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Vancity, Enbridge under pressure from enviros at annual meetings this week

"Socially-responsible" credit union holds stock in tarsands companies

by Zoe Blunt

Vancity, Enbridge under pressure from enviros at annual meetings this week

VICTORIA - A Vancouver Island environmental group is giving Vancity credit union a deadline to divest from Enbridge, the energy corporation responsible for planning the Northern Gateway pipeline from the Alberta tarsands to the BC coast.

WildCoast.ca, based in Victoria, is delivering a letter to the Vancity board of directors at the annual general meeting today (Tuesday May 8). WildCoast director Zoe Blunt says if the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal is still going forward by year's end, Vancity and the companies it controls must dump their Enbridge stocks or face a backlash from their own shareholders.

Blunt notes that according to a Vancity representative, the "socially-responsible" credit union is calling on Enbridge to withdraw its Northern Gateway pipeline proposal at the energy company's annual meeting on Wednesday, May 9 in Toronto. That meeting also will hear from indigenous Yinka Dene people who have traveled across the country to denounce pipeline plans.

"If Vancity can't convince Enbridge to stop the pipeline," Blunt says, "Vancity should ditch its stock in Enbridge."

Vancity is not the enemy, Blunt adds. Enbridge is.

"Our non-profit group opened accounts with Vancity because we believed they were socially responsible," Blunt says. "But for us, and for our allies, Enbridge is a deal-breaker. Northern Gateway, the pipelines and the tankers are our enemies. We won't put our money where it will benefit them." 

"These investments are doing more harm than good for Vancity," Blunt says. "From a 'social responsibility' point of view, it's in Vancity's best interest to put pressure on Enbridge, and if that doesn't work, then it should no longer associate with this unethical corporation."

Vancity's AGM takes place in Vancouver (3075 Slocan) with a tele-conference in Victoria (3020 Blanshard) where the WildCoast.ca team will take part. Both places will have the chance to ask questions to the chair and the board.

Anyone who holds a Vancity account can come to the meeting and show their account info to be admitted. Sandwiches and beverages will be served

Can't go? Use this handy web form to express your thoughts to the board of directors.

Contact: Zoe Blunt 250-813-3569 zoe@wildcoast.ca

Tuesday May 8, 7 pm – Vancity AGM

Victoria: Comfort Inn Conference Center, 3020 Blanshard

Vancouver: Italian Cultural Centre, 3075 Slocan

Wednesday May 9, 1 pm – Enbridge AGM: Toronto Meridian King Edward Hotel

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Commentaires

Report-back from the Vancity

Report-back from the Vancity AGM:

President Tamara Voortman says that Vancity doesn't invest "directly" in Enbridge, but it does package Enbridge stocks in with its "socially-responsible" mutual funds. She adds that "we don't force members" to buy these mislabeled mutual funds. (Lolwut?) 

Second, she confirmed that Vancity and two other ethical investment firms are bringing a resolution to the Enbridge annual meeting Wednesday May 9 to withdraw the Northern Gateway application.

Finally, she said that in the event that Enbridge chooses to go forward with the Northern Gateway pipeline, Vancity will reevaluate its position and "likely will divest" from Enbridge.

Thank you to everyone who contacted Vancity with their concerns. It made them sit up and take notice. We will be following up to make sure they make good on their promise and do a thorough reevaluation.

Thank you!

Greenwashing?

Very nice article, Ms. Blunt. As a consumer who tries to be socially and environmentally responsible I was looking for banks/credit unions that tried to be the same. I thought VanCity was probably the most responsible credit union in Canada. It may be, but as you point out, it is still involved with irresponsible companies. Which means articles like these are necessary to put some light on the matter!

I am a Desjardins member, which is relativelly ok, but I am sure it invests in similar companies and projects as well.

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