Which of the 17 SDGs is your organization working towards and actively promoting?

Please describe the actions/objectives towards achieving the SDGs that you have selected above.

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 525,000 member-owners and their communities in the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw territories, with 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay. With $26.4 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union.

Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. Much of what Vancity’s strategy focuses on addresses several of the SDGs and their targets.

Living wage: Remaining a Living Wage Employer and advocating for other employers in our service area to join us in the Living Wage for Families Campaign and the international Living Wage movement (SDG targets 1.2, 8.5)

Access: Increasing the number of people assisted with products and services designed to provide access to basic financial services, affordable housing, credit and credit repair to 35,000 members per year by 2030 (1.4, 8.10, 11.1)

Diversity: Building a diverse workforce and leadership with equal pay for work of equal value, and increasingly reflecting composition of the communities in which we work (5.5, 8.5)

Financial literacy: Continuing to promote financial literacy to improve the knowledge, skills and confidence of members (8.10)

Business: Supporting the establishment and growth of micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises through access to financial services and training (8.3)

Housing: Helping solve housing challenges to increase the number of affordable units available in our service area (11.1)

Triple bottom line assets: Increasing the percentage of members’ assets invested in impact to 50% of our total assets and assets under administration (11.1, 13.3)

Transparency: Continuing to disclose our significant economic, social and environmental impacts, including progress on SDG pledges made in the International Co-operative Alliance Co-ops for 2030 campaign, in our annual reporting (12.6, 17.19)

Lighter living: Supporting “lighter living” initiatives that foster more sustainable communities by encouraging us all to consume less, waste less, live more and share more. (12.6)

Climate: Reducing our average staff carbon footprint by 25% by 2030 (from 2016’s average of 2 tonnes CO2 equivalent per FTE per year of GHG) to 1.5 tonnes and using our own experience to teach our communities what can be done to have a greater impact on reducing footprints and adapting to climate change (13.3)

Measurement: Working with partners from the Global Alliance for Banking on Values to develop new metrics to measure well-being (17.9)

Please specify the impact of your organization’s actions on the SDGs that you have selected above?

Living wage: In 2017, Vancity recertified as a Living Wage Employer. This means we continue to make living wage adjustments in what we pays our own employees as well as working closely with key suppliers to have their employees providing direct services to Vancity paid a living wage. In 2017, we continued our work to bring other employers into the Living Wage for Families Campaign – we were pleased when the City of Vancouver became a Living Wage Employer in mid-2017. 

Access: Vancity assisted 22,695 people with products and services designed to provide access to basic financial services, affordable housing, credit and credit repair in 2017.

Diversity: In the fall of 2017, we introduced a program of Unconscious Bias training for all employees and 93 per cent completed it. Eight out of nine Vancity board members and 51% of senior management are female. Ten per cent of our employees self-identify as having a disability. We have set a target to increase the percentage of employees who self-identify as Indigenous.

Financial literacy: In 2017, Vancity and our community partners delivered 6,995 free financial literacy workshops. We also shared our financial literacy workshop model with 85 credit unions across Canada.

Business: We helped 626 people with skills building workshops for new businesses and provided 48 new microloans in 2017. 

Housing: In 2017, we funded an additional 2,907 units of affordable housing. We collaborate with others to support affordable housing: e.g. to provide low-cost and patient pre-development loans to not-for-profit organizations to support the development of affordable rental housing projects.

Triple bottom line assets: This is a composite measure of the percentage of on- and off-balance sheet assets invested in impact. In 2017, 23.7% of Vancity’s capital was specifically allocated towards building healthy communities. Examples include investments in a not-for-profit owned affordable housing project, a female-owned daycare and an Indigenous-owned green power company.

Transparency: We disclose our significant economic, social and environmental impacts, including progress on SDG pledges made in the International Co-operative Alliance Co-ops for 2030 campaign, in our annual reports. We also support credible reporting as members of the GRI GOLD community and the International Integrated Reporting Council’s Integrated Reporting Business Network.

Lighter living: Five per cent of Vancity enviro™ Visa card profits go to the Vancity enviroFund™ program. Investments we make in 2018-2022 will support local businesses, organizations and non-profits that are helping our communities find the innovative solutions we need to consume less, and live happier and well-balanced lives.

Climate: We reduced GHG emissions to 2.0 tonnes of CO2e per full-time equivalent employee in 2017 from 2.3 in 2007. Vancity has been noted as a leader for our proactive approach to the provision of electric vehicle charging and we are exploring partnerships with municipalities to further expand our impact. In 2017, we added climate risk to our risk oversight.

Measurement: Our partners from the Global Alliance for Banking on Values continue to work with us to develop new metrics, including a values-based banking scorecard.

Does your organization engage in any partnerships to advance the SDGs?

Yes. In 2016, Vancity joined the International Co-operative Alliance’s Co-ops for 2030 campaign.

We work with many other credit unions and community and corporate partners. We engage with all levels of government and we use our convening power to further the development of healthy communities. Here are a few our many partnerships from 2017 not already mentioned above: B.C. Rental Housing Coalition, Federal Advisory Committee on Poverty, Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Action Group, Council for Clean Capitalism, Pembina partnership for a low carbon economy, Federal Co-creation Steering Committee on Social Innovation and Social Finance, Reconciliation Canada.

How are you communicating and measuring your impact towards the SDGs?

Vancity’s integrated annual reports include a table and SDG logos throughout the text to show specific examples of how Vancity’s work locally is helping to achieve the global goals.

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