Publications & Thought Leadership

Credit Union Social Purpose Assessment Tool

Canadian credit unions are clarifying their social purpose to better meet member needs, play a stronger role in fostering resilient and co-operative communities and grow their businesses. This Social Purpose Assessment tool was developed to help them in that effort. Using the language of corporate social responsibility (CSR), it guides credit unions through a process of considering the purpose and focus of their social role.

The Credit Union Social Purpose Assessment Tool is designed to assist in credit union strategic planning. It is a four-stage checklist of best, leading and next practices in CSR, social purpose and values-based banking in six areas of governance, members, employees, community, environment, suppliers and business partners and the co-operative sector.

The purpose of conducting a Social Purpose Assessment is:

  • Current state: To understand your current “CSR” practice along a continuum of social purpose and impact – to find out how much you are currently doing
  • Opportunities: To identify strengths, gaps and opportunities your credit union could prioritize in its CSR strategy
  • Education: To educate functional leaders on the meaning and implications of CSR and social purpose with regard to their functions, the credit union, employees, members and other stakeholders

Completing the Social Purpose Assessment tool will provide you with the following insights:

  • Governance: Your current core CSR philosophy, business model and view of profit generation, and the degree to which social purpose is embedded in your governance and management systems
  • Members: How you engage members in your social purpose efforts and enable their financial resilience
  • Communities: How you engage your communities in your social purpose efforts, enable their resilience and use your branches, products and services to foster sustainable growth
  • Employees: How you engage your employees in your social purpose efforts, enable their health and well-being and foster an inclusive workforce
  • Environment: How you reduce your direct and indirect environmental impacts and foster a sustainable economy
  • Suppliers: How you engage your suppliers and business partners in your social purpose efforts
  • Co-operatives: How you support the growth of a strong and resilient co-operative sector

This baseline assessment will help you to determine where the majority of your efforts are, along a continuum from “basic”, through “advancing”, and “integrated” towards “social purpose”. It will improve your understanding of actions to be taken at higher levels of purpose and impact so that you can determine what areas you would like to pursue by when. Credit unions can review this tool and consider where their credit union is today and where they would like their credit union to be in three, five or ten years.

Download your copy of the Credit Union Social Purpose Assessment Tool.

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