Get an Inside Look Into the Work of Leading CDFI's Sustainability Director

Submitted by greenamerica on February 11, 2016

Green business leaders and aspiring green jobs seekers alike will be inspired by the impact story of Melissa Malkin-Weber, Sustainability Director at Self-Help Credit Union. Writing for Green Money Journal, Malkin-Weber shared some of the powerful work she's contributed to at Self-Help Credit Union, an innovative community development financial institution serving communities across North Carolina. Self-Help provides responsible financial services, lends to individuals,  small businesses and nonprofits, develops real estate; and promotes fair financial practices across North Carolina and the nation. Over 35 years starting with worker-owned cooperatives, Self-Help has made $249 million in direct loans, supporting everything from healthy food to clean energy. From her first day in 2011, Self-Help challenged Malkin-Weber to create sustainability solutions for every aspect of the business. She jumped right in:Melissa Malkin-Weber, Sustainability Director at Self-Help Credit Union | Credit: Green Money Journal Melissa Malkin-Weber, Sustainability Director at Self-Help Credit Union | Credit: Green Money Journal

In a short time, we have increased investments in green projects and become more strategic about integrating environmental sustainability into our day-to-day work, from encouraging more car-pooling among our staff to incorporating major energy conservation in multi-million dollar projects.   We developed processes to weigh the benefits of energy upgrades against expenses, and we selected the most practical, cost effective options for our buildings.   We received grants to supplement our own efficiency investments, updated our energy tracking and benchmarking, and engaged vendor partners in improving their environmental practices.  At the same time, we worked on environmental awareness among all of our staff, emphasizing that even small actions count—such as using one paper towel instead of two.   At the end of two years, we measured all of the successes, large and small. We were delighted to find that we had greened Self-Help activities to the tune of $1.7 million (net present value) when we totaled projected energy savings, program benefits and new green loans.

Self-Help has poured $75 million in capital access into solar farms, and connections through peer CDFIs RSF Social Finance and Craft3 led Self-Help to work on green business and nonprofit projects for home energy efficiency and a new eco-lodge under construction in Yosemite National Park. Read her story of Self-Help's accomplishments. Explore Self-Help's work to expand opportunities for underserved communities. What does it take to land your sustainability dream job?

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