Who to Vote For?
By Guy Dauncey
Every year, when Coastal Community Credit Union holds it annual election to choose new Directors, I consider the candidates and share my personal choices, based on their values and their commitment to lead CCCU towards greater care for the community and care for the planet, while remaining a well-governed, profitable institution.
CCCU is a cooperative – it is owned by its members. We can choose the direction we want CCCU to take through the Directors we elect to represent us on the Board.
My benchmark for what is possible in a cooperative credit union is Vancity, which returns 30% of its annual profits back to the community.
In 2021, CCCU had $4.25 billion in assets under management, generating a 0.56% return. It reported $14 million in profits, of which it returned 3.5% to the community – $500,000. (Annual Report 2021)
There are six candidates standing for election, and four vacant positions. These are my recommended choices. All four candidates live on Vancouver Island or a Gulf Island.
In keeping with the Election Guidelines, I have not communicated with any of the candidates, and none has communicated with me or asked me to campaign on their behalf. As a Canadian citizen and a member of CCCU, neither the CCCU nor any of the candidates has the right or ability to disallow me from sharing my personal recommendations.
I make my recommendations based on a lifetime of work in the fields of social and environmental change, and my knowledge of how urgently we need rapid progress towards more socially and ecologically responsible institutions.
The Special Resolution which we are also invited to vote on seems fine.
You can vote online here, or your ballot must be postmarked by April 17th, or dropped off at your CCCU Branch. The election results will be announced at the CCCU AGM on May 11th.
Mandy is a strong leader, a small business owner, and an educator and administrator with 20 years of Board and regulatory experience. She has extensive experience working on finance and audit committees in a highly regulated environment. As a professional dental hygiene specialist, she has volunteered as a provider to people in remote, vulnerable, and marginalized communities. Her video is here. Her candidate profile is here.
Jeremy has an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise (Green MBA), and is CEO of DeepNet, a certified Benefit Corporation, a status which requires a very strong commitment to the best social and environmental practices. He has a wealth both of business and financial experience, and of voluntary Board experience. His video is here. His candidate profile is here.
Art has operated his business Natural Capital Advisors for 25 years, focusing on managing risk. He has worked in Washington DC at the EPA’s National Center for risk assessment and management, and he has chaired the UN team monitoring sanctions in West Africa for the Security Council, including financial sanctions. He has served as a Director on several Boards, including Modo, the car-share cooperative, and Health in Harmony, which offers healthcare and teaches organic farming in exchange for stopping illegal logging. He is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. His video is here. His candidate profile is here.
Debra is an existing Director who is running for another 3-year term. She has been the Chief Administrative Officer, General Manager of Corporate Services, and Chief Financial Officer for the Comox Valley (Strathcona) Regional District. She currently works as a consultant to provincial and local governments, offering project-based facilitation, leadership, and management services. She has CPA Canada Audit Committee certification, and also serves on the Audit Committee for School District 71 (Comox Valley). She is also chair of the North Vancouver Island Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen Society of BC. Her candidate profile is here. Her video is here.
What is possible in a credit union? Vancity’s Example
Vancity has 560,000 members, $33 billion in assets under administration, 54 branches, and 2,721 employees. Vancity:
- Shares 30% of its net profits with members and communities—$444.4 million since 1994. CCCU shares 3.5%.
- Has been recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
- Is the largest private-sector Living Wage employer in Canada.
- Was the first Canadian financial institution to join the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, underscoring its ambition to reach net-zero by 2040 across all mortgages and loans.
- Was the first financial institution in North America to become carbon neutral in 2008
- Has granted $70,000 to offer Indigenous and female students training for solar and electric vehicle charging station installation and maintenance.
- Offers Prime + 0.4%to + 3% loans for a climate-friendly home renovation such as installing a heat-pump or a solar panel, plus a rebate up to $400 for EnerGuide Home Evaluations and free advice from City Green.
- Offers Prime + 1% loans to buy an electric vehicle or bike
- Provides community grants for non-profit housing retrofits
- Provides community partnership grants up to $15,000 for climate resilience, reconciliation and racial equality, and financial health and inclusion
- Has built Partnerships with First Nation governments and Indigenous not-for-profits to help build stronger communities
- Provides socially responsible investment funds that don’t invest in fossil fuels, military weapons, gambling, pornography or tobacco.
- Gave funds over $2 million to support women entrepreneurs.
- Gives 5% of the profits on the Vancity VISA card to environmental initiatives. In 2022 they went to 47 non-profits including for cycling, ethical fashion, reducing plastic waste at local businesses, recovering food waste to share, saving plastic cups from the landfill, growing local food, recycling lumber, styrofoam ocean clean-up, climate action coaching, Indigenous foodlands restoration.
- Is an active member of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition
- Is committed to values-based banking, joined the Global Alliance for Banking on Values in 2010.
- Provides financing and support for social purpose not-for-profit real estate
Could the newly elected Board of CCCU do something similar, tailored to the coast? I really hope so.
Guy Dauncey is an ecotopian futurist who works to develop a positive vision of a sustainable future, and to translate that vision into action. He is the author of ten books, including Journey to the Future: A Better World is Possible. He is co-chair of the West Coast Climate Action Network. He lives in Yellow Point. He is currently completing his 11th book, The Economics of Kindness: How to End the Economics of Selfishness and Build an Economy that Works for All. His website is www.thepracticalutopian.ca.