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 communities. We will do our part across our operations to contribute to a just climate transition.
Why we’re doing this
Being a values-based organization means being true to our values in everything we do: how we serve our members, how we treat our employees, how we operate and run our business, and what we do in the community around us.
This belief has guided us since our founding. It’s the reason we’ve always extended financial services to people turned away by other financial institutions and worked to help build economic resilience in local communities. It’s why we’ve been a leader among Canadian financial institutions and other large organizations on issues like the Living Wage, employee wellbeing and Reconciliation. And it’s why we’re now working to become an anti-racist organization.
The Vancity advantage
The climate crisis is more than an environmental emergency. It’s also a human one. That’s why we believe the work of removing barriers and empowering our members and communities to succeed in transitioning to a fair and clean economy starts from the inside.
This means we will continue to serve as a living lab for new ideas for reducing emissions. We will continue to find ways to help our employees model cleaner and more sustainable living. We will continue to work to ensure our members feel well-served by us and eager to work with us through the climate transition. And we will continue to work to remove those systemic barriers and inequities that the climate crisis will further exploit.
Actions to date
Vancity Centre (our corporate office in Vancouver) received a LEEDTM Gold certification, a rarity for buildings in LEED’s Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EB:OM) category. Nine Vancity branches have also achieved LEED certifications so far.
We joined the 50-30 Challenge, committing to have at least gender parity, and at least 30% presence of IBPOC, LGBTQ and people living with disabilities, on our Board and Executive Leadership Team.
We committed to the BlackNorth Initiative pledge to end systemic anti-Black racism in Canada.
We were the first financial institution to achieve a “Gold” rating for accessibility from the Rick Hansen Foundation for Vancity Centre and the Burnaby Heights community branch.
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.
We adopted the Call to Action for business contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as a framework for meaningful reconciliation.
At the invitation of Pope Francis, our President & CEO presented our values-based banking model at The Global Common Good: Towards a More Inclusive Economy, a Vatican conference where global leaders discussed inclusive economic models that put people first.
We provided $1 million to help build the world’s first fully-integrated refugee centre - the Welcome House Centre, in partnership with the Immigrant Services Society of BC.
Our President & CEO was among the seven founding CEOs of the Council for Clean Capitalism. The founders committed to incorporating ecological benefits and costs into their business practices.
Since 2011, we have been a staple of Corporate Knights’ top-50 Corporate Citizens in Canada lists, heading the list 3 times and finishing top-2 for six years running. We have been the top financial institution on the list 7 times (including 2020), and a top-3 financial institution since 2011.
We became the largest organization in Canada to adopt the Living Wage policy.
We joined The Global Alliance for Banking on Values, an independent network of banks using finance to deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental development. We hosted the GABV’s annual conference in 2012 and its first global summit in 2019.
Victoria’s Dockside Green development, spearheaded by Vancity, became the world’s first LEED® Platinum community and the first ‘greenhouse gas positive’ community in North America. It set world records for Platinum ratings for both LEED® for Core and Shell (LEED®-CS) and for Stage 2 LEED® for Neighborhood Development (LEED® ND).
We were the first North American based financial institution to become carbon-neutral in its operations.
We launched Each One Teach One, a staff-delivered financial literacy program helping community members develop confidence and competence in managing their finances
We launched Canada’s first carbon offset program to invest in, and coach, Canadian non-profit and co-operative organizations doing breakthrough work in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
We launched the first Lower Mainland bike sharing initiative.
We partnered with PHS Community Services to operate Pigeon Park Savings in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, helping bring financial services to low-income residents.
We were the first Canadian company to be named among North America's top 10 psychologically healthy workplaces by the American Psychological Association.
We were the first Canadian financial institution to market to the gay and lesbian community through mainstream advertising featuring real-life members of this community.
We awarded $1M towards what would become the Central Valley Greenway, a much-used greenway running from New Westminster to Vancouver.
We launched Canada’s first Community Investment Deposit, providing 1% below normal interest rates which was then passed on for community projects.
We introduced Plan 24, Canada’s first daily interest savings account.
We became the first financial institution in Canada to provide mortgages to women without requiring a male co-signer.
Vancity was founded as the first financial institution to provide mortgages to people living in Vancouver’s working-class east end.
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.
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.
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.