Aligning our financing activities to net zero
Our 2050 net-zero GHG emissions goal
Climate change is one of the most urgent environmental and social issues of our time, and financial institutions like Wells Fargo can play a critical role in helping address it by supporting our clients during the transition to a low-carbon future. Wells Fargo has set a goal of net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, including client emissions attributable to our financing.
Our path to net-zero emissions
To align our actions with our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, we developed the Wells Fargo CO2eMissionSM. This methodology helps us set targets and compare the pace of transition within given portfolios, enabling us to adapt and evolve over time to reach our goal.
“Climate change is one of the most urgent environmental and social issues of our time, and we have a role to play working with our clients to transform their businesses to carbon-friendly models. This work is bigger than any one company, and we will work across companies and industries as we progress.”
Charlie ScharfWells Fargo CEO
“The leadership of this company believes very strongly that our world is facing a climate crisis, and we all have to be part of trying to address it. It's important to our stakeholders, our customers, our investors, our employees, and the communities we do business in.”
Bill DaleyWells Fargo Vice Chairman of Public Affairs
“We’re working closely with our clients to help them make the transition to produce lower emissions, to be innovative from a technological standpoint, to help them produce more tools to lower emissions, and then ultimately to help us all achieve net zero by 2050.”
Mike SantomassimoWells Fargo CFO
Our methodology framework and sectoral approach
We set separate targets by sector, prioritizing high-emitting sectors, rather than a global target for our financial portfolio. This approach recognizes that each sector of the real economy is unique and will have its own decarbonization pathway, and it aligns with guidance set forth by the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, a leading industry group that supports more than 100 bank members (including Wells Fargo) in aligning their financial portfolios with net-zero goals.
Select a sector and define activities and emissions in scope
Evaluate climate scenario and derive benchmark
Select metric for benchmark and target
Set sector-specific target
Measure portfolio alignment and track progress
2030 targets for Oil & Gas and Power sectors
Following the framework above, we set interim targets for the Oil & Gas and Power sectors as shown in the following table. We will report on progress against these targets in future disclosures.
|Oil & Gas
Scopes 1, 2, and 3, category 11 (use of sold products)
|Metric||Absolute emissions (Mt CO2e)Footnote 1||Emissions intensity (kg CO2e/MWh)Footnote 2|
|2019 Baseline||97.7 Mt CO2e||253 kg CO2e/MWh|
|2030 Target||72.3 Mt CO2e|
26% reduction from 2019 baseline
|102 kg CO2e/MWh
60% reduction from 2019 baseline
included in the targets
|Lending; debt and equity capital markets facilitation||Lending; debt and equity capital markets facilitation; renewable energy financing|
|Climate scenario relied upon to set target||Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) Orderly Net Zero 2050 scenario (June 2021)||NGFS Orderly Net Zero 2050 scenario (June 2021)|
|Metric||Emissions intensity (kg CO2e/MWh)Footnote 2|
|2019 Baseline||253 kg CO2e/MWh|
|2030 Target||102 kg CO2e/MWh
60% reduction from 2019 baseline
included in the targets
|Lending; debt and equity capital markets facilitation; renewable energy financing|
|Climate scenario relied upon to set target||NGFS Orderly Net Zero 2050 scenario (June 2021)|
Where we go from here
We are mindful that realizing these and future targets will require the commercialization of new decarbonizing technologies, shifts in business models and consumer behavior, supportive government policies, and public investment. We are committed to working across our stakeholder network to support this collective effort.
We plan to follow the Net-Zero Banking Alliance’s guidelines for future actions, including publishing high-level transition plans and applying CO2eMission to set targets for additional high-emitting sectors.
“Net zero” means the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere is no more than the amount removed. A “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050” goal is grounded in an effort to limit the Earth’s average temperature rise to no more than 1.5 ̊ C above pre-industrial levels. That is why the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal of 1.5 ̊ C is often expressed as “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”
Wells Fargo’s net-zero goal includes emissions associated with our operations, as well as client emissions attributable to our financing.
For our Oil & Gas portfolio target, we use an absolute emissions metric.
Our Oil & Gas portfolio target covers emissions (Scopes 1, 2, and 3, category 11 [use of sold products]) from companies engaged in exploration and production activities and emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) from companies engaged in petroleum refining. We believe these emission categories cover a substantial portion of the emissions in the Oil & Gas value chain.
We include Scope 3, category 11 (use of sold products) emissions for exploration and production activities so that our targets cover the emissions associated with the end use of the produced hydrocarbons. Because a significant portion of extracted oil and gas is ultimately refined into various petroleum products before its ultimate combustion, we exclude the Scope 3 end use emissions of our refiner clients to minimize double counting these same emissions.
For our Power portfolio target, we use an emissions intensity metric, which allows us to track a company’s decarbonization relative to electricity generation over time. Given the availability of zero-emission generation technologies, such as wind, solar, and nuclear, an intensity metric captures the pace of adoption of these solutions as the sector transitions. An intensity-based metric also provides for more consistent tracking and comparability between companies.
Our Power portfolio target covers emissions (Scope 1) from power-generating activities. This includes emissions resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal) to produce electricity, which we believe cover a substantial portion of the emissions in the Power sector value chain.
While the Company can set sector-specific targets to enable it to track the alignment of its financing activities to its net-zero goal, these targets, even if met, do not guarantee reductions of absolute greenhouse gas emissions in the real economy. The companies that emit the greenhouse gases ultimately control that outcome. Given the indirect nature of financial institution target setting and the challenges of drawing causality between bank financing and real economy emission outcomes, these targets should be interpreted as efforts in financial portfolio alignment and should not be construed as a commitment to achieve a particular outcome or a claim to realize a specific climate effect.
We aligned both our Oil & Gas and Power targets to sector-specific emissions pathways defined by the Network for Greening the Financial System’s Orderly Net Zero 2050 scenario (NGFS Net-Zero scenario).
For our Oil & Gas portfolio, we set an interim absolute emissions target of 72.3 million metric tons (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) for 2030 from a 2019 baseline of 97.7 Mt CO2e. This target tracks to the 26% rate of change observed in the NGFS Net-Zero scenario over this period.
For our Power portfolio, we set an interim emissions intensity target of 102 kilogram (kg) of CO2e/megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity for 2030 from a 2019 baseline of 253 kg CO2e/MWh. The target aligns with the Power sector benchmark derived from the NGFS Net-Zero scenario and would see us reduce the emissions intensity of our Power portfolio by 60% over the target period.
For our Oil & Gas portfolio, we use Oil & Gas production data and apply corresponding emission factors to calculate Scope 3, category 11 (use of sold products) company emissions for upstream and integrated companies. We then multiply these emissions by the attribution factor (Wells Fargo financing divided by client value) to calculate client emissions attributable to our financing activities. For Scopes 1 and 2, we source company emissions data from S&P Trucost for upstream, integrated, and downstream companies and then multiply by the attribution factor. If Scope 1 and 2 emissions data is unavailable, we impute emissions using production data and the relevant emission factors.
For our Power portfolio, we use data reflecting our clients’ electricity generation, by technology type, and apply the appropriate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emission factor to calculate the Scope 1 emissions and emissions intensity of our Power generation portfolio. We also reviewed public disclosures and other sources of information, such as the Transition Pathway Initiative, to assess the emissions for select clients.
We developed a methodology — which we’ve named CO2eMission — for setting interim, emissions-based targets to guide the alignment of our financial portfolios to the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2050. CO2eMission relies upon externally developed climate scenarios to construct a benchmark that defines the downward trajectory of emissions attributable to a given financial portfolio over time required to reach net zero by 2050. We use the scenario benchmark to set interim portfolio targets.
CO2eMission is informed by the target-setting guidelines of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, a leading industry group that supports more than 100 bank members (including Wells Fargo) in aligning their financial portfolios with net-zero goals.
The targets that we set for our Oil & Gas and Power portfolios are sector-specific, not client-specific. We intend to align these portfolios to our net-zero goal by engaging with clients and helping them finance technologies that are key to a low-carbon future. While many of our clients have also set goals of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, we acknowledge that transition strategies will differ among our clients.
We recognize that different economic sectors will move at varying speeds as the economy-wide transition to net zero accelerates. Many sectors have already made substantial progress defining pathways to reach and perhaps even exceed this ambition, while other sectors will require further innovation to align with net-zero pathways.
We value the long-term relationships we have built with our clients, in many cases over decades. We intend to support clients through the low-carbon transition and believe that engagement rather than divestment is the fastest pathway to achieving economy-wide net-zero ambitions.
Wells Fargo is a member of the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), an industry-led bank leadership group that supports more than 100 bank members in aligning their financial portfolios with net-zero goals. CO2eMission is informed by NZBA’s target-setting guidelines, which outline principles for setting scientifically informed targets for financial portfolios in key high-emitting sectors. We plan to set targets for additional sectors in the future.