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May 24 2007 Media Release

Vancity launches carbon offset program to invest in Canadian solutions to climate change

Vancouver, BC – May 24, 2007 – Vancity today launched a Carbon Offset Program to invest in Canadian solutions to climate change.

The program, designed in consultation with the David Suzuki Foundation, Ecotrust Canada, the Pembina Institute and The Natural Step, is the first of its kind in Canada. It will provide financial and coaching support to Canadian non-profit and co-operative organizations doing breakthrough work in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Financial support will include grants to organizations totalling $100,000 per year. The coaching will be provided by Vancity-approved project assessors with an expertise in carbon emissions who will work with the organizations to quantify the carbon reductions achieved by the projects.

Carbon offsets are reduction credits from another organization's project that result in less carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

In addition to funding these projects and building expertise in the emerging field of carbon offsetting, the offsets provided by the projects supported through Vancity's Carbon Offset Program will be used by Vancity to meet its corporate target of being carbon neutral by 2010.

Vancity has been taking action against climate change by reducing its emissions since the early ‘90s. Its carbon emissions per employees are 50 per cent lower than other Canadian financial institutions.

Three years ago, Vancity announced its plan to be carbon neutral by the Olympic year, and is well on its way to meeting this goal. This is being done through aggressive programs to reduce its corporate emissions and overall environmental footprint. What it can't reduce, it will offset by investing in projects that fight climate change.

"We're happy with what we've accomplished and we're committed to continuing to reduce," says Ellen Pekeles, Vancity's vice-president of Community Leadership.

Vancity has estimated that it will need to offset 4,500 tonnes of emissions per year to get its carbon impact down to zero. Traditionally, carbon offsets are purchased through an emissions reduction and trading system, such as the Chicago Climate Exchange. However, few of the projects available through these systems are Canadian.

"Vancity's Carbon Offset Program will not only support Canadian climate change innovation, but provide high quality, verifiable offsets for Vancity and ultimately, other businesses that are interested in offsetting the emissions they are unable to reduce," Pekeles says.

For Carbon Offset Program details and to inquire, go to:

Vancity is Canada's largest credit union, with $12.3 billion in assets, more than 360,000 members, and 50 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. 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 driving positive change, and to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.