mecu is a signatory to the UN Environment Program Statement by Financial Institutions on the Environment (UNEP FI). mecu was the first credit union in the world to become a signatory to this international statement, which commits mecu to embedding a sustainable approach to banking into its business model.
By signing the statement mecu recognises that sustainable development depends upon a positive interaction between economic and social development, and environmental protection, in order to balance the interests of current and future generations. mecu further recognises that sustainable development is the collective responsibility of government, business, and individuals. Furthermore, mecu is committed to working cooperatively with these sectors within the framework of market mechanisms towards common environmental goals.
UN Global Compact
In April 2010, mecu signed up to UN Global Compact (UNGC). UNGC is currently the largest corporate citizenship and sustainability initiative in the world, with over 5500 corporate participants and stakeholders from over 130 countries.
Launched in July 2000,UNGC is an international leadership initiative endorsed by member organisation Chief Executives. It seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
In May 2010, mecu became a signatory to UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI). UN PRI is an investor initiative in partnership with UNEP FI and UNGC. UN PRI identifies and aims to address environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues that affect the performance of investments. The Principles complement the UNGC and are a natural extension of the work of UNEP FI, which has helped elevate the importance of environmental and social issues in financial markets.
As an authorised deposit taking institution committed to a responsible banking brand, mecu considers environmental, social and governance issues when investing members' money.
mecu's Sustainability Covenant with the Victorian Government, through the Environment Protection Authority of Victoria (EPA Victoria) focuses on five key areas, which have been derived from mecu's purpose and values:
- ethics and governance
- social impact
- environmental impact; and
- leadership and partnerships.
The voluntary Covenant has a three-year time frame. Actions for each year of the Covenant are determined at the beginning of each year. mecu's first Covenant agreement expired at the end of 2007/08. mecu re-signed a new Covenant agreement in 2008 that will extend to 30 June 2011.
The objectives of the Sustainability Covenant with EPA Victoria are to:
- increase the efficiency with which mecu uses resources to develop and deliver its products and services
- help alleviate negative environmental and social impacts through products and services
- encourage and assist members to live more sustainable lifestyles
- apply prudent financial business practices to mecu operations to ensure economic and financial sustainability; and
- support developments within the finance sector that encourage others to embrace sustainability.
Actions focus on environmental and social initiatives. Economic aspects of sustainability have already been embedded within the organisation's corporate strategy. Implementation of the Covenant is being overseen by a Steering Committee. The Committee is made up of four representatives: two representatives from EPA Victoria and two from mecu. Each party has one representative from senior management.
The Sustainability Report acts as the key reporting mechanism for Covenant implementation.