Vancity’s leadership in environmental sustainability

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

Retail environmental products and services

  • Vancity’s enviro™ Visa is a values-based credit card, providing competitive rates and rewards to help cardholders achieve their financial goals while giving back to the community. Every year, 5% of enviro™ Visa card profits go to support the Vancity enviroFund™ program, which invests in local, innovative solutions to improve the environmental wellbeing of our members and communities.
  • Clean Air Vehicle Loan provides preferential rates to members purchasing energy efficient vehicles or electric vehicle charging stations, alternative fuel conversion systems and motorized and non-motorized bicycles and scooters.
  • Vancity Home Energy™ Loan offers members preferential rates for energy efficient home renovations or improvements such as upgrading windows, insulation and solar panels.
  • Home energy rebates and partnerships: Vancity Vancity has partnered with BC Hydro supporting their Home Energy Rebate Offer (HERO) with additional Vancity rebates.
  • Socially responsible investments: Vancity’s team of wealth management professionals has access to a wide range of socially responsible savings and investment products, including Mutual funds, Term deposits, Shared World Term Deposits and Discretionary Investment Management.

Business environmental products and services

  • In 2018, Vancity provided $283 million in financing within the environmental sustainability sector, including green buildings, green businesses, clean technology and renewable energy, and local and organic food. Since 2012, we have provided almost $2 billion in environmental sustainability-related financing.
  • 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.
  • Green Business Program 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 2018, Vancity approved $1.4 million in grants to support environmental sustainability initiatives in our community.
  • In 2018, Vancity supported 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 $50,000 grant to Synergy Sustainability Institute on Vancouver Island to support Project Zero, a circular economy business incubator, as well as its Vancouver Island Green Business Collective and Food Eco District program which are catalyzing the green economy on Vancouver Island.

Environmental leadership

  • In 2019, following the Global Alliance on Values (GABV) Summit in Vancouver, Vancity committed to a global effort among banking institutions to track and monitor the carbon impact of its portfolio of loans and investments.
  • In 2018, Vancity CEO Tamara Vrooman was named co-chair of the federal government’s Advisory Council on Climate Action, which released its final report in May 2019.
  • In 2015, Vancity Investment Management fully divested from oil and gas companies within the IA Clarington Inhance Global Equity SRI Class.
  • In 2010, Vancity was the first Canadian financial institution to become a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) - 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 North American-based financial institution to become carbon neutral.
  • Vancity was among first businesses in the world to integrate environmental, social and financial performance in its annual report.

Environmental partnerships

  • As of January 1, 2019, 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 71% waste diversion in 2018.
  • 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

  • In 2018, Vancity diverted 99% of its waste from landfill, recycling 83% of this amount including all paper products and paper towels, glass, plastics, metals, organics and batteries. Of its 59 branches, 54 are net zero waste, meaning that non-recyclable or compostable waste is diverted from landfill to a waste-to-energy facility.
  • 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 2015, a heat recovery unit was installed at Vancity Centre using waste heat from its data centre, decreasing natural gas consumption by up to 97% and winning numerous awards, and has since been used to inform the City of Vancouver policy on actions to achieve its 100% renewable energy strategy.
  • Vancity’s energy management practices include designing to perform above the required energy code, by utilizing more efficient lighting, mechanical and control systems, improved control systems and changing user behaviour to minimize energy use. Vancity has seen a 69% reduction in the annual GHG emissions from electricity between 2009 and 2018.
  • Vancity has reduced GHG from fossil fuels (natural gas) used in building operations by 47% from 2009 to 2018.
  • Vancity’s annual GHG emissions per employee, measured using building energy, measured using transportation and paper use components, has fallen 26% from 2009 to 2018.

Awards

  • Vancity’s annual reports won Best Integrated Report at the 2018 CR Reporting Awards and at the Ethical Corporation 2016 Responsible Business Awards.
  • Vancity was named one of Vancouver’s three most environmentally responsible local companies by the Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver 2017 awards.
  • In 2017, Vancity received a Richmond Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Green Business of the Year. Vancity is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers.

Last updated September 2019