For over 80 years, Bulkley Valley Credit Union (BVCU) has provided banking services for families and business owners across Northern BC. Its deeply rooted relationship with local communities dates to its foundation as a financial cooperative by a group of local farmers. Since then, the organization has grown in size and numbers, with facilities today serving 14,000 members from Burns Lake to the Hazeltons.

With growth came the need to address new challenges and responsibilities. So, when BVCU decided to explore the impact of its operations to safeguard healthy and sustainable communities, they approached Prism Engineering for support and guidance.

“Caring for healthy and sustainable communities has always been important for BVCU as it has and will continue to be the reason why we exist. As a member owned financial cooperative, we exist for the sole benefit of members and their communities,” explains Mohamed Ladak, Chief Operating Officer at BVCU.

“We chose Prism as a well-known leader in the energy management and sustainability consulting space in further helping us achieve our mission”, he adds.

With a diverse team of experts in areas such as sustainability, climate action and energy management, Prism created a holistic program to help BVCU assess its corporate operations and develop a strategy for reducing GHG emissions and improving sustainability performance.

“We helped BVCU understand aspects of their current environmental impact, while creating a strategy for making future improvements aligned with their mission as a credit union,” says Nicole Huard, Sustainability and Climate Action Specialist at Prism.

Up to 70% in GHG emissions reduction

The first step in our work with BVCU was to understand and monitor energy consumption patterns over time. By using PUMA Utility Monitoring Services, BVCU was able to analyze its utility bills and use the data to make more informed decisions to achieve energy and carbon management goals.

In addition, our Energy Team conducted energy audits to identify major areas of energy waste or inefficiency across all BVCU’s six locations in Northern BC. With buildings constructed between 1983 and 2007, and some renovations in between, this was a crucial phase of the project since some equipment was already at end of life and in need of an informed decision for replacement.

By using our 6-Step Approach to GHG Reduction, Prism was able to make recommendations for measures that could achieve a total of 70% GHG emission reduction across all sites, with the potential of saving 32% of annual utility costs in comparison to 2020 data.

Creating an ESG Strategy

The next phase of our work involved our Sustainability Team working side by side with BVCU’s senior leadership, staff, and members of the board to create an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy for the organization.

This work included stakeholder engagement surveys, webinars and workshops to understand which focus areas were most important for BVCU to act on, and then identified actions to support the organization in making the impact they envisioned in the ESG plan for their community.

“BVCU’s team brought a lot of passion for sustainability and ideas for improvement to the table, resulting in a long wish list of positive impacts they would like to make. With so many great ideas it was challenging to reduce the focus to just a few,” says Nicole.

The outcome of our work was a finalized ESG strategy for BVCU, including a plan for GHG reduction through our audits, summarized in the figure below:

Guide for future work

With the findings of the studies and an implementation plan for ESG in place, BVCU can now take action to achieve their goals and monitor progress along the way, reporting back to stakeholders on an annual basis.

“In partnership with Prism, we now have an ESG strategy in place with a clearly defined action plan/roadmap. With ESG Champions in each of our physical locations and the findings from the studies, we’re now able to identify what we need to prioritize with passion and commitment,” says Mohamed Ladak.


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Photo: Bulkley Valley by Shawn, Flickr Creative Commons