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CEOs go carbon neutral

Vancity and Citizens Bank CEOs deal with greenhouse gas problems by going carbon neutral

Vancouver BC, September 29, 2005 – The CEOs of Canada’s largest credit union and its national virtual bank subsidiary have a gas problem – greenhouse gas, that is.

That’s why Dave Mowat, CEO of Vancity and Ian Warner, CEO of Citizens Bank of Canada are committing to being the first-ever carbon neutral - or emission-free - executives.

It’s all part of a commitment by the Vancity Group of Companies to neutralize its carbon dioxide (C02) emissions by 2010. C02 is the most harmful of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Going carbon neutral means that the company will take major steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. What it can’t reduce it will “offset” by investing in local energy projects.

Each year, businesses pump out more than 35 per cent of the greenhouse gases that speed up climate change in this country. Executives, with their frequent business travel, are among the worst corporate emitters.

While Vancity’s long-standing environmental focus has kept the organization’s emissions relatively low over the years, Mowat and Warner have decided that low is no longer good enough. To serve as role models, the two CEOs are pledging to make significant cuts to their on-the-job emissions.

The organizations have programs planned and Mowat and Warner now have action plans too. While the Vancity Group of Companies will be focusing on office paper (first Canadian financial institution to go 100 per cent post consumer waste), energy efficiency, staff transportation and business travel, Mowat and Warner will be making sacrifices of their own.

For Mowat, these changes include trading his Audi for a hybrid, reducing his air travel by 10 per cent, taking public transit, participating in a regular car pool, and even submitting to regular spot checks around paper use and office equipment energy efficiency. Warner will also be taking public transit and carpooling and running to work from his North Vancouver home to his downtown office.

“Going carbon neutral is going to require changes from everyone in the company, but it makes sense to start at the top,” Dave Mowat says.

Ian Warner adds, “It won’t always be easy, but we are absolutely commited to doing our part, not only to help our organizations meet their carbon neutral targets, but to set an example for other organzations.” He teases. “For other leaders out there, all I can say is this – if Mowat can do it, you can too.”

Vancity is Canada’s largest credit union, with $10.5 billion in assets, more than 312,000 members, and 43 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria. Vancity was chosen as the best place to work in Canada for 2005 by Maclean’s Magazine as part of its annual Canada’s Top 100 Employers issue. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet. Both Vancity and Citizens Bank are guided by a commitment to corporate social responsibility, and to helping members and communities thrive and prosper.