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Case study: How Wells Fargo promotes workplace diversity

Wells Fargo is a diversified, community-based financial services company, with approximately 266,000 active, full-time equivalent employees providing banking, investment, and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance. Wells Fargo seeks to create a truly diverse and inclusive workforce  Tweet This!, that will bring a wide range of insights and perspectives to all levels of the company.

This case study is based on the 2020 ESG Report by Wells Fargo published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Wells Fargo is actively advancing diversity and inclusion, helping make sure that all people across its workforce, its communities, and supply chain feel valued and respected and have equal access to resources, services, products, and opportunities to succeed. In order to promote workplace diversity Wells Fargo took action to:

  • introduce diversity and inclusion councils
  • launch employee resource groups
  • provide diversity and inclusion training
  • collaborate to attract, develop, and retain diverse individuals
  • support employees with disabilities
  • hire military veterans

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2020 ESG Report Wells Fargo identified a range of material issues, such as business ethics, climate risk management, community development, customer privacy and data security, environmental and social due diligence, fair and responsible lending and pricing. Among these, promoting workplace diversity stands out as a key material issue for Wells Fargo.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Wells Fargo engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Community members

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Wells Fargo interviewed internal and external stakeholders, also including content from stakeholders representing Wells Fargo customers, employees, ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investors, government, media, NGOs, and financial peers.

What actions were taken by Wells Fargo to promote workplace diversity?

In its 2020 ESG Report Wells Fargo reports that it took the following actions for promoting workplace diversity:

  • Introducing diversity and inclusion councils
  • Wells Fargo has diversity and inclusion councils at the line-of-business and functional levels, and for its cross-enterprise international regions. They are all aligned with and support the enterprise diversity and inclusion strategy, which focuses on employee outcomes, marketplace (including customers and suppliers), and advocacy (external relationships, community, and reputation efforts). Wells Fargo’s Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion Council members collaborate on priority initiatives with members of its line-of-business and international diversity councils and employee resource groups.
  • Launching employee resource groups
  • Wells Fargo’s employee resource groups are devoted to professional growth and education, community outreach, recruiting and retention, business development, and customer insight. The networks, with chapters around the globe, are organised by employees who share a common background, experience or other affinity, and are open to all employees. They promote cultural competence and provide a place for employees to connect, learn, build and leverage their skills, and impact business outcomes. Wells Fargo has 10 employee groups representing diversity dimensions including Asian, Black and African American, Disabilities, Latin, Middle East, Generational, Native Peoples, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender), Veterans, and Women’s.
  • Providing diversity and inclusion training
  • Seeking, accepting, and encouraging diverse perspectives and making sure others feel included and valued are behavioural expectations at Wells Fargo. Accordingly, Wells Fargo asks employees to familiarise themselves with its diversity and inclusion strategy, priorities, and available tools and training. Employees complete training that focuses on understanding Wells Fargo’s diversity and inclusion foundations, recognising unconscious bias, appreciating differences, and leading inclusively. Wells Fargo also offers experiential learning programmes to provide deeper learning and collaboration on key diversity and inclusion initiatives and topics.
  • Collaborating to attract, develop, and retain diverse individuals
  • Wells Fargo’s goal is for its employees to reflect the diversity of the communities it To that end, Wells Fargo seeks to attract, develop, and retain the best-qualified, most diverse group of employees it can find and also works to foster an inclusive culture that values differences and is open to new ideas. Wells Fargo works with multiple diversity organisations that focus on racially and ethnically diverse communities, women, veterans, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community. These organisations provide Wells Fargo with an opportunity to build relationships and recruit diverse talent at different stages of professional life. Wells Fargo’s employees are active members of these organisations and some serve in leadership roles. These groups also offer employees developmental opportunities at their annual conferences and chapter-level events throughout the year. Through a combination of direct recruiting and support of these partner organisations, Wells Fargo engages in a host of activities to educate, support, and attract diverse talent. Key partners include:
    • The Hispanic Scholarship Fund
    • The National Association of Black Accountants
    • The National Black MBA Association
    • The United Negro College Fund
    • Management Leadership for Tomorrow
    • The Forte Foundation (Women in Business)
    • Women in Technology International (WITI)
    • ROMBA (Reaching out MBA – LGBTQ)
    • ASCEND (Asian Professional organisation)
  • Supporting employees with disabilities
  • Wells Fargo seeks solutions and reasonable accommodations that will help its employees with disabilities or medical restrictions successfully do their jobs. Accordingly, Wells Fargo collaborates with employees to explore such accommodations through a dedicated team of diverse multidisciplinary professionals with expertise in occupational health and psychiatric nursing, vocational rehabilitation, behavioural/mental health, ergonomics, disability management, human resources, employee relations, benefits, and leave administration.
  • Hiring military veterans
  • Wells Fargo employs military veterans, veterans with disabilities, and active and reserve duty military personnel and their families, and backs that commitment with a variety of resources, educational information, and career guidance. For military members seeking employment with it, Wells Fargo offers the Veteran Employment Transition (VET) Programme, Military Apprenticeships, and its Boots 2 Banking hiring initiative. These platforms offer candidates opportunities to gain financial service industry experience. For family members, Wells Fargo offers the Wells Fargo Veterans Scholarship, Military Property Care, and Hands on Banking. In addition to the direct support Wells Fargo offers to military members and their families, it also provides indirect assistance to the military community through its involvement and contributions to various Veteran Service Organisations and military family support programme Wells Fargo also offers support through foundation donations, employee volunteer hours, and event sponsorship.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees

Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP



1) This case study is based on published information by Wells Fargo, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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