PORTLAND, Ore. — Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) and Ecotrust Forests LLC announce Wells Fargo’s $1.9 million investment to support the purchase of 3,243 acres of Olympic Peninsula forestland in the Sooes River watershed. The investment is part of Wells Fargo’s recently announced Ten-Point Environmental Commitment which will direct $1 billion to environmental business opportunities and equity investments.
“We want to be a leader in this important area of corporate citizenship and investing in our communities,” said Patrick Yalung, regional president for Wells Fargo in Washington. “Our partnership with Ecotrust provides Wells Fargo with an important opportunity to help conserve the pristine geography in the Olympic Peninsula.”
“We are pleased that Wells Fargo has made this impressive commitment to the environment and is taking this step with us,” says Bettina von Hagen, Vice President of Forestry at Ecotrust, the Portland-based non-profit corporation that has established Ecotrust Forests LLC, a private investment fund dedicated to producing long-term value for investors and restoring forest watershed health in the Pacific Northwest. “Wells Fargo’s involvement in this purchase is a critical part of Ecotrust’s ambition to build a vibrant regional economy that integrates ecological principles and job creation. We believe our approach to forest management will build more enduring value for our investors while enhancing the public values that forests provide, such as biodiversity, clean water, and scenic vistas.”
Ecotrust’s Sooes River forest acquisition was part of an 80,000-acre purchase by a six- member consortium including GMO Renewable Resources, Forest Investment Associates, Merrill and Ring, Green Crow, and the Makah Tribe. The Ecotrust portion cost $6.5 million and was made possible by the partial allocation of a New Market Tax Credit granted to Ecotrust in 2005. “The tax credit and Wells Fargo’s investment allows Ecotrust to acquire, manage, and restore this forestland, create immediate jobs in forest restoration, and bring the forest back to its long-term productivity,” says von Hagen. Through this investment, Ecotrust will test consumer demand for lumber from well-managed forests through the use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification and selling into emerging green building markets. Ecotrust is also exploring test markets in ecosystem services, such as carbon credit trading and conservation banking.
Since its inception in 1991, Ecotrust has worked for the protection of hundreds of thousands of acres of intact watersheds; co-founded Shorebank Pacific, a commercial bank and an enterprise assistance corporation in which Wells Fargo CDC is an investor; and restored a $12.5 million warehouse in Portland’s Pearl District as a model of green redevelopment and an incubator of businesses working in ways that help build Salmon Nation, a bio-regional economy incorporating ecology and social equity.
Wells Fargo is committed to being environmentally responsible in every community in which it does business. The Company integrates environmental responsibility into its business practices and procedures, and has pledged to make $1 billion in lending and other financial commitments by 2010 in environmentally beneficial business opportunities.
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $482 billion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance to more than 23 million customers from more than 6,200 stores and the internet (www.wellsfargo.com) across North America and elsewhere internationally. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is the only bank in the United States to receive the highest possible credit rating, “Aaa,” from Moody’s Investors Service.