Despite persistent pleas from citizen action groups, Wells Fargo has refused to incorporate new in! dustry best practices on the environment recently adopted by Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase. Instead, in a move straight out of the book "Managing Activism: A Guide to Dealing with Activists and Pressure Groups," the bank responded this summer by launching a public relations campaign to promote a "10-Point Environmental Commitment" that made no mention of global warming, endangered ecosystems or human rights. In stark contrast to similar policy announcements made by fellow CEOs, Wells Fargo chief executive Richard M. Kovacevich was notably AWOL from his bankâs statement leaving stakeholders feeling deserted by his lack of leadership on these issues.
In a September 21 letter, Rainforest Action Network executive director Michael Brune called on Mr. Kovacevich to phase out funding for extractive industries in intact forests and endangered ecosystems, reduce both direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, cancel oppressive third world debt! , support the rights of indigenous nations and local communities to fr ee and prior informed consent, require Forest Stewardship Council chain-of-custody certification, prioritize funding for sustainable forest management and renewable clean energy, provide retail products that promote home and auto energy efficiency, finance affordable housing near public transportation and prioritize funding for companies that have audited and accounted for use of ecosystems services.
With $435 billion in assets and over 23 million customers, Wells Fargo is the largest US-based bank still operating without comprehensive modern guidelines to govern its investment practices and corporate conduct on a broad range of urgent environmental and social issues. Case studies published today on DirtyMoney.org show how Wells Fargo supports radical extraction practices like clear-cutting forests and leveling mountaintops, often on public land for private profit.
"The Wells Fargo wagon is stuck in the past," said Ilyse Hogue, director of the Globa! l Finance Campaign at Rainforest Action Network. "Americaâs three largest banks are taking their first steps toward a environmentally sustainable and socially just economy while Wells Fargo is defaulting on the defining issues of our time. We are calling on Wells Fargo executives to make issues like global warming, deforestation and the economic drivers causing them a top priority now."