VANCOUVER, B.C. – The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) initiated the Climate Influencers Network at the 2023 World Credit Union Conference on Tuesday. The network comprises over 20 global credit union leaders who gathered to address climate resilience priorities.
The summit covered a range of topics including sustainable finance regulations, financing access for green products and services, and the need to sensitize credit union executives, particularly in developing nations, about climate-resilient products and services.
Thomas Belekevich, WOCCU Director of Member Services, expressed his optimism on the growing involvement of credit unions in environmental awareness and restoration, green lending, and decarbonization strategies. “If we can show leadership in this space, I think we have a great opportunity to increase the relevance of credit unions around the world,” he stated.
Feedback from the summit will shape the Climate Influencers Network agenda, highlighting the importance of addressing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues. The need for increased climate resilience and sustainable finance efforts was also voiced by more than 100 WCUC 2023 attendees.
Brent Clode, Chief Investment Officer at Central 1 Credit Union, called for stronger industry-wide sustainability communication in Canada, while Megan Long, FCAC Director at First West Credit Union, encouraged credit unions to engage their members in crafting their sustainability strategies, aligning with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The conference also included a beach cleanup at Vancouver’s Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon, a community service effort hosted by WOCCU and Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions in partnership with Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup. Among the 50 credit union representatives participating were Alison Bedard, Chair of the Supervisory Committee at Greylock Federal Credit Union, and Abubakar Sadiq Ibrahim, General Manager of Islamic Cooperative Credit Union from Ghana, both echoing the sentiment of practicing the sustainability they preach.
This unprecedented initiative by the WOCCU not only underlines the commitment of credit unions towards environmental sustainability but also sets a precedent for financial institutions globally, inspiring action on climate resilience and sustainable finance.