Vancity’s leadership in environmental sustainability

As a values-based financial cooperative, Vancity credit union is a leader in environmental sustainability, both in using its financial tools to help its members build sustainable lives, businesses and communities, and in reducing the environmental footprint of its own operations.

Retail environmental products and services

Business environmental products and services

  • In 2017, Vancity provided $204 million in financing within the energy and environment sector, including green buildings, green businesses and local and organic food enterprises.
  • Microloans Program for Green Businesses: This program offers start-up loans or lines of credit of up to $35,000, as well as expansion loans or lines of credit of up to $70,000.
  • and impact financing: Through financing, technical support and partnerships, Vancity invests in businesses producing green products and services, clean technologies, and renewable energy or actively improving their environmental performance.
  • Eco Efficiency Loan provides a preferred-rate loan (up to $250,000) and up to 100-per-cent financing for businesses, co-operatives, stratas and not-for-profit organizations implementing energy efficient upgrades.

Environmental grants and funding initiatives

  • In 2017, Vancity approved $1.8 million in grants to support energy and environment, which equates to 23% of all community granting through our Shared Success program.
  • In 2018, Vancity invested in BCIT’s Zero Energy Building project. This is an awareness and capacity building initiative focused on accelerating the successful implementation of high performance construction projects and the BC Energy Step Code.
  • In 2018, Vancity provided a $30,000 grant to the Evergreen Green Bloc Neighbourhood (GBN) project through its Vancity Visa enviroFund™. The GBN project enables neighbourhoods in Vancouver to build healthier, more resilient communities through collaboration.

Environmental leadership

  • Vancity was among first businesses in the world to integrate environmental, social and financial performance in its annual report.
  • In 2015, Vancity Investment Management fully divested from oil and gas companies within the IA Clarington Inhance Global Equity SRI Class.
  • In 2012, Vancity CEO Tamara Vrooman joined the Council for Clean Capitalism as one of seven founding CEOs.
  • In 2010, Vancity was the first Canadian financial institution to become a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values - a network of the world’s leading sustainable banks sharing the commitment to achieving triple bottom line impact through responsible banking practices.
  • In 2008, Vancity was the first financial institution in North America to become carbon neutral.

Environmental partnerships

  • As of 2018, Vancity’s partnership with Climate Smart has helped more than 150 businesses reduce their carbon footprint and increase cost savings through our scholarship program.
  • After launching Zero Waste Events in 2014 with Recycling Alternative and Green Chair Recycling, the program has expanded to include United We Can.
  • In 2016, Vancity grew the PNE zero waste partnership from a one-day event to span the entire 15-day fair. Vancity also partnered with The Binners’ Project, which contributed to the success of waste diversion at the fair, achieving 64% waste diversion in 2017.
  • Vancity was a founding member of the Board of Change, a member-driven organization that educates, transforms and celebrates businesses interested in sustainability.
  • Vancity is a founding partner of LOCO BC, which brings local businesses together to promote local purchasing, local business networking, and sustainability.
  • Since 2011, Vancity has partnered with GreenJobs BC to develop strong bridges between labour and environmental groups to promote the creation of high quality green jobs throughout the province.

Vancity’s operations

  • Vancity branches divert 88% of their waste from landfill and 49 of 59 branches are net zero waste (no waste is taken to landfill).
  • In December 2017, Vancity introduced a campaign with the goal of having at least 15% of its members opt out of paper statements (e-statements) by December 2018.
  • In 2017, Vancity’s head office diverted 87% of its waste from landfill, recycling all paper products and paper towels, glass, plastic, metals and batteries.
  • In 2015, a heat recovery unit was installed at Vancity Centre, decreasing natural gas consumption by 85%, winning numerous awards, and has since been used as a case study by the City of Vancouver.
  • Vancity’s energy management practices include the installation of more efficient lighting and mechanical systems, improved control systems and changing user behaviour to minimize energy use. As part of this program, all new and renovated facilities are designed to perform above the recommended energy efficiency code.

Awards

Last updated January 2019