A summit for the future

A summit for the future

UN FCU and OAS FCU have partnered to inspire credit unions worldwide to join the global movement for sustainable development.
sustainability summit

In late October of this year United Nations FCU and OAS FCU hosted the Third Annual Credit Union Summit on Sustainability. This year’s motto was “United in Sustainability”.

What is this Summit?

It’s a gathering of credit unions managers, volunteers and staff, alongside credit union industry peers where experts from many different fields speak on how credit unions can join the Green Economy and integrate the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals into their business plan and everyday work.

wind farm sustainability summit

As you may know, the UN, OECD and IMF have made a global call for all the world’s governments to take action for the future of humankind and earth. All three suggest what they call the “green recovery”, a public and private sector investment in making changes to infrastructure, industry and government so that we create a more sustainable and equal future for all while we help our economies rebuild from the recession that the covid-19 pandemic has wrought on every nation. The green recovery will help boost the economies while improving life for all.

OAS FCU is already working on several green recovery principles as part of our business model already in 2019, when we decided to integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals into the Credit Union’s business model. Since then we’ve been implementing measures that aim for lower carbon emissions, protecting the environment, and promoting economic growth worldwide.

Our role as credit unions

All credit unions stand to be big players in the green recovery. Most people don’t realize that credit unions represent the largest grassroots movement of the Americas and, like our CEO said during his remarks during the Summit:

“As participants and leaders in this movement, we have the implicit responsibility, based on our seven cooperative principles, of trying to make this world a better place. Because of this responsibility, it is important that the leaders of this movement commit to the Sustainable Development Goals, not just in practice but in making our volunteers, our peers, our members and the community conscious of these goals and their importance to society. Through us, our credit unions will spread this awareness to our communities and from there we’ll have a positive impact worldwide. There is no better aspiration than to work, from the ground up, on making prosperous individuals into growing communities, and those communities into agents or economic, social and environmental change.”

farmer's market sustainability summit

Because of our chosen role of becoming agents of change, in 2020 OAS FCU joined UN FCU and became an acting partner in the Summit which, due to the current situation, took place online. For two days a host of over 100 industry professionals and volunteers from 58 different credit unions met, talked and listened to experts and leaders who brought us their stories, their insights and their energy. They showed us that all financial institutions, no matter how big or small can stand to make a change both internally (through policies and measures that adapt to every budget) and externally via their volunteers and the communities they serve.


One of the most exciting presentations was that of world-renown National Geographic Society photographer Annie Griffiths on the many women’s sustainability projects she had encountered in her travels around the world.

We hope that this gathering will serve as a starting stone for those who attended this year’s event, who will spread their newly-acquired energy and insight to those around them, and get more people to join us in the future.

Watch the presentations from both days here.
Day 1
Day 2

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