Skip to Content

Media Release

Reducing our Carbon Footprint

Self-Help Reports Progress to Reduce Operational and Portfolio Emissions

Jan 12, 2022

National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, Jan 10

[Durham, NC | January 12, 2022] — As part of our ongoing commitment to reduce operational and portfolio emissions from our business operations, the Center for Community Self-Help ( now releases results of two parallel analyses that investigate the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) associated with our business activities and investments.

The first analysis focuses on the operational GHG footprint associated directly with staff, the buildings they occupy and the business travel they do. We used the GHG Protocol methodology published by World Resources Institute.1 Our second analysis examines the GHG footprint of Self-Help’s commercial loan portfolio. We inspected indirect emissions associated with borrowers funded through commercial loans.  

Among the findings: Self-Help’s portfolio of solar loans avoided emissions in 2020 totals 173,167 metric tons of CO2e—comparable to avoiding pollution produced by electricity powering 21,000 houses for a year.

The projects were led by Self-Help Sustainability Director, Melissa Malkin-Weber. She notes that these projects reflect Self-Help’s deep commitment to sustainability. “This effort entailed learning to use carbon accounting principles, building organizational information collection and analysis tools, and opening the dialogue with internal stakeholders about how to use this information to drive change.”

“We aspire to set ambitious goals for Self-Help,” Malkin-Weber continues. “The GHG analyses of our operations and our lending portfolio are critical to establishing a solid baseline for setting carbon goals, as well as being able to assess progress toward them.”  

The report shows that the direct footprint of Self-Help’s operations in 2020 was just under 4,400 metric tons of CO2e. The report also measured the footprint of Self-Help’s commercial loans. That footprint is many, many times the impact of Self-Help’s direct emissions, highlighting a challenge for the future.

The report notes, though, that despite this challenge, Self-Help is starting out from a greener baseline than many other financial institutions. Since Self-Help does not finance fossil fuels, the footprint of its loan portfolio is many orders of magnitude smaller than the footprint of lenders who do.

The report also lays out the positive impact of the clean energy that Self-Help’s portfolio of solar loans generates. As noted above, the emissions these solar projects avoided totaled 173,167 metric tons of CO2e in 2020.

Every year January marks National Cut Your Energy Costs Day. Self-Help is among the early adopters of carbon footprint analysis among credit unions and Community Development Finance Institutions. Self-Help was part of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) North America Working Group that shaped standards for financial institutions to disclose the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of their investment portfolios. To date, 156 financial institutions representing $50 trillion in assets have committed to assessing and disclosing the GHG emissions of their loans and investments.  

Self-Help continues to work on the environmental sustainability efforts that align environmental impact with social justice impact.  The full report can be found here. Green impact statistics can be found on our websites at and

Headquartered in Durham, NC, the national Center for Community Self-Help is the umbrella organization for a family of nonprofit organizations whose collective mission is to create and protect ownership and economic opportunity for all. For over 42 years, the national Center for Community Self-Help and its affiliates  have provided more than $11 billion in financing to help over 198,000 people buy homes, start and grow businesses, and build wealth. Through our credit union network, Self-Help serves more than 188,000 members in California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

For more information, please visit

# # #

For More Information, Contact: 
Jenny Shields, Director of Media Relations, Self-Help Credit Union
Direct Line: 919.794.6798  Cell: 919.695.2037