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Vancity’s investment in bees, pollination and honey

As a values-based financial cooperative, Vancity credit union ensures its members’ savings are invested in ways that build our members’ wealth while helping develop healthy communities.

One investment area is local and organic food, which includes honey and crops reliant on bee pollination. Vancity invests in this sector to help develop a sustainable local food system, which in turn contributes to a healthier environment, improved individual health and a more resilient local economy.

Vancity works with local food businesses to reduce negative environmental impacts of their operations or advance sustainable growing practices. Areas of focus include climate change adaptation, protecting indigenous plants and animals, reducing negative impacts of fertilizers and pesticides, reducing food waste, increasing pollinators, enhancing soil quality, or the efficient or regenerative use of water, energy and other inputs.

Overall investment in bees

  • Through our enviroFund™ program, Vancity provides grants of up to $40,000 for local projects and initiatives that contribute to building a sustainable local food system. For 2016, one of the focus areas will support increasing pollinators. Grant applications are due on September 7, 2016.
  • In 2015, Vancity supported Hives for Humanity with a $10,000 grant for a mentorship program which includes beekeeping, gardening, woodwork, wax crafts, honey extraction and employment opportunities for at risk individuals in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
  • In 2014, Vancity began shareholder engagement around neonicotinoids and bees, reaching out to three companies who operate garden centres to inquire about their policies and practices regarding neonicotinoids and protection of pollinators.
  • Since 2012, Vancity has provided $32,000 in grants for Rocky Mountain Flatbread's EarthBites program, connecting the classroom to the environment by leading seasonal workshops such as growing garlic, apple tasting, busy bees, micro-greens and spring planting.
  • In 2009, the Earthwise Society received a $20,000 enviroFund™ grant for its Earthwise Farmscape project to demonstrate farmscaping techniques that incorporate habitat plantings at the Earthwise Farm to increase biodiversity.
  • In 2010, the Environmental Youth Alliance received a $40,000 enviroFund™ grant to support a three level approach to address the challenges bees are facing locally and globally; train a new generation of beekeepers; support farmers and residents in fostering healthy native and honeybee populations; and educate/advocate on the role pollinators play in a sustainable agricultural system.
  • The Environmental Youth Alliance received a $50,000 enviroFund™ grant in 2009 for its Backyard Bounty program, creating a youth social enterprise, consulting with residents to start backyard operations in apiculture, aquaponics, poultry/egg farms and vermicomposting.
  • Vancity has supported Vancouver's Main Street Honey Shoppe by providing financing for sustainable expansion initiatives such as bringing honeybee colonies to Vancouver to produce local, urban honey. Vancity also provides small business expertise through its Feed Growth program.

™Vancity enviroFund, and enviroFund are registered trademarks of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union.