Preserving our earth and fighting global warming is a very mundane fight. There’s nothing thrilling about taking the bus, duplexing copies, bringing a sweater to work and turning off the computer every night. However, that’s where the battle is won.
I celebrated Earth Week by attending the Go Green Conference in Seattle. I was invited to share Verity’s experience with measuring and reducing our Carbon Footprint. The day was full of panels from the leaders of sustainable efforts from government, non-profits and companies. Permit me a moment to brag. There was only one other financial institution on the panels (Shorebank) and amidst the speakers from Starbucks, Microsoft, REI and Costco, we had to be pretty close to the smallest company.
Verity made a commitment two years ago to reduce our carbon footprint. We set 2007 as our baseline. Our goal was to reduce our carbon output by 15% on a per employee basis in 2009. We made this goal by duplexing, turning the computers off at night, re-calibrating our HVAC and a score of other small efforts. As I said, it’s not very sexy. I think that’s what makes me proud of our team at Verity. Going green is not just one big campaign or “makeover”. It’s day after day. When we first introduced composting, our facilities manager was diving into the barrels to pull out the plastic forks from the compost and taking lids off of plastic bottles. Now people save up their Starbucks’ cups and make compost runs at the end of the day. And after hearing numerous other speakers, the battle isn’t too much different wherever you go.
This year, I want to go viral. Verity has just over 100 employees. We have over 26,000 members. What if all 26,000 stopped receiving paper statements and notices? Will cheaper financing of our Green Auto Loan help more of them to afford the premium placed on hybrid cars? Can discounted pricing make solar retrofits or replacement of hot water heaters pay back in 10 instead of 15 years? This is where I believe Verity can make an even bigger impact.
During my presentation, I mentioned that we hope to deliver a paperless mortgage: “Imagine reviewing all closing documents on line, signing electronically once and walking away with a thumb drive.” It was the only time that day I heard the audience burst into spontaneous applause. Perhaps going green can be just a little bit exciting.
Having the opportunity every day to get closer to fulfilling our mission statement is what excites John Zmolek about his new role as CEO of Verity Credit Union. John began his association with Verity as a board member in 1986 before moving into a vice president position in 1990. He stepped up to the CEO position on January 1, 2014. In his role, he manages the operations of the credit union while working closely with the board of directors to set the course of the credit union. John received his BS in Economics from Iowa State University and his MS from University of California- Davis. He has served on several non-profit boards, including his current position on the Bright Water School Board. Whether kayaking, bicycling or hiking, he likes to be outdoors. When indoors, he loves cooking and entertaining.