Green movement getting a blue-chip hue

Slowly but surely, RICHARD BLACKWELL writes, executives are embracing environmental standards as ‘the right thing to do’.


Gordon Huston, chief executive officer at the Envision Financial credit union, has a goal that goes beyond the usual aspirations of corporate executives: He wants to be “carbon neutral” in all his activities as CEO, and he wants his firm to hit that target too.
To reach that benchmark, the company’s branches will use only “green” renewable energy sources this year, new buildings will be built under environmentally friendly LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, and Envision is offering customers electronic bank statements to cut down on paper use.
It’s even offering cut-rate car loans — subsidized out of the credit union’s corporate social responsibility budget — to clients who buy hybrid vehicles.
Most important, Mr. Huston himself will try to shrink his own environmental footprint — mainly by trimming his corporate plane travel in favour of teleconferencing.
“We’re trying to figure out how I can set an example and end up carbon neutral in the next 18 months,” Mr. Huston said. “That’s where our corporate agenda is going.”
Envision, of Langley, B.C., is an example of a remarkable shift that is taking place in Corporate Canada: The seeping of the green movement into the corner offices occupied by the business elite.

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