Bank Watch

Wells Fargo credits data center closures with cutting its greenhouse gas emissions

A file photo of a Wells Fargo branch in Los Angeles. The head of the lender’s data center strategy wrote in a recent blog post that it is reducing greenhouse gas emissions in part by closing data centers.
A file photo of a Wells Fargo branch in Los Angeles. The head of the lender’s data center strategy wrote in a recent blog post that it is reducing greenhouse gas emissions in part by closing data centers. AP

Wells Fargo has shuttered nearly 100 data centers over the past six years, a decision that has helped reduce the San Francisco-based company’s greenhouse gas emissions, the head of the lender’s data center strategy wrote in a recent blog post.

Some environmentalists say the move comes as companies are under pressure from consumers to be greener.

Since the beginning of 2009, Wells Fargo has closed 98 satellite data centers, Bob Culver wrote in the blog post published earlier this month. Data centers can be large consumers of energy, and Wells Fargo’s main data center sites are responsible for as much as 17 percent of the lender’s electricity consumption, Culver writes.

“Energy consumption is the major contributor of a data center’s carbon footprint,” he writes. “When you consider equipment housed within a data center operates 24 hours a day/365 days a year, the amount of kilowatt hours adds up quickly.”

Wells Fargo has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 24 percent since 2008 and is on track to reach its goal of 35 percent savings by 2020, he writes. Better management of data centers is one of the key components driving that reduction, according to Culver.

In addition to closing some data centers, Wells Fargo has taken other steps that have reduced energy usage at the data centers, including improving the efficiency of servers in the centers, he writes.

According to Culver, Wells Fargo expects to close more data centers in the coming years. Those further reductions will result in Wells Fargo having roughly two-thirds the data centers it did in 2009, the year Wells Fargo and Charlotte-based Wachovia merged their information technology functions, he writes.

More information on Wells Fargo’s environmental initiatives can be found in a report it released Wednesday.

Companies are seeking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions for a number of reasons, including consumer demand, said June Blotnick, executive director of Clean Air Carolina, a Charlotte-based nonprofit whose mission is improving North Carolina’s air quality.

“There is definitely consumer pressure on businesses to clean up their portfolios, look at their supply chains and find other opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as they can,” Blotnick said.

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Twitter: @DeonERoberts

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