Values-based banks are intentional in creating social and environmental impact. It’s why they exist, and this intentionality guides everything they do.
Building a stronger workforce to strengthen the clean economy
A values-based bank can grow to become the largest community credit union in Canada. Vancity makes a perfect example of being intentional throughout their climate and community focussed projects for Indigenous people in Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw territories. To fully live up to its values, the bank has launched various educational program funds to encourage and train indigenous women working in the green economy, and partnering with green building development to finance geothermal technology, resulting in a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions – a step closer to its Net Zero by 2040 Commitment. Evidently, Vancity recently tops the Sustainable Banking Revenues Ranking, produced with Corporate Knights and The Banker.
In Canada, the labour market faced a challenge of a shortage of skilled workers. Vancity launched the Electrical Joint Training Committee training programs – helping youth, indigenous and newcomer apprentices to develop essential skills for a career in the clean energy trade. It also aims to create a diverse and inclusive workforce as women and different racial groups were seldom let into the industry previously.
This worker-centred approach goes hand in hand with the bank’s set goal on Net Zero by 2040. Building a stronger workforce is to strengthen the clean economy as a whole. On the other hand, Vancity is making climate-impacting decisions on every loan and investments they carefully choose. As a significant source of emissions generated from Vancity’s general business loans is related to the construction and renovation of buildings, they make sure that emissions reductions target is in scope of what they lend to and invest in.
In addition, the bank also financed $3.8 million to Geox Energy Ltd which operates geoexchange heat pumps. Together they achieved a goal to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions of 554 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Christine Bergeron, President and CEO of Vancity says: “If we want to build a healthier, greener world for future generations, we have to make sure the road we take to get there is a fair one. Drastically reducing the carbon in the atmosphere and adapting to climate change will have a profound effect on the way of life, and livelihoods, of many people.”