Financing an equitable climate transition

Unaddressed, 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.

Why we’re doing this

The climate emergency will affect all of us, changing the way we live, work and play. However, some of us are more vulnerable to its impacts, and will bear more of its burdens, while others are better positioned to adapt their lives to the clean economy of the future. This is a systemic gap, born from economic inequality, which the climate crisis threatens to make worse.

For the climate transition to succeed, we must all be in a position to reduce our emissions and to fully participate in the clean economy that follows. And financial institutions have the means to help reduce barriers and enable people to make the changes necessary to get through the climate crisis.

The Vancity advantage

Through our COVID response, Vancity demonstrated how a financial institution can use its products and services to carry people through an emergency. The climate crisis will require a similar approach. The difference is that we know the crisis is coming, and can therefore develop a systemic and longer-term response before it’s too late.

Vancity was built to do this. Since our founding, we’ve used the tools of finance to improve wellbeing and level the playing field by reducing barriers to economic participation. The climate crisis will exploit the same barriers that have long posed challenges to peoples’ wellbeing, but we have several decades of experience confronting these barriers. We will draw on this experience to help members and communities confront the climate crisis and its impacts.

Our focus now will be understanding the coming changes and how we can best empower our members and communities to weather the storm and fully participate in a clean and fair new economy.

Actions to date

2020

We launched Planet-Wise, a suite of refreshed products offering financing options for clean vehicles and active transportation, environmentally sustainable renovations, and eco-efficiency for businesses and nonprofits.

We responded to the COVID pandemic by using multiple products and services to help members withstand the financial impacts of the pandemic.

2018

We launched a new five-year focus on lighter living for the Vancity enviroFundTM, awarding grants to initiatives that support sustainable consumption and production practices in our communities.

2014

With the Vancity Fair & Fast LoanTM we became one of the first mainstream financial institutions to offer a lower-interest alternative to payday loans, helping loanees break the cycle of debt.

2005

We created a new micro-credit toolkit for non-profit organizations serving new immigrants, endorsed by microfinance pioneer and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Muhammad Yunus in 2006.

2003

We became the first financial institution in Canada to offer a low-interest loan encouraging the purchase of low-emissions vehicles, the Clean Air Auto Loan.

1990

We established enviroFundTM, becoming the first in Canada to dedicate a portion of VISA profits to grants for local sustainability initiatives.

Our commitments

Net-zero by 2040

Our 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.

Investing in a better future

We will help our members invest for the future we need by offering only responsible investment options that can demonstrate the integrity of their ESG screening and stewardship process.

Be transparent and accountable

We 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 do

We 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.