More Banks Addressing Environment(A)
Last week Wachovia joined the growing number of banks adopting environmental policies that affect not only their internal operations, but also their lending and financial products. With input from Trillium Asset Management and other socially responsible investors, Wachovia becomes the latest in a series of banks to adopt new environmental policies, including Citigroup, JP Morgan, and Goldman Sachs. While some of Wachovia’s new policies don’t go as far as some of these other banks commitments, the company has made commitments to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and encourage its borrowers to do the same, and it has joined the growing chorus of companies acknowledging that federal action to stem climate change is needed. Click here for a page with links to Wachovia’s new environmental policies and specific commitments.
On a separate note, last year Trillium Asset Management and the Service Employees International Union co-filed a shareholder resolution asking Wells Fargo to address the risks of climate change. Since then, the company has taken some positive environmental steps. In the most recent development, last month Wells Fargo became the largest corporate purchaser of green power in the U.S. with a three-year commitment to purchase 550 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy credits. The company has also created a new Environmental Advisory Board and launched some new green investment products, including mortgages that encourage energy efficiency. However, the company remains under fire from environmental groups like Rainforest Action Network for financing companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining and other environmentally damaging activities. We’re seeking a meeting with the company before deciding whether to re-file our resolution this year.