Simon Fraser University is the first university in Canada to invest with Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB). The $10 million deposit in the bank’s Impact GIC will finance projects that help to build affordable and sustainable communities across Canada.
“We’ve been looking to expand our responsible investments in a way that directly benefits people in our community,” says Jacky Shen, director of SFU’s treasury department. “VCIB supports projects that align with our values and we’re proud to be the first Canadian university to invest with them.”
Universities and other institutional investors appreciate the Impact GIC as a safe and secure way to invest at competitive rates, while supporting transformational change in their communities and meeting the needs of their students and other stakeholders.
“Universities can be significant platforms for societal and environmental change, and they have the power and resources to create positive impact beyond the campus boundary,” notes Jennifer Hutcheon, Vice President at VCIB. “When responsible investors like SFU choose to invest with VCIB, they are choosing to support tangible, impact-driven projects that advance the change we need to see in the world.”
Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB) is part of the Vancity Group and a recognized leader in impact investing. With a 100% impact mandate, VCIB is the only bank in Canada that exclusively finances organizations and enterprises that drive social, economic and environmental change. This means that all projects must make a measurable contribution to building equitable and sustainable communities as a requirement for financing approval.
“Our impact lending requirements set a high threshold,” adds Hutcheon. “But when all loans are guaranteed ‘impact’, depositors are assured that their investments support only impact-driven projects. When you add the flexibility of the cashable option plus competitive returns, the Impact GIC is most definitely an attractive choice for institutional investors.”
The Impact GIC at work
With funds from Impact GICs, VCIB’s climate finance team supported the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation’s clean energy portfolio by refinancing the Niagara Region Wind Farm, the second largest wind farm in Ontario. In British Columbia, VCIB financed an innovative residential retrofit project where geoexchange technology provides low-cost, clean and efficient heating and cooling for nearly 250 homes. More recently, VCIB financed an innovative partnership with Vancouver-based Seven Generation Capital to advance the electrification of Canada’s freight transportation sector.
A considerable amount of VCIB’s funds on deposit have been used to increase housing affordability across Canada. Examples include financing to support Habitat for Humanity’s development of 414 affordable housing units in the next three years, and Union Co-operative’s preservation of 58 affordable apartments in Ontario.
“There are many worthy projects VCIB has supported to date that are making a difference,” says Shen. “We’re eager to see what kind of impact our deposit can help make, while providing the university a healthy return on its investment.”