Feb 10 2014

Improving Social and Environmental Sustainability: A Credit Union Assessment and Comparison

Improving sustainability performance is a desirable goal for many credit unions.  As consumer priorities evolve, it makes strategic sense for credit unions to double down on sustainability, because their governance and field-of-membership orientation already fulfills many of the items on the sustainability checklist. This report provides key insights and lessons learned from a study that assessed various social and environmental aspects of nine credit unions. 

Honeyman compares the average credit union assessment score with the average score of 15 retail banks. The assessment scores are aggregated using the B Impact Assessment tool and considers factors such as governance, sustainable sourcing, land usage, community engagement, job creation, and management communication. The studied credit unions outperformed sustainable banks in important categories such as worker compensation and benefits, and enterprise-wide recycling. Nevertheless, there’s room for improvement. 

This report can help credit unions identify where focus efforts should be directed in regards to social and environmental performance. As mission-driven organizations, credit unions are in a unique position to influence member behavior. Credit unions’ biggest impact may in fact be the influence they have on their members’ ability to make not only smart financial choices but also choices that impact the environment and society.

Report Number 317