Your friendly local credit union is now more environmentally friendly, too. Bay Federal Credit Union recently transformed its Aptos, Freedom, Salinas, and Watsonville Branches and established a blueprint to “Go Green” with its entire branch network.
The conversions, which involved implementing 50-plus sustainable measures, established a blueprint for Bay Federal to “Go Green” with its entire branch network. Bay Federal’s branches are also now one of more than 4,500 businesses in the California Green Business Network.
“To help protect our precious natural resources, Bay Federal is committed to being a good environmental steward. We’re pledging to bring all of our branches into the California Green Business Network in the coming months.”
— Carrie Birkhofer, Bay Federal’s President and CEO
Bay Federal is a not-for-profit financial cooperative with the mission of making a difference in the financial lives of its members. It has seven branch locations, and serves the communities of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito counties.
Micah Arnold, Facilities Senior Project Coordinator, spearheaded Bay Federal’s participation in the green business programs. His strategic approach allowed many of the changes implemented at Bay Federal’s Green Business Certified branches to be put into place at other branches as well.
“Because we have multiple locations and departments, over 200 employees, and financial regulations that we’re required to meet, we had to methodically assess each measure and then plan accordingly,” Arnold said. “The bonus is that this will allow us to certify our other locations faster.”
Arnold was also recently recognized by the Credit Union with an internal employee award for his leadership in embracing sustainable, cost-saving practices. For the branch transformations, Arnold and his team worked with Jakki Castorena-Davila, a Bilingual Sustainability Consultant with the CGB Network, to ensure Bay Federal’s success.
Castorena-Davila regularly assists small and midsize businesses in the tri-county area in fulfilling the program requirements. Her focus is on outreach, social equity, and program completion.
“It’s really important that businesses take this as a step because we all have to deal with climate change, and this is a way that businesses can reduce their environmental impact,” Castorena-Davila said.
Santa Cruz County now has 325 businesses in the CGB Network. Combined, they have:
- Saved over 2.7 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions
- Saved over 1.7 million kilowatt hours of energy
- Saved over 4.5 million gallons of water
- Saved over 2,000 gallons of fuel
Arnold encourages business owners who may be on the fence about joining the program to just dive in and apply.
“You’ll have many resources to help you to certify,” Arnold said. “Whether you’re concerned about how using non-toxic cleaning products will impact your operations or you’re unsure how to implement the changes — or even how you will fund the changes — your program coordinator will hold your hand through the entire process.”
For more information about becoming a green business, please visit the CGB Network website.
About Bay Federal Credit Union
Bay Federal Credit Union is a full-service, not-for-profit financial institution that serves over 80,000 members and 2,400 local businesses throughout Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey counties. With more than $1.6 billion in assets, Bay Federal is the largest member-owned financial institution in Santa Cruz County, serving its members and the community since 1957. Bay Federal is a certified Community Development Financial Institution, with a primary mission of promoting community development alongside their financial activities. Bay Federal has an award-winning employee volunteer program in which employees have given their own money and volunteer for numerous local schools, nonprofit organizations, and community events each year.