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Corporate reform campaign in US targets Wells Fargo

By Rainforest Action Network | San Fransisco, Oct 5 2005

The Global Finance Campaign of Rainforest Action Network today announced that organizers would begin activating its grassroots network to prepare for a sustained campaign to reform Wells Fargo.

Over one hundred environmental and social justice activists launched the effort by marching backwards at noon through San Francisco's financial district to the banks landmark Montgomery Street branch and unfurling a giant third story-banner reading 'Wells Fargo: Lootin' and Pollutin' since 1852'? to draw attention to the out-dated practices of America's most backwards bank.?

Despite persistent pleas from citizen action groups, Wells Fargo has refused to incorporate new industry 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 bank's 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 free 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 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 Global Finance Campaign at Rainforest Action Network. 'America's 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'.?

Rainforest Action Network: +1 415 398 4404

Rainforest Action Network Website


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