Citizens Bank is carbon neutral

By reducing and reducing CO2 emissions and purchasing high-quality offsets, as part of the Vancity Group, Citizens Bank of Canada is the first North-American based bank to become carbon neutral!

Why we did it

In 2006, the Vancity Group made a public commitment to be carbon neutral by 2010. As the public’s appetite for action on climate change became stronger, it was clear that the environment shouldn’t have to wait. So we stepped up our efforts and are very proud to report that we’ve reached our goal – two years ahead of schedule! As of December 31, 2007, the Vancity Group, including Citizens Bank, is officially a carbon neutral organization.

How we did it

Our first step was to measure our carbon footprint, which comes primarily from employee commuting (44%), energy use (25%), paper use (14%), and other travel, including air travel (17%).

Next, in addition to the myriad ways we’ve been reducing our emissions since our inception, we dug deeper to make further reductions. Today, our carbon emissions per employee are 50% lower than the average Canadian financial institution.

After all those reductions, we offset our remaining emissions for the Vancity Group, which last year was 6,000 tonnes, or the equivalent of the emissions produced by 1,200 cars in a year. We worked with the Pembina Institute to purchase quality offsets from alternative energy projects in British Columbia and internationally. Then, the entire process was audited by an external expert to ensure our carbon neutral claim was sincere.

We did it and so can you

We’d like to give you the tools you need to reduce your impact on the environment too. A great place to start is with the David Suzuki Foundation’s Nature Challenge, which helps businesses and individuals make sustainable decisions about the public action they take, the way they get around and the energy they use.

To date, more than 350,000 individuals have joined the Nature Challenge Community and have made personal commitments to protecting Canada’s legacy for the future. The Nature Challenge Team will keep you entertained and informed about the latest environmental news and help you simplify your life with practical tips.

Best of all, participation is fast, fun and free! Sign up and help do something positive to reduce our ecological footprint.

Take a look at some of the ways we achieved carbon neutrality.

Reducing our emissions – a lifelong journey

While we may have reached an important milestone, reducing our own footprint is only the beginning of a lifelong journey. This year and in the years to come, our focus is on staying carbon neutral and on finding new and creative ways to reduce our emissions.