Big Banks Develop Carbon Principles to Protect Nature and Investments

Carbon Principles pic

Carbon Principles
Image: morganstanley.com

Eric Fornell develops financial strategies for Wells Fargo Securities as the company’s vice chairman of investment banking and capital markets. Formerly the vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase, Eric Fornell was involved in the creation of the Carbon Principles.

The Carbon Principles are environmental guidelines put in place by three top Wall Street banks. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley came together in 2008 to meet about climate change, environmental responsibility, and the roles that financial institutions should play in protecting the environment.

The principles include strict environmental standards for coal-burning power plants and similar environmental threats. Projects that do not meet these standards will not receive financing from the three banks, creating tremendous pressure to design clean plants or refrain from new construction altogether.

The Carbon Principles grew out of a time of political uncertainty. Congress was considering various bills to roll out new environmental regulations. Financial institutions had little guidance regarding possible changes, and did not want to risk losing money on plants that would not conform to standards. The principles allowed banks to create clear, consistent guidelines.

The Carbon Principles

Carbon Principles pic

Carbon Principles
Image: morganstanley.com

In 2012, Eric Fornell became vice chairman of investment banking and capital markets at Wells Fargo Securities. During his time with JPMorgan Chase, Eric Fornell played a part in the negotiation of the Carbon Principles, a 2008 agreement between Citi, JP Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, as well as two environmental non-governmental organizations.

The Carbon Principles were a set of climate change guidelines made for advisors and lenders to power companies in America. The principles were created over nine months to evaluate and address carbon risks that may arise in the financing of electric power projects. The three banks consulted several leading power companies, including American Electric Power and CMS Energy, to help create these principles. The Carbon Principles marks the first time that an effort like this one had been made between banks and environmental groups for the benefit of both the environment and the companies involved.

The Carbon Principles include doctrines regarding energy efficiency, renewable and low carbon distributed energy technologies, and conventional and advanced generation. Officials representing major companies in the power industry have made positive remarks about these principles, recognizing the importance of protecting the environment and limiting carbon emissions.