Climate Friendly Banking shows how your money can make an impact.

Climate Friendly BankingOne of the advantages of getting Google Alerts for your company is that you find nuggets like this.

The Rainforest Action Network has investigated the contribution that Canada’s big FIs make to climate change. Their site, Climate Friendly Banking, goes beyond the actual greenhouse gas emissions from the FIs’ operations to quantifying the lending and financing they provide to the fossil fuel industry, which in Alberta is particularly polluting.

The enormous financial commitments made by Canada’s five biggest banks – RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, CIBC and BMO – to fossil fuel production, namely oil and coal operations, inextricably links them to the fueling of global climate change. Banks are the lifeblood of the fossil fuel industry…

“Financing Global Warming: Canadian Banks and Fossil Fuels” is the first report to analyze and quantify the greenhouse gas emissions of seven leading Canadian banks – the aforementioned banks as well as Desjardins and Vancity – based on their financing of fossil fuels…

Canada’s top banks provided more than $155 billion in total corporate financing for fossil fuel extraction in Canada and internationally in 2007.

It’s a very intriguing way to look at this issue. I’ve said repeatedly that one of the main reasons I love working at Vancity is when you get to how financing affects the community, you get to the root cause of a lot of issues and can be an instrumental force for progress. Here’s one conclusion they draw.

Moving $10,000 from Scotiabank, the highest-carbon footprint bank, to Vancity, the low-carbon bank leader, avoids an amount of financed CO2 (1,430 kg CO2) comparable to:

  • not driving a small car for five months;
  • replacing an average car with one that gets 33 percent better gas mileage;
  • eliminating seven two-hour airplane flights per year.

That’s powerful stuff. They have a calculator to figure out how your deposits at a Canadian FI affect climate change. I truly believe that more and more consumers (though by no means most) will include factors like this into their consumer decision-making.

The site has several versions of the report, from a one pager to the full 294 page report. Well worth checking out.

I was particularly proud of this sentence:

…Vancity stands out as the only Canadian bank profiled in this study that provided no corporate loans or direct investments to fossil fuel producers.

Now that’s a company I want to work for.

Thanks to Dan Dickinson for sending this my way.

Vancity is carbon neutral.

Vancity is carbon neutral
There are so many reasons why I love working at Vancity, and now I have another really big one.

We announced today, after having it externally audited and verified, that as of December 31, 2007 Vancity is offically carbon neutral. In fact, we are the first North American financial institution to become carbon neutral.

So what does that mean?

It means we’ve tracked our footprint to assess the amount of carbon we emit.

Then we focused on reducing our emissions as much as we possibly could.

And finally, whatever carbon emissions we could not reduce, we purchased high quality local offsets to bring us to carbon neutrality.

This is a huge accomplishment and has been a major focus of the company for quite some time. In fact, we achieved our goal a full two years ahead of schedule by getting our employees across the organization involved and engaged in the issue.

A truly great announcement, and I imagine we’ll garner quite a bit of press coverage about it.

Vancity is carbon neutralI especially love our new limited-time carbon neutral logo on the website.