Portrait of Paul Herendeen.

Measuring Our Impact

In this story, we talk to Paul Herendeen, Director of Impact Market Development, about the focus of our very first Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

An important part of Clearwater’s commitment to values-based banking is understanding and taking responsibility for the environmental footprint of our business.

What does the EIA measure?

The EIA measures the impact of business operations. It’s helpful to think about it in two parts. The first examines broad-scale impacts. For what we do, this mostly means greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. The second looks at local impacts including our water use, solid waste generation, and air pollutant emissions. The assessment covers direct effects, things we do on site, as well as indirect effects like corporate travel and employee commuting.

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Environmental Impact Assessment

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Environmental Management Plan

Why is it important?

Above all, it’s an important part of our commitment to transparency. Our members deserve to know. We also recognize that the first and most direct way we can become better environmental stewards is to analyze and address issues under our control. Carbon offsets have their place, but if, for example, we can simply use less energy and water during the average business day, we can make an immediate and tangible difference, lessening our environmental impact.

View of Clearwater's Reserve Street branch solar panels above the drive-thru.

What are the outcomes?

The response of our co-workers and membership to values-based banking has been overwhelmingly positive, and this work is an extension of those values. With an initial focus on business operations, I expect we’ll be able to reduce our impact in significant and cost-effective ways. We want Montanans to know that by banking with us, or serving in any capacity for the credit union, you’re helping protect Montana’s environment and improve the way we do business. We also hope our work will educate and inspire others to follow our example.

Reducing our environmental impact isn’t a one-time thing; it’s an ongoing effort to incorporate sustainability into our day-to-day operations. Measurement is a critical first step, but it’s not enough. For measurement to be effective, it needs to be followed by action.

— Paul Herendeen
Woman watering plants in a green house.

How does this help achieve our mission?

Our mission is to be a force for good in banking, in the communities we serve and in the lives of our members. Reducing our environmental footprint is good business, and we hope that our stewardship will educate and inspire our members, employees and fellow businesses and ensure that clean water, fresh air, and healthy wild places continue to define what makes Montana a special place to live and work.

Workers installing solar panels with the M and L on the mountains in the background.

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