As greenhouse gas emissions continue to warm our planet, more and more businesses are making it a priority to reduce emissions to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Vancity, Canada’s largest community credit union, believes the climate crisis requires immediate action and that financial institutions have a critical role to play in transitioning to a clean economy.
The credit union works with its members and partners to support an equitable climate transition that is accessible and includes everyone.
Which is why they have created the Planet Wise Business Guide for Climate Action to help businesses get started on their own low carbon journey.
“The aim of the guide is to help our business members, and really any interested business, respond to the climate crisis by taking actions that reduce, or avoid generating, greenhouse gas emissions,” chief external relations officer Jonathan Fowlie says.
“If you are a small business right now, let’s be real. You just carried your business through a pandemic, you’re facing supply chain issues and inflation. There are a lot of pressures on your business. Even if you’re a business owner who wants to be a part of a low carbon future, it can be intimidating to know what the right steps are.”
The guide provides practical takeaways for businesses to enact changes that will help them reduce their emissions in a way that will also provide benefits to their own companies in terms of cost savings and attracting customers and talent.
Vancity also offers its business members $1000 scholarships to work with Climate Smart to measure their greenhouse gas emissions and identify their best opportunities to reduce them.
In addition to contributing to a brighter future, Vancity offers these additional reasons why taking climate action will benefit your business:
Increase efficiencies to cut costs
Creating operating efficiencies can cut your organization’s operating costs.
For example, increasing the energy-efficiency of buildings or reducing excessive paper use can not only reduce waste but also reduce your overhead costs.
Get ahead of regulation
“We anticipate regulations that will be coming from all areas of government that will move sectors to low carbon,” Fowlie says.
“If you start now and get ahead of what you’re doing, it will be a smoother transition and a more affordable one.”
Now is the time to take advantage of government rebates to support energy-efficiency building upgrades, efficient or low-carbon vehicles and equipment.
Engage employees and attract talent
The current talent crunch is forcing organizations to be more creative in the incentives they offer current and prospective employees.
“In this tight talent market, people want to work with organizations that hold the same values they do,” Fowlie says.
A recent study of office workers found 65% of respondents said that they were more likely to work for a company with strong environmental facilities. A commitment to climate action is particularly important for Millennial and Gen Z workers.
Attract customers that share your values
“There has been a lot of research that customers are voting with their dollars. They want to support businesses that align with their values,” Fowlie says.
A growing number of customers are increasingly concerned with ensuring their dollars go to companies who are working to do good. A 2020 survey by Vancity found that 73% of Canadians said that a businesses’ climate record matters to them when making a purchase.
“There are a lot of challenges, but at the same time there are lots of opportunities,” Fowlie says.
“People are spending with values in mind. Embedding climate considerations into your business will improve the planet, our communities, and your bottom line.”
To learn more about how your business can take climate action today, visit www.vancity.com/BusinessBanking/ResourceCentre/Planet-Wise-Climate-Change-Guide.