Vancity sets ambitious climate commitments with aim to achieve net-zero by 2040
UNCEDED TERRITORIES OF MUSQUEAM, SQUAMISH AND TSLEIL-WAUTUTH NATIONS and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Building on decades of leadership on environmental sustainability and issues of social and economic inclusion, Vancity today announced five ambitious commitments to address the global climate crisis.
One of the commitments is to target net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 across the credit union’s entire lending portfolio, making it the first financial institution in Canada to commit to outpacing the global target called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) by 10 years. The five commitments focus on building community resilience by strengthening local economies and addressing systemic inequities to support a just climate transition.Social and environmental sustainability have long been at the centre of Vancity’s business model going back to its founding as a credit union. These commitments build on many years of climate action, going further to help build a future that is clean and fair for everyone.The five commitments, integrated into Vancity’s business strategy, include:Net-zero by 2040Our ambition is to make Vancity net-zero by 2040 across all our mortgages and loans. That means the carbon emitted from anything we finance will be eliminated or significantly reduced, with any remaining emissions being brought to net-zero. We’ll start this work by setting our first target for 2025.Financing an equitable climate transitionUnaddressed, climate change – like the pandemic – will change how we work and live, and will drive further inequality. We will focus our work in financial and social inclusion to provide banking and other solutions to help people who are affected by the climate emergency, as well as those seeking support in transitioning to cleaner and more sustainable living.Investing in a better futureWe will help our members invest for the future we need by offering only responsible investment options that can demonstrate the integrity of their Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) screening and stewardship process.Be transparent and accountableWe will encourage change within the financial services sector by accurately measuring and openly reporting on how our own actions are improving the well-being of people, communities and the environment. We aim to continue implementing, testing, and helping improve emerging international standards for climate and impact reporting.Walk the talk in all we doWe will live our values in our daily decision-making in order to serve the diverse needs of our members, staff, and our communities and do our part across our operations to contribute to a just climate transition.In the coming months, Vancity will finalize and release the roadmap for meeting these commitments, as well as the associated targets for measuring and assessing our progress. This includes setting an ambitious initial target for reducing emissions by 2025.Quote from Christine Bergeron, Interim President and CEO, Vancity:“The financial sector must play a central role supporting the shift to a low carbon economy that is clean and fair for everyone. Vancity has long been at the forefront of confronting systemic inequity and addressing climate change, and these commitments will help Vancity do its part to address the climate crisis by engaging our members and communities as a key part of the solution. It won’t be easy to meet our commitments, but the days of business as usual are over. We must all do more if we want to address the urgent challenge that’s taking place around us.”VideoWatch video in browserQuote from Jan O’Brien, Chair, Vancity Board:“Environmental devastation and inequality are two sides of the same global climate emergency. The board of directors knows that these ambitious climate commitments are crucial to Vancity’s impact and the long-term success of its communities. They build on years of work and we look forward to Vancity engaging the collective effort of its half a million members to do our part to address the crisis and make sure no one is left behind in a climate transition.” Vancity’s record on climate action:There has been much recognition in recent months from financial institutions that where we allocate our capital matters for our environment. Vancity has long championed climate action:It was the first financial institution in North America to become carbon neutral in 2008 across its internal operations;It was the provider of Canada’s first Socially Responsible Investment Fund in 1986;It 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;It is a signatory and board member of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking and the Collective Commitment to Climate Action, which commit Vancity to establishing specific, time-bound actions and targets to align our lending with the Paris Agreement on Climate;It is a member of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF), supporting the development of the Global Carbon Accounting Standard.
More about Vancity’s record and many “firsts” on climate action can be found here.Visit Rethink.vancity.com to read Vancity’s climate commitments in full.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 54 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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