Keeping Guelph green

The Speed River, the scenic waterway that winds through downtown Guelph, is home to more than bass and pike and beautiful parkland along its banks.

Every year, up to 200 volunteers pull as much as 2,000 kilograms of trash from the Speed River in a spring cleanup.  Meridian Credit Union is part of that annual cleanup, both as a sponsor and with employees who volunteer every May to help pull trash out of the river.

A good fit for a green city

“Guelph is a very green city,” Moragh Lippert, manager of the Meridian branch in Guelph, said.

So, when Lippert was looking for ways to keep Guelph strong, vibrant and inclusive, she leaned toward environmental causes such as the annual Speed River cleanup.

“We are actively involved in the United Way and a number of social causes in Guelph as well.  But I believe one of the most important ways to keep Guelph strong, vibrant and inclusive is through supporting local environmental initiatives,” Lippert said.

That is why Meridian became a founding sponsor of The Guelph Sustainable Solutions, created in 2009, which brings a group of leaders from business, academia, and local government together to promote economic, social, and environmental sustainability in Guelph.

Agriculture and the environment

The Guelph branch also looks for innovative initiatives that involve both agriculture and the environment.

For example, the Meridian branch is a sponsor of Pollination Park, a new initiative that is creating a haven for birds, butterflies and pollinating insects on an old landfill site.

“Without pollination, we have no food.  We thought this was a great way to use an old landfill site that would benefit our agricultural industry and avoid many of the environmental hazards that come with developing these sites for housing or recreation,” Moragh said.

Through the Good Neighbour Program, Meridian is also supporting a project that helps the disabled grow their own food by building raised gardening beds.

Committed to the environment

“The environment and environmental issues are of critical importance to me.  Meridian’s values and commitment to their communities were the reasons I joined the Meridian team,” Lippert, who joined Meridian in 2006, said.

As an organization, Meridian is committed to reducing its environmental footprint.  For example, Meridian has reduced its annual CO2 emissions by more than 1,000,000 pounds over the last five years, the equivalent of planting more than 3,000 trees and taking 245 cars off the highway.  All new branches are built with state-of-the-art energy efficient construction and mechanical services. 

Think globally, act locally

Moragh credits the Good Neighbour Program, which emphasizes local decision making, for providing her with the flexibility to support initiatives that the residents of individual communities believe are important.

“Every community has its own needs and priorities. In Guelph, environmental issues are a very high priority and that it’s a perfect fit with Meridian,” Moragh said.

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