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Community First Earns Green Certification


By: David Williams

Dec. 19, 2011

Community First Earns Green Certification

GoLocal member Community First Credit Union, a 50-year-old financial cooperative based in Sonoma County, successively earned Green Certification for all six of its locations after thorough testing and monitoring by the county’s Green Business Program.

“To certify Community First, we evaluated more than 130 measures at each branch location, covering a broad spectrum of criteria,” said Amie Glass, Senior Green Business Program Coordinator for the County of Sonoma.  “Some of the measurements included the recycled content of paper products used, reusable food service-ware in break rooms, drought-tolerant landscaping, and low-toxic cleaning solutions,” she added.

In addition to doing the right thing for the communities where it operates, Community First figures to save money, which is always important for a not-for-profit financial cooperative.  According to an analysis performed by the County’s Green Business team, Community First will now save, on an annual basis:

  • 29,944 kilowatts of electricity
  • 78,040 gallons of water
  • 15,610 pounds of CO2
  • 1,236 pounds of solid waste diverted from landfill

Community First is one of 130 businesses to be certified in the 15-year-old, county-administered  program.  There are more than 20,000 companies doing business in Sonoma County.  Leading the employees of Community First was green consultant Julie Montgomery, Founder of Sage Principles, a sustainability consultant to small and medium size businesses in Sonoma County.

“Community First not only upgraded its water facets, light fixtures and waste disposal systems throughout the company, but also implemented a rigorous Environmentally Preferred Purchasing Policy to ensure only green products are used,” said Mara Hochman, also a Green Business Program Coordinator for Sonoma County.  “I was impressed with the credit union’s commitment and excitement throughout its ranks; they have been an inspiration to work with,” Hochman added.

About Community First ...
In addition to being the first financial institution to introduce “smart” offices to California, Community First was the first to introduce envelope-less, instant-receipt ATMs to Sonoma County, and the first locally owned financial institution to offer mobile banking via all smartphone platforms.

Community First has provided banking services to Sonoma County residents for 50 years.  It has two full service branches in central and west Santa Rosa, “smart offices” in Guerneville, Healdsburg and Sebastopol.  It was founded by seven Sonoma County teachers in 1961, but converted to a “Community Charter” in 1999 that allows any resident or student in Sonoma, Marin or Mendocino county to be a Member.  The financial cooperative has 13,000 Members, $125 million in assets and posted record net revenues of $1,446,901 at year’s end 2010.  

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