploring a variety of options including expanding our onsite solar installations, and are even working to develop our first net-zero branch.
We already have more than a dozen properties generating a portion of their own power with solar photovoltaics (PV), and we are exploring potentially expanding that footprint. In addition to helping us meet our renewables goal, they would provide a physical representation of our commitment for team members and customers.
We also have significant expertise within the company to deploy in helping meet our commitment. Our Environmental Financing organization is made up of experts in tax-equity financing and they have been involved in some of the largest renewables deals in the U.S. As a result of their great work, in 2016, more than 8% of all wind and solar-voltaic energy generated in the U.S. came from facilities owned wholly or in part by Wells Fargo.
Walking the talk: living our commitment to sustainability
Maximizing our operational efficiency is one way we “walk the talk” when it comes to sustainability. It helps us to manage long-term expenses, reduce the environmental impact of our energy consumption, and enhance our team member experience. We are proud of our achievements to date.
Our goal to power 100% of our electricity demand with renewable energy is only one of the many ambitious 2020 environmental goals we are working toward, and we are well on our way to achieving all of them. As of halfway through this fiscal year, we have achieved:
- 30% waste reduction from 2010 baseline
- 56% water use reduction from 2008 baseline
- 42% greenhouse gas reduction from 2008 baseline
- 34% energy use reduction from 2008 baseline
- 24% of portfolio LEED certified (more than 24 million sq. ft.)
We are always learning and continuously improving in the area of operational efficiency. Since 2012, for example, smart irrigation technologies across our footprint helped to save well over one billion gallons of water, and in 2016, the more than 27,000 light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures we installed drove a two-million-watt reduction in energy need.
The need to address climate change is urgent, and Wells Fargo is firmly committed to leveraging opportunities throughout our value chain to accelerate the transition to a healthier economy and reduce the impacts of climate change on our customers and communities. We look forward to continuing our work with RE100 and its member companies, and we invite institutions working on similar sustainability issues – particularly within the financial services sector – to collaborate with us and join us in our commitment, or simply learn from our experience and progress.