A new purpose economy: federal financial cooperative, Coast Capital, on its journey to becoming a social purpose organization

September 23, 2022

A history of purpose. 

Credit unions around the world share a history of supporting employees, members, and communities—and, in doing so, they can create positive social change. They also see firsthand the opportunities and growing challenges facing their communities every day. 

That’s why at Coast Capital—a federal financial cooperative headquartered in Surrey, B.C.—we believe that we are uniquely positioned to help Canadians succeed, by driving the real and lasting change needed in our communities. And two years ago, we made the decision to transform the way we do business by embarking on the journey to officially become a social purpose business. 

 

Our journey.  Our purpose. 

In developing Coast Capital’s social purpose of Building Better Futures Together, we considered the unique skill set we held that would allow us to create value for society and drive meaningful change for Canadians. 

Today, it has become our North Star that informs every decision that we make. It is the engine that powers our business. It’s at the heart of every interaction with our members, employees, and community partners.  

And as we continue on our journey of building better futures together, we are bringing that purpose to life in three strategic ways:  

  • We are building and championing more equitable and inclusive employment. 
    We are building the best, most inclusive workplace for our employees and working with partners and members to create opportunities for others to thrive in their careers. 
  • We are supporting Canadians with more equitable access to education and training. 
    We are working to support more people to access the education and skills training they need to grow their careers and to prepare them for the jobs of the future.
  • We deliver financial tools, education, and advice for all.
    We’re helping our members and wider communities achieve their full potential through comprehensive and relevant financial education and trusted advice. 

 

The business case for social purpose. 

Driving impact through business isn’t a new concept—but today, organizations are evolving to embed social purpose into every facet of their operations, making it a crucial element of their corporate strategy.  

The United Way’s Social Purpose Institute outlines six compelling benefits of the practice.  

A social purpose: 

  • Builds customer commitment: Social purpose companies attract and retain customers and build customer brand advocacy. 
  • Increases employee engagement: Social purpose companies recruit, retain, and motivate employees and build employee brand advocacy. 
  • Enhances stakeholder relationships: Businesses that demonstrate a social purpose build trust, reputation, and loyalty with their stakeholders—opening opportunities for new and deeper relationships.  
  • Builds social capital: Social purpose strengthens operating context and increases trust. 
  • Improves financial performance: Social purpose enhances financial performance, increases access to capital, and manages risk. 
  • Inspires innovation generation: social purpose increases innovation, enables business transformation, and enhances resiliency. 

 

The power of partnership 

Social purpose is a collaborative practice that requires organizations to come together, work together, and share openly.  

As we move through this journey, embracing the “we” of our business has helped us unlock new value and opportunities with leading partners across industries in Canada. No one organization can solve social issues independently, and partnership is key to moving the needle on real, tangible change. 

A great example of what can happen when like-minded organizations come together with a mutual purpose is a recent joint pilot project we launched with DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society. 

With an appetite to fund a program under Coast Capital’s defined strategic imperative to build and champion more equitable and inclusive employment, a partnership was launched to help skilled newcomers to Canada, who after years of training and experience in their country of origin, experience overwhelming challenges as they seek to enter, and adapt to, a new labour market. 

Through the Express Grant for Foreign Credential Recognition for Women program, sponsored and funded by Coast Capital, female professionals are provided with funding to access resources and achieve the Canadian qualifications necessary to fast-track their professional settlement process, and better position them to make an impact in their communities. 

Partnerships like these remind us that real and lasting change cannot be achieved in isolation. Social purpose work is a journey and not a destination—and together, we can work to contribute to an equitable society, where we each have the opportunity to thrive.  

 

Embracing our social purpose has had an incredible impact on the way we work. Just last year, we  invested over $4 million in 117 partnerships and programs aligned to our purpose. Learn more about how Coast Capital is driving positive social impact for its employees, members, and communities. 

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Nutrien Aims to Transform Agriculture

November 26, 2021

Nutrien is the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services and their purpose starts with the global challenge of feeding nearly 10 billion people by the year 2050.

In their recent announcement, Nutrien aims to make key transformations through ambitious commitments that will drive systemic change and will help lead the next wave of agriculture’s evolution. Their Feeding the Future Plan has three focus areas with six priority commitments:

 

  • Feeding the Planet Sustainably: Strengthen food security by scaling sustainable and productive agriculture.
    • Enable growers to adopt sustainable and productive agricultural products and practices on 75 million acres globally.
    • Launch and scale a comprehensive Carbon Program, empowering growers and the agriculture industry to accelerate climate-smart agriculture and soil carbon sequestration while rewarding growers for their efforts.

 

  • Environment and Climate Action: Provide solutions and platforms to achieve emissions reductions in alignment with climate science. This includes Nutrien’s commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
    • Achieve at least a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 1 + 2) per tonne of our products produced, from a 2018 baseline.
    • Invest in new technologies and pursue the transition to low-carbon fertilizers, including blue and green ammonia.

 

  • Inclusive Agriculture: Support rural livelihoods and increase participation of underrepresented stakeholders in agriculture.
    • Leverage our farm-focused technology partnerships and investments to drive positive impact in industry and grower innovation and inclusion.
    • Create new financial solutions for growers to strengthen social, economic and environmental outcomes in agriculture.

These commitments are just the beginning. They also have new environment, social and governance (ESG) performance targets and goals which are integrated across their company.

Nutrien’s efforts ripple through many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but it’s clear their primary focus is SDG 2: Zero Hunger through 2.4.1 sustainable and productive agriculture. Their efforts drive at the core of their strategy which is to sustainably feed more people, using less resources and with fewer emissions.

Nutrien is encouraging stakeholders to come together to evolve the systems and policies needed to address these challenges. As they strive to transform our food system, they encourage the sharing of information and pooling of resources for a new generation of systems-based solutions.

Visit their website for more information on their Feeding the Future Plan.

Click here to view Nutrien’s 2021 ESG Report.

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Grazing Forward Launched by Cargill, A&W and New Acre Project

August 4, 2021

Feeding the world while addressing climate change and biodiversity loss is the defining challenge of our time; and success will require the participation of farmers and ranchers everywhere with the support of forward-looking companies that are committed to climate action.

Seizing this challenge, ALUS is pleased that A&W Canada and Cargill are demonstrating bold leadership by creating Grazing Forward, a new initiative of New Acre™ Project that will expand regenerative practices to address climate change within the beef supply chain in 20 communities across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba over the next three years.

As an initial step, Grazing Forward will enhance more than 6,000 acres and will sequester up to 12,578 MT greenhouse gas emissions per year. Together, we will support community-based actions, empowering ranchers to use their knowledge, energy and skills to enhance grazed land management practices that improve water quality, wildlife habitat and climate resilience.

The partnership will also draw on the knowledge of ranchers like Sean McGrath, who operates Round Rock Ranching in Vermilion County, with pastures on both sides of the Saskatchewan/Alberta border. Sean enrolled in ALUS in 2010 and has held leadership roles in the program ever since, because he is motivated to provide guidance to other ranchers who are exploring new options with their land.

As a rancher, who has been a participant in the ALUS program for 16 years, I can attest to the pride one feels when he or she is called upon to apply creativity, passion and skills learned through generations of experience working the land to address the great societal challenges that face us today.

Grazing Forward will create shared value for A&W, Cargill, for participating ranchers and for all Canadians, building healthier and more resilient landscapes while addressing the climate challenge, globally.

These benefits will ultimately be shared with the generations that follow.

For more information, visit https://newacreproject.alus.ca/

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