Quantcast

'Despicable': Wells Fargo Bashed for Plans to Cash In on Global Climate Crisis

Climate
Feb. 3, 2017 protest at Wells Fargo Bank. Joe Piette / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Jessica Corbett

While most Americans are increasingly alarmed about the human-made climate crisis, Wells Fargo—the big bank known for "ripping off" college students and investing in "shady" industries—is under fire for approaching it as a way to make more money.


Citing disclosures provided to the British nonprofit CDP—which collects self-reported environmental impact data from companies, cities, states and regions worldwide—Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Wells Fargo sees the crisis as potentially profitable.

"Preparation for and response to climate-change induced natural disasters result in greater construction, conservation, and other business activities," the bank reportedly noted in its disclosure, adding that it "has the opportunity to provide financing to support these efforts."

Sierra Club, which has pressured Wells Fargo to stop providing billions of dollars in financing for dirty energy projects like the widely contested the Dakota Access Pipeline, sharply condemned the bank's plans to cash in on the crisis.

"It's despicable that Wells Fargo is seeking to profit from the destruction and suffering its own investments are helping to create," Sierra Club campaign representative Ben Cushing said in a statement.

"Rather than scheming about how to make more money off of the climate crisis," Cushing declared, "Wells Fargo should stop making the problem worse and divest from the dirtiest fuels on the planet."

Wells Fargo received a D+ grade in the 2018 Banking on Climate Change report card produced by environmental groups including Sierra Club—the second-lowest grade given to any U.S. bank. As one example of its bad behavior, the report pointed to Enbridge's Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

"In October, Wells Fargo led a syndicate of more than a dozen banks in renewing a credit facility of $1.48 billion for the company," the report stated, "despite a coalition of 15 Indigenous and environmental groups detailing the human rights and environmental impacts of the Line 3 pipeline."

But Wells Fargo isn't just known for pouring billions into the fossil fuel industry—it also has garnered a bad reputation for raking in money from customers through a litany of ripoffs and scams.

Lindsey Barrett, a staff attorney and teaching fellow at Georgetown University Law Center's Institute for Public Representation, responded to the Bloomberg report with a reference to the bank's track record of "stealing from its customers."

In perhaps the bank's most infamous scandal, for which it was hit with $185 million in fines in 2016, Wells Fargo employees were found to have secretly opened new accounts and made unauthorized transfers from customers' existing accounts so the bank could profit off of the fees.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Wells Fargo received the "lowest grade given to any U.S. bank" by environmental groups when it should've read the second lowest grade. The article has been updated to reflect this change.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A child playing with a ball from planet earth during Extinction Rebellion rally on April 18 in London, England. Brais G. Rouco / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

Earth Day 2019 just passed, but planning has already begun for Earth Day 2020, and it's going to be a big deal.

Read More Show Less
Geneva Vanderzeil, A Pair & A Spare / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Is your closet filled with clothes you don't wear (and probably don't like anymore)? Are you buying cheap and trendy clothing you only wear once or twice? What's up with all the excess? Shifting to a more Earth-conscious wardrobe can help simplify your life, as well as curb fast fashion's toll on people and the planet.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Christine Zenino / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Greenland is melting six times faster than it was in the 1980s, which is even faster than scientists thought, CNN reported Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
The 18th century St. Catherine of Alexandria church is seen after its bell tower was destroyed following a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck the town of Porac, pampanga province on April 23. TED ALJIBE / AFP / Getty Images

At least 16 people have died, 81 are injured and 14 are still missing after an earthquake struck Luzon island in the Philippines Monday, according to the latest figures from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, as the Philippine Star tweeted Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Climate change activists gather in front of the stage at the Extinction Rebellion group's environmental protest camp at Marble Arch in London on April 22, on the eighth day of the group's protest calling for political change to combat climate change. TOLGA AKMEN / AFP / Getty Images

Extinction Rebellion, the climate protest that has blocked major London thoroughfares since Monday April 15, was cleared from three key areas over Easter weekend, The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Veganism refers to a way of living that attempts to minimize animal exploitation and cruelty. For this reason, vegans aim to exclude all foods containing meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and honey from their diet (1).

Read More Show Less
American farmers use chlorpyrifos, a pesticide tied to brain and nervous system issues, on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn and strawberries. Stephanie Chapman / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jessica Corbett

In a ruling welcomed by public health advocates, a federal court on Friday ordered the Trump administration to stop stalling a potential ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, giving regulators until mid-July to make a final decision.

Read More Show Less
fstop123 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.

To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.

Read More Show Less