Vancouver City Savings Credit Union has announced its commitment to net-zero carbon emissions across its entire lending portfolio, making it the first Canadian financial institution to do so.
With an “ambitious initial target” for cutting emissions by 2025, the company pledged to reach the goal by 2040, 10 years ahead of the global target set by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The IPCC previously said that by 2030, humanity must cut its carbon emissions to around 45% of 2010 levels if it is to reach net zero by 2060.
Vancity has also announced that it will be financing an equitable climate transition, investing in green technology, and ensuring greater transparency and accountability.
“The financial sector must play a central role supporting the shift to a low-carbon economy that is clean and fair for everyone,” said Christine Bergeron, the credit union’s interim president and CEO.
Bergeron said that this is consistent with Vancity’s long-running stance against systemic inequity and climate change.
“It won’t be easy to meet our commitments, but the days of business as usual are over,” Bergeron told BCBusiness. “We must all do more if we want to address the urgent challenge that’s taking place around us.”
These commitments stemmed from Vancity’s participation as a signatory and board member of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking and the Collective Commitment to Climate Action. The company is also a member of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials.
Vancity has been a pioneer in stewardship initiatives, having launched Canada’s first socially responsible investment fund in 1986. It was also the first North American financial institution to become carbon-neutral across its internal operations, making the shift in 2008.