Wells Fargo – Climate Change Report (2006 – 2007)
Outcome: Omitted by SEC
RESOLVED that shareholders of Wells Fargo and Co. request that the Board of Directors report to shareholders by October 2006 on the effect on our company’s business strategy of the challenges created by global climate change. The report should include, but need not be limited to, a discussion of the effects of (a) rising public and regulatory pressures to limit the emission of greenhouse gases, and (b) anticipated changes to our physical environment. This report should be prepared at reasonable cost and omit proprietary information.
Global climate change threatens to affect companies across a wide variety of industries. Numerous reports from respected scientific bodies, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Academy of Sciences, confirm that climate change is real and will cause a variety of profound alterations to the earth’s natural systems if not arrested.
Regulatory responses to climate change have been adopted, and many more are likely. The Kyoto Protocol now requires signatory nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on average 5.2% below 1990 levels. U.S. states, including California, have proposed emissions-reduction initiatives.
Changes to our physical environment from climate change may pose serious consequences to real estate investments, the tourism industry, and commercial and individual insurance premiums. A water shortage would have broad impacts on manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, and other sectors. And an increase in dramatic weather patterns could lead to energy volatility and disease pandemic concerns.
According to the company’s website (10/14/05), Wells Fargo and its subsidiaries provide a variety of commercial and retail banking, lending, asset management, mortgage, insurance, and other financial services in all U.S. states and several countries. Our company is also considered the largest crop insurance provider in the U.S., the world’s fifth-largest insurance brokerage, and provides large-scale commercial real estate, construction, and project financing.
Because of the complexity of Wells Fargo’s assets and businesses, it is difficult for shareholders to determine the extent that climate change policies and physical impacts will have on the company’s long-term business strategy. We believe that a Board-level assessment of these effects would assist shareholders in evaluating our company stock as a long-term investment.
Wells Fargo currently provides no substantial guidance to its investors on the potential impacts of this important issue, either in its annual report, on its website, nor other financial filings. Yet key competitors, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup, have addressed this public concern through written policies, sustainable development project guidance, forestry protection initiatives, emissions reduction analysis, improved disclosure to investors, and executive or Board oversight for climate change policy implementation–clear signs that the banking industry is taking climate change seriously as a public policy issue.
With Wells Fargo’s inadequate reporting to shareholders on this increasingly critical issue to our subsidiaries, investors have no way of knowing what our company is doing to address this escalating global concern and the business impacts that will emerge from it.
Therefore, we urge shareholders to vote FOR this proposal.