This article is sponsored by Wells Fargo.
Take a look at the price tag of any new car, appliance or home improvement project. High upfront costs and installation fees may leave you with sticker shock. Cleaner alternatives, such as an electric vehicle or rooftop solar panels, may seem even further out of reach. However, that may not always be the case.
The energy transition is accelerating as innovation drives down the cost of electrification, and federal rebates and incentives make it more accessible. Financial institutions such as Wells Fargo can play a critical role by supporting our clients during the transition to a low-carbon future. We are focused on critical pathways where we can apply our expertise, size and scale to deliver meaningful outcomes for our customers and communities.
Serving the energy transition: Scaling clean energy, driving sustainability where we live and work, and advancing climate finance and innovation
As companies and consumers seek more sustainable financing options, we are rapidly providing the products and services they need. By 2030, Wells Fargo has set a goal to deploy at least $500 billion in sustainable financing. And in our first year tracking these investments, we deployed approximately $68 billion to help our clients reach their goals. It’s making a real impact:
- Wells Fargo worked with WeDriveU, a California-based shuttle company, to expand its electric fleet through traditional and lease financing programs.
- The bank’s corporate and investment banking business led the $3 billion refinancing to revitalize a New York City landmark. Most of the electricity at One Vanderbilt is generated by natural gas–powered turbines. The building also has a rainwater collection system and cooling tower.
To fully understand the cleantech and financing options available, we all need accurate and reliable information. The Wells Fargo Institute for Sustainable Finance, created in 2021, works with external partners and internal experts to produce analyses and white papers, and it hosts events to increase awareness of sustainable finance and Wells Fargo’s work in sustainability.
Banking on our clients and communities: Financial health, small business growth, and housing access and affordability
Local communities and small businesses are at the heart of our sustainable finance activity. These investments help to build regional economies, create jobs and generate environmental benefits. We have the expertise and experience to help our clients better understand the economic benefits of sustainability, while supporting a low-carbon transition in the communities where they live and work.
Wells Fargo is focused on financial health programs and removing systemic barriers to financial inclusion. The Banking Inclusion Initiative worked with Operation HOPE to launch HOPE Inside centers in the Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Oakland and Phoenix metro regions. Financial coaches in these locations help empower community members to achieve their financial goals through financial education and free one-on-one coaching.
Image courtesy of Wells Fargo.
A survey by Morning Consult commissioned by Wells Fargo found that clean energy is a priority for many small businesses. However, 48 percent of small businesses that have made or plan to make changes encounter at least some difficulty acquiring capital. In one year, Wells Fargo's Small Business Resource Navigator connected nearly 1,300 small businesses to potential credit opportunities and technical assistance services. By providing capital, financing and advice, we help business owners run their businesses, grow their businesses and achieve their goals.
In 2022, Wells Fargo committed $150 million to advance racial equity in homeownership and established Wealth Opportunities Restored through Homeownership (WORTH), a $60 million national effort to address systematic barriers to homeownership for people of color. To support real estate developers of color, including Black and Latino-owned firms, we also announced a $40 million grant initiative focused on providing new opportunities for growth and success.
Driving an equity-focused transition
Social equity should be a priority for banks, businesses and governments. Wells Fargo helped more than 425,000 Black and Hispanic families achieve their homeownership goals between 2017 and 2021 with $110 billion in financing.
To fund initiatives that support housing affordability, socioeconomic opportunity and renewable energy, we issued Inclusive Communities and Climate Bonds of $1 billion in 2021 and $2 billion 2022. These efforts help to advance racial equity in homeownership while engaging entrepreneurs and social innovators to improve housing opportunities.
By establishing strategic partnerships, Wells Fargo also supports homeowners as they transition to renewable and clean energy. We partnered with Elevate, a climate action nonprofit organization in Chicago, to provide heat pumps and other energy-efficient resources to 100 low- and moderate-income residents. The program also helps contractors and other workers enter the clean energy economy by offering job training opportunities.
These climate and community impact areas build on the crucial role banks and other financial institutions play in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Wells Fargo is committed to creating meaningful change in our communities to ensure a resilient, equitable and sustainable future.