Sustainability at BECU
Here's how we're making an impact this year.
Our Continuous Environmental Sustainability Journey
When it comes to sustainability, “Do the Right Thing” and “Own It” are two of the many values we embrace at BECU. Join the BECU community on our journey to tackle climate change. #bettertogether
The BECU way of life consists of working, living and playing by our community-enriching values. We recognize the urgency of the climate crisis. In response, we have continued developing programs and adopting practices with the goal of making a meaningful, positive impact on the environment.
Last year in 2022, we invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in sustainability efforts designed to help tackle climate change, and more broadly, to preserve our oceans and forests. Now in 2023, we're proud to share the positive impact we're continuing to make on our environment and community.
Three priority areas of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are the core drivers of our sustainability efforts at BECU:
- SDG 1, Environmental Justice.
- SDG 12, Waste Reduction & Circularity.
- SDG 13, Climate Change.
Here's a summary of what we're doing to support these sustainability efforts.
BECU staff volunteer annually at the Duwamish River cleanup event. This activity is designed to serve communities disproportionately affected and exposed to water pollution.
Our Environmental Sustainability Employee Resource Group (ERG) launched during Earth Month in 2022 and aims to take sustainability to the next level by designing 21st century strategies for long-term efforts and programs. The BECU Environmental Sustainability ERG brings together employees passionate about environmental sustainability across divisions to drive change from the ground up through advancing efforts in our three pillars of people, profit, and planet.
The Sustainability Department at BECU is building out the credit union's ESG (Environmental - Social - Governance) Strategy to aggregate all sustainability related activities in one centralized location. The goal is to provide insights to help inform decision-making about ESG initiatives and opportunities.
Since BECU has several environmentally sustainable initiatives in progress; our SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) across the organization are helping to lay the foundation by sharing relevant content (i.e., BECU's Shred Events) and project updates (i.e., credit cards made from recycled ocean plastic pilot). They're also supporting data collection for ongoing enterprise-wide materiality assessments.
We purchased $24,000 in carbon offsets to support native tree planting in the Puget Sound through the Forterra Carbon Capture Program.
Environmental justice calls for building and supporting climate resilience within vulnerable communities. Last year in 2022 we launched a Green Equity Initiative Grant Program. It's designed to assist local non-profits that are promoting environmental sustainability in our communities.
In 2022, the BECU Foundation donated up to $875,000 to nine organizations who received a BECU Foundation Green Equity Initiative Grant. Funds not dispersed to grantees were awarded to six environmental sustainability organizations that were not awarded a grant.
We've installed two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at our Tukwila Financial Center and we plan to install two more in 2023. This is both an employee and member benefit.
Thanks to employees working from home, using less electricity at BECU headquarters and reducing business travel, BECU employees have reduced carbon footprint by three tons!
As a credit union, we're looking forward to discovering and implementing strategies for reducing our carbon footprint in the future. That includes our EV charging stations for electric vehicles, Orca cards to encourage more frequent use of mass transportation, and the Last Mile Lyft Program to help employees commute to work from mass transit locations under three miles away.
BECU Shred Events occur in the spring and fall. They're an opportunity for members and the community to bring sensitive documents and electronics for recycling and safe disposal. Donations for food are also collected, and we partner with the nonprofit BikeWorks to upcycle old bicycles for donation to children and commuters in need.
Last spring, BECU helped facilitate the shredding of 52,950 pounds of paper, recycled 34,855 pounds of e-waste, and donated over 3,500 pounds of food and $7,344 to local food banks. The Fall Shred Event included the opportunity for members to take 15-minute rides on six electric vehicles (EVs) to encourage EV adoption.