If you’re new here, let me share a quick introduction. Hi, I’m Joe Winn, also known as the Credit Union Geek. And also, “the environment guy”. My background is in marine and environmental science, and it’s a passion of mine as well.

For my regular readers, this is no surprise. My company came out of our environmental sustainability efforts, and the shift into working with credit unions was due to their community focus. You see, community & environment are two sides of the same coin.

And if you want to jump straight to the video, go right here.

People, Planet, Prosperity – The Triple Bottom Line

In the world of sustainability, there’s a term called the “Triple Bottom Line”. It’s pretty simple: We can only thrive when each point on the triangle is equally served.


People At Farmers Market

This can have many definitions, but for now, let’s stick with “members of the community have their basic needs met and are treated with respect by others”. In the business world, “others” means “your company”.

Fair wages, Fair Trade practices, DEI, women’s rights, universal healthcare, and financial equity all play a role in the People category.


Kids Pointing at Wind Turbines in Field

Just like the people around us, we have to treat our planet with compassion, empathy, and respect. Shifting our energy production to cleaner sources, along with avoiding investments in polluting companies, is a business component.

A company which achieves the Planet component is “green” without greenwashing. Their practices are truthful, meaningful, and impactful. And they expand this to their staff, customers (members), and the communities they serve.


Characters Helping One Another Up Bar Graph

“A rising tide raises all ships.” You know that a company which doesn’t bring in income cannot be in business for long. Even not-for-profit financial cooperatives need to make money. Yes, I said credit unions should make money.

However, those funds must come in through mindful and empowering ways. That means, say goodbye to punitive fees (especially those which affect your most financially vulnerable members the most). Consider value over punishment.

Living the Triple Bottom Line

Achieving these goals is a continuous effort. There’s no “done!” moment, only another layer to discover and improve. It stretches across your entire organization, leaving no area untouched. It’s your mission…expanded.

By now, it’s pretty obvious how passionate I am about this topic. Thus, you can imagine how excited I was to discover that Filene and Ceres worked together to create a document helping credit unions understand how climate change impacts them.

I strongly recommend reading it. Yes, it’s long, but worth your time and energy. They did an incredible job including a wide range of recommendations, with clearly actionable suggestions. Your credit union and community will be better for you following the report.

Of course, I couldn’t just share that and be done. This is my thing! So I expanded on their report and answered a number of questions credit union leaders like you have.

“Why should we consider climate change impacts?” “How can we help?”

And many more. In lieu of additional detail, I strongly recommend you watch the whole 22-minute interview. Divide it up over segments or view in one sitting. Either way, make it a priority to brush up on what is among the top issues of our age.

A Credit Union & Climate Change Discussion

Once again, I’d like to thank the teams at Filene and Ceres for putting together this amazing report. And please comment below or @ me on Twitter with questions, input, or for more information!

Photo credits: Mark Dalton, Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke