Message from the Chair.

Rita Parikh, Chair, Vancity Board of Directors
Rita Parikh

A transformed economy that protects the earth and guarantees equity for all: that’s the North-Star vision towards which your Board is steering Vancity.

And in a year marked by devastating weather events and deepening economic, social, and political cleavages, the Board remains committed to realizing this vision.

The Board’s governance function has particular importance in times of uncertainty. Vancity’s commitment to Reconciliation, justice and equity, and to systemic change provides both an anchor and direction. How Vancity, as your trusted financial institution, works on your behalf – to steward our collective assets, tackle the affordability crisis, and support your needs for sustainable livelihoods and communities – is our key focus.

Vancity’s strategy has centred on offering you the best possible financial advice so you can better navigate the sudden increase in basic living costs as well as the challenges we’re seeing in investment markets. In 2022, we brought on more financial advisors to help members with critical financial decisions.

Vancity also continued to work closely with the local businesses at the heart of our communities. Sixty-eight per cent of our procurement spending – about $88 million – went to local businesses. We offer financing to help business members reduce their emissions through building retrofits, equipment purchases, clean transportation, and other energy-saving products and technologies. And we are extending our partnership with the Green Business BC certification program, an initiative that certifies and promotes business members that meet environmental standards. We are subsidizing our members’ costs of certification, and helping the program expand from Vancouver Island across the province.

At the heart of Vancity’s people-centred commitment to economic transformation is our identity as a co-operative.”

Vancity’s strategy also included ramping up our work in our communities by supporting the development of more affordable housing for both renters and owners, and by partnering with climate experts to offer our members insights on housing retrofits. Importantly, Vancity returns 30 per cent of our net profits to members and local change organizations that are working to strengthen financial health, equity, climate resilience, and climate justice.

As Vancity’s vision demands, our strategy must support economic development that protects the planet. Thus, we were the first financial institution in Canada to announce our aim to bring the greenhouse gas emissions we finance through our loans and mortgages to net zero by 2040. In 2022, that meant supporting and investing in businesses that are not just climate resilient, but also actively competitive in the green economy. It also meant centring the realities and needs of the most vulnerable in our communities as we work towards cutting our greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. That meant recognizing how historic and entrenched economic, racial, and gender inequities make mitigating, adapting, and responding to climate impacts much harder. Vancity’s strategy is to create paths so that every one of us can be part of the transition.

At the heart of Vancity’s people-centred commitment to economic transformation is our identity as a co-operative. The co-operative model is old, but it nonetheless continues to present among the most disruptive economic alternatives available. This model insists that your financial institution maximizes value to you, rather than profits to faraway shareholders. It focuses our attention on the communities in which we live and work, and on leveraging opportunities to strengthen these communities. And it directs a spotlight towards the larger co-operative ecosystem. In 2022, we contributed $1.2 million to strengthen co-operatives, including the BC Co-op Association and the Canadian Worker Co-op Federation. Playing a greater role in realizing the transformative potential of co-operatives is a major Board priority for 2023.

Our vision is a hopeful one. And one that is possible. The Board remains committed to ensuring that Vancity works on your behalf towards the clean and fair world we all deserve – and need.

Signature of Rita Parikh

Rita Parikh
Chair, Vancity Board of Directors