Preserving and Protecting the Environment Is Top Priority for Credit Unions on Earth Day

In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, credit unions across the region made working to preserve and protect the planet a priority by announcing environmental and sustainability initiatives and making donations to local non-profits.

Oregon-based OnPoint Community Credit Union donated $100,000 to local nonprofits working to preserve and protect the environment, natural resources, and wildlife in Oregon and southwest Washington. The donation is part of OnPoint’s Green Horizons initiative that launched in 2021 to help empower the credit union’s members and employees to care for the planet. This year’s beneficiaries, including The Nature Conservancy in Oregon, Friends of Trees, McKenzie River Trust, and Columbia Slough Watershed Council, received $25,000 each.

“Partnering with organizations like OnPoint helps us achieve our mission to protect and care for Oregon’s lands and rivers,” said Elizabeth Goward, Community Engagement Manager for the Trust. “We are grateful for the supportive partnership and look forward to continuing our work to protect important places, connect people to the outdoors, and ensure a vibrant future for the land, water, and people of western Oregon.”

“Earth Day is a powerful reminder of how critical it is to preserve our planet for future generations,” said Rob Stuart, President and CEO, OnPoint Community Credit Union. “The Green Horizons initiative is OnPoint’s commitment to giving our community the opportunity to make a difference while amplifying the work of local organizations dedicated to protecting our planet. We are proud to support these four incredible organizations that are at the forefront of environmental conservation.”

OnPoint’s Green Horizons initiative also provides members with financing discounts on electric or hybrid vehicles and solar panels, partners with local environmental nonprofits, and offers employees telecommuting programs, volunteer opportunities and environmental education. Since its launch, OnPoint has donated more than $500,000 to local nonprofits working to create a more sustainable future.

Unitus Community Credit Union, also based in Oregon, celebrated Earth Day with the launch of its new Environmental and Sustainability Action Plan, which consists of five key pillars: Environmentally Responsible Business Practices; Waste Reduction; Energy and Resource Conservation; Member and Community Support; and Crisis Preparedness.

Unitus is partnering with the United in Sustainability – A Credit Union Network, an organization committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs are part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, today and in the future. This partnership will allow Unitus to collaborate with other credit unions and organizations to develop best practice innovations and multiply the impact. The credit union is also working closely with Inclusiv’s Center for Resiliency and Clean Energy.

“Implementing this work at the local level will have far-reaching implications for our global community,” explained Steven Stapp, President and CEO of Unitus Community Credit Union. “As we build the foundation of our sustainability efforts, we’re evaluating all the ways we have already acted to effect change while planning future strategies to protect our environment, our collective wellbeing, and the dwindling natural resources around the world.”

While Unitus formally launched this initiative on Earth Day, the credit union has already started its sustainability work. The credit union opens the Unitus Business Center – Tigard on April 29, which serves as a corporate model for sustainability efforts with its five acres of protected wetlands, construction using recycled materials and furniture, living plants in all workspaces to promote clean air, and limited waste by repurposing materials during demolition.

Unitus has also begun several other environmentally responsible business practices including eliminating paper, supplying facilities with reusable dishes, offering remote work flexibility, implementing a ride-share program, providing funds for employee transit, using energy-efficient lighting and other infrastructure, and offering financial products to help employees and members purchase energy-efficient vehicles, bikes, and home enhancements. Unitus became the first Credit Union to receive Gold Certification from the City of Portland’s Sustainability at Work program in 2018.

Posted in Oregon, Regional Member News.