UCC to work with Swoboda to develop credit union pathways to net zero

The world is facing a climate and biodiversity emergency and all financial institutions, including credit unions, have a role to play in tacking climate change and achieving net zero emissions.

The Swoboda Credit Union Conference in Dublin in May 2022 focused on green lending.  All the speakers, from credit unions to fintech companies to the government minister, agreed on the opportunity for credit unions to help finance progress to a sustainable, net zero economy.  But a lot remains to be done if credit unions are to effectively implement net zero strategies throughout the business.

Swoboda is delighted to award this year’s Credit Union Research Prize to a study which will explore how credit unions can play a much greater role in the move to net zero sustainability, and beyond, where green finance is just one opportunity among others.

The well-known research team of Dr Olive McCarthy and Dr Noreen Byrne from the Centre for Co-operative Studies at University College Cork will consider how credit unions can pursue net zero strategies.  This will include identifying opportunities within their own operations, initiating or supporting activities at a national or local level, as well as developing products that meet the growing need for investment in technologies and industries to support net zero transition.

Big thinking is needed and credit unions, embedded as they are in local communities, are in a good place to provide climate leadership in the national response to environmental deterioration.

The study will be focused on Ireland, but will also examine good practice internationally, and the findings and recommendations with have relevance for credit unions everywhere.

We will keep Swoboda members up-to-date with the progress of this research, which will conclude in 2023. If you have an interest in participating in the research, please contact the project leaders (o.mccarthy@ucc.ie and n.byrne@ucc.ie).

The Credit Union Research PrizeThe Credit Union Research Prize, which includes a contribution of €4,000 to time and materials, is awarded annually by the Swoboda Research Centre to research projects which are of particular topicality and relevance to the credit union movements in Britain and Ireland. If you are a researcher and would like to discuss the Prize, or a potential funder who would like to support this work, please contact Nick Money (nick.money@swobodacentre.org).