Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG)
and Governance (ESG)
Value created and shared
Our ESG Pillars
Identifying what matters most to our stakeholders and understanding where we can make the greatest impact are critical to advancing ESG at Meridian Credit Union, Meridian OneCap Credit Corp., and motusbank.
To prioritize our efforts, we conducted a materiality assessment in 2021. This work involved scanning our business sector and connecting with stakeholders, including our Board of Directors, Executive Leadership Team, and our retail and commercial banking Members.
Based on the results of the assessment, we’re organizing our ESG activities and reporting around five key pillars.
People and culture
Governance and responsible management
The people and businesses who bank with us are Members, which means they are owners, and they have a say in how their financial institution is run.
Unlike larger FIs, our profits are not paid out to shareholders. Instead, the profits we make go toward improving the quality of our products and services, community investment, and ensuring we remain a safe and trusted financial institution.
Our goal is to become a local climate leader in the financial sector by:
- Aligning our spaces with our climate goals, reducing operational impacts, and contributing towards building thriving communities for Meridian’s Members, customers and employees.
- Ensuring all our emission sources are on pathways to net zero by 2050, or sooner.
- Committing to impactful climate policies and financially supporting the transition to a cleaner economy for businesses and individual Members.
- Communicating regularly with our Members, customers and the public about Meridian’s progress.
We’re focusing our efforts on GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions and energy management in our office and branch locations by:
- Reducing our operational emissions by optimizing energy efficiency and switching to low-emitting sources of energy where we operate.
- Making building efficiency improvements, such as installing window film, blinds, occupancy sensors, smart thermostats and LED lighting. We also complete regular HVAC inspections and maintenance to ensure the systems continue to operate at optimal efficiency.
- Working towards a 2050 net zero commitment, including operational and value chain emissions in the near future.
As we look toward the future and where environmental stewardship is headed, we will continue to:
- Identify and assess the largest sources of our value chain emissions.
- Explore and quantify emissions from our investments and other material value chain sources.
- Strive to improve our building emissions intensity, primarily by reducing our heating energy consumption.
- Continue to undertake strategic deals that address environment and climate. For example, financing a building’s HVAC system conversion to be more climate-friendly or entering into a transaction where a borrower’s terms are tied to achieving their environmental goals.
We know we’re making some bold statements, but it takes concrete steps and decisive actions if we’re going to save our planet from the destructive forces of climate change. By actively making positive changes alongside other financial leaders, we know that we can make all the difference in the world.
We’ve always had elements of ESG incorporated throughout our business. Now we’ve introduced a framework for organizing our ESG initiatives in a manner that clearly helps us realize our enterprise’s strategic goals and, ultimately, our Purpose and Vision. For more information on specific initiatives, read our inaugural ESG report or visit our website.
We’re aligning our spaces with our climate goals, reducing operational impacts and contributing towards building thriving communities for all. We’re also committed to impactful climate policies and financially supporting the transition to a cleaner economy. We plan to ensure our emissions sources are on pathways to net zero by 2050 or sooner.
Read more about the steps we’re taking to become a local climate leader in the financial sector.
Our objective is to enhance our focus on financial solutions that support the transition to a green and sustainable economy. We engage in conversations beyond risk and return by looking to align our Members’ investments with their personal values and partnering with multiple leading firms tha offer responsible investing solutions. For more information, please visit the Responsible Investing section of our website.
Community engagement is more than making donations; our employees actively volunteer their time and professional skills. We support initiatives related to the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, affordable housing, building financial confidence and providing access to people from historically marginalized communities. We’re working to address some of the key challenges facing communities today and helping them become more resilient through strategic local partnerships, volunteerism and employee giving.
If you have an initiative that helps communities thrive, visit our Good Neighbour Program to learn how we can help.
We partner with several non-profit, community and housing groups to help low- to medium-income earners obtain mortgages while also volunteering to teach vital financial skills necessary for home ownership. We are proud to work with Volunteer Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Options for Homes and Jaycee Brantford Non-profit Homes, moving people into their own homes with confidence and pride. Our new ESG report describes our commitment to affordable housing in more detail.
Meridian has pledged to acknowledge, listen to, and learn more about the Indigenous community and its ongoing struggle for justice and equality. We’re a lead sponsor of Niagara’s Celebration of Nations and support organizations like Right to Play’s Youth Leadership Program, First Nations University and the Save the Evidence Campaign. Read Standing with Indigenous Communities in our inaugural ESG report.
The Board of Directors has adopted a Statement of Intent stating that Meridian recognizes and embraces the benefits of DEIBR in Board members. We believe a truly diverse Board includes and makes good use of differences in skills, regional and industry experience, background, age, race, gender identity, racial or ethnic identity, Indigenous status, abilities, sexual orientation, cultures and other attributes of Directors. Meridian considers diversity of thought, experience and background important. The best-qualified candidates will be recommended for election to Meridian’s Board, considering the broad diversity required to represent Ontario’s population.
These practices are also embraced by the organization through our Employee Resource Groups, which help create a sense of belonging while building awareness and accountability. In addition, our Voice of the Employee program regularly measures employee engagement and the employee experience. Learn more in the People and Culture section of our ESG report.
At Meridian, everyone is a risk manager, and we actively work with every level of the organization to ensure understanding and compliance. We maintain a robust annual all-employee compliance training program and actively detect and deter money laundering activities while promoting Member education on fraud and privacy threats. Learn more in the Governance section of our inaugural ESG report.
Our path to purpose: Meridian for Good
Looking toward the future, we’ll continue to focus on our strategy, Meridian for Good. This is our commitment to focusing on the four key ESG initiatives that are essential to us and to the communities we serve.
- Climate change: a changing climate affects us all, no matter where we live.
- Affordable living: every Canadian should have a home to call their own.
- Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging: everyone should feel that they can be their true selves, always.
- Equal access to financial support: the key to financial success is financial knowledge.
We’re driven to strengthening the impact we can have on our Members and communities. We’ll apply an ESG lens to our strategy as we aim to make stronger connections with stakeholders on the issues that matter to them. Over time, we’ll share our progress and set benchmarks for the future to hold ourselves accountable.