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Vancity joins the UN’s Collective Commitment to Climate Action and Principles for Responsible Banking

Vancity is the first Canadian bank or credit union to join global commitment to climate action

Monday, March 9, 2020, Unceded territories of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations/Vancouver B.C. —In an effort to broaden and deepen its long-standing commitment to environmental leadership in the finance sector and help support global action on climate change, Vancity today announced it has joined the United Nations' (UN) Collective Commitment to Climate Action. The announcement is a first for a Canadian financial institution and follows the credit union’s role as a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking.

In signing the UN Commitment, Vancity joins 36 global financial institutions that collectively control over $13 trillion (USD) in assets. This latest commitment complements the credit union’s support of other global efforts, like the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, that aim to create systemic change at the international level.

United Nations Collective Commitment to Climate Action

The UN Collective Commitment to Climate Action sets out concrete and time-bound actions for Vancity and the rest of the financial institutions involved to scale up their contribution to and align their lending with the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate, including:

  • aligning Vancity’s portfolios to reflect and finance the low-carbon, climate-resilient economy required to limit global warming to well-below 2 degrees Celsius, striving for 1.5 degrees;
  • taking concrete action, within a year of joining, and using Vancity products, services and client relationships to facilitate the economic transition required to achieve climate neutrality;
  • being publicly accountable for climate impact and progress on these commitments.

The UN Collective Commitment to Climate Action is the farthest-reaching commitment to climate alignment by the financial sector to date, and the commitment sets a 12-month deadline for signatory institutions to publish and roll out measures that will support a transition to a climate-resilient economy. Other signatories include: Triodos Bank, Banco Promerica, Amalgamated Bank, Santander, and KBC Bank. The full text of the Collective Commitment to Climate Action and all participating Banks is available here.

Vancity’s record of environmental leadership:

  • 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.
  • More on Vancity’s environmental record can be found here

Quote from Tamara Vrooman, CEO, Vancity:

“Financial institutions have an enormous economic and political footprint. And we should rally that influence to take on the crisis facing our planet. When we decide today who we loan to and who we don’t, and when we engage members on reducing their own emissions, we are also creating the future we will leave to the generation that follows us,” said Vancity President and CEO Tamara Vrooman.

“Vancity is proud to be a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, and the first Canadian financial institution to join the Collective Commitment to Climate Action. Joining this global initiative will enable Vancity to accelerate and deepen its commitment to building a better and more sustainable world,” Vrooman said.

United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking

Vancity is one of the signatories of the Principles for Responsible Banking, outlined by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) in September of 2019.

The UN Principles for Responsible Banking support banks in committing to strategically align their business with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the sustainable development goals and to massively scale up their contribution to the achievement of both. The Principles are supported by a strong implementation framework that defines clear accountabilities and requires each bank to set, publish, and work toward ambitious targets. More on the Principles can be found here.

Additional information

About Vancity

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 543,000 member-owners and their communities, with offices and 60 branches located in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay, within the unceded territories of the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw people. With $28.2 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union. Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

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