Customer Story

How a Credit Union Analyzed Its ESG Gaps and Set Its Sights on Leading in ESG

The insights and data gathered from Sustainalytics’ ESG Performance Analytics reinforced First West Credit Union’s values-based approach to business and spurred the company to strive for additional positive impacts within its operations, for its members, and for its community teams.

First West Credit Union

Industry

Banks 

Region 

North America 

Launi Skinner, CEO

“ESG themes have always been integral to our values at First West Credit Union, but we lacked the data and insights to see where we can do better. For us, it was about taking that next step, and ESG Performance Analytics helped us do that.”

Launi Skinner

CEO, First West Credit Union

null

The Challenge 

Gathering and analyzing quantitative, material data to understand how the company could better address ESG in its operations, in its product and service offerings, and within its communities.

null

The Solution 

The data, peer insights, and industry analysis distilled through ESG Performance Analytics enabled First West to construct a strategic roadmap to advance its sustainability and ESG performance.

null

The Results 

First West is integrating the knowledge gained from ESG Performance Analytics into its strategic initiatives planning, continuing its positive impact and leadership within the industry and the community.

About First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union (First West) is a financial co-operative based in British Columbia, Canada. As the fifth largest credit union in the country, First West provides a full suite of financial services to its membership and to local communities. As a values-based organization, First West is committed to providing financial solutions to its members through the lens of “triple-line profit capability” – balancing profitability with doing what’s right for its members and what’s right for its community teams.

The Challenge

Confirming Corporate Values With a Thorough ESG Assessment

As a values-based organization, First West always had environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues at the forefront of what it does and how it operates. However, the company had never formally measured its efforts. The identified need for ESG measurement was growing within the organization, with three groups actively discussing its possibility. First, the company’s Young Leaders employee resource group broached the idea of getting a better understanding of the company’s ESG position. The group was interested in data driven insights to support the company’s belief in its ESG performance. Second, the corporate finance department was also exploring how the organization’s ESG performance compared to its industry peers. Finally, conversations about First West’s ESG standing were also happening at the board level.  

In seeking out a third-party to assess its ESG rating and conduct a corporate ESG benchmark, First West was looking for more than just an ESG score for marketing purposes. It was interested in genuine insights to help pinpoint areas of improvement and to understand how it could better address ESG issues in its operations, in its product and service offerings, and in its communities.

First West Credit Union Risk Ratings report
Sample Image from First West Credit Union's ESG Risk Rating Report Provided by Sustainalytics

The Solution

Identify Potential Growth Areas Through ESG Performance Analytics

Finding the Right ESG Partner

Although First West was confident that it was doing well with respect to ESG, the company wanted to closely examine its strengths and weaknesses in specific areas, as well as how it compared to peers. First West wanted to go beyond ESG benchmarking and Sustainalytics’ ESG Performance Analytics allowed it to take a deeper dive.  

Following months of researching, First West selected Sustainalytics for the breadth of ESG data and insights provided. With ESG Risk Ratings and research for more than 13,000 companies, Sustainalytics offered a wealth of knowledge on the material ESG risks First West is exposed to across its industry and how it could effectively manage those risks.

Collaborating to Understand ESG Performance

First West also experienced the in-depth, collaborative working relationship Sustainalytics’ team offered. The ESG Performance Analytics process began with an assessment of the company’s current ESG performance.i First West then selected five industry peers to be compared against. The ESG Performance Analytics team assessed the company’s position relative to its selected peers across the material ESG issues for its industry, identified opportunities for improvement, and highlighted best practice examples. The information was gathered into a comprehensive report and presented to a group of First West’s key stakeholders.  

Sustainalytics’ ESG Performance Analytics took enormous amounts of data and distilled it into logical segments, allowing First West to construct its own road map to advance its sustainability objectives, improve its ESG risk management and reduce its ESG risk exposure.

ESG Performance Analytics Sample Summary
Sample Image of Executive Summary Page from an ESG Performance Analytics Presentation 

The Results

Data-Driven Analysis to Spur Continued ESG Advancement 

First West already had a list of sustainability objectives it was working to improve. The results from Sustainalytics’ ESG Performance Analytics complemented this work by helping the company determine whether it was on the right track and which areas needed more attention. Sustainalytics’ presentation of the in-depth company and peer analysis also helped to point First West to the areas where the company could have the most impact, such as integrating ESG into its financials and exploring sustainable finance solutions.  

Armed with the knowledge of its own strengths, performance gaps, as well as industry best practice, First West committed to delving deeper into the key ESG areas identified and challenging itself to improve. Over the coming year, the company intends to integrate the learnings from ESG Performance Analytics into its strategic initiatives planning.  

First West also shared its ESG Risk Rating score and the findings from the ESG Performance Analytics assessment internally and with its board to demonstrate the impact of its efforts and its path going forward. “Sustainability isn’t a checkmark or some goal,” said Garett Jones, Regional Manager, Business Banking at First West Credit Union. “It’s a constant balance and evolution between business, community, and the environment. And now we can use the data that ESG Performance Analytics provides, create a more robust strategic plan and take the next step in terms of leadership within the industry and in our communities.”

Garrett Jones, First West Credit Union

"Now we can use the data that ESG Performance Analytics provides, create a more robust strategic plan and take the next step in terms of leadership within the industry and in our communities."

Garrett Jones

Regional Manager, Business Banking at First West Credit Union

More Customer Spotlights

Navigating the fast evolving sustainable debt market event banner

Apple’s Path to Understanding and Communicating its ESG Performance

governance in brief

Preparing for a sustainable future through ESG investment and engagement

Blog - Corporate ESG Benchmarking - ESG Performance Analytics

ESG Innovators in the ever-changing world of investment solutions

Blog | Five Steps for Effectively Reporting on Social Impacts | Sustainalytics

An investment firm that puts sustainability at the heart of the company

Why Sustainalytics?

null

A Single Market Standard

Consistent approach to ESG assessments across the investment spectrum.

null

Award-Winning Research and Data

Firm recognized as Best ESG Research and Data Provider by Environmental Finance and Investment Week.

null

End-to-End ESG Solutions

ESG products and services that serve the entire investment value chain.

null

25+ Years ESG Expertise

500+ ESG research analysts across our global offices.

null

Largest Second-Party Opinion Provider

As recognized by Environmental Finance and the Climate Bonds Initiative.