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New report highlights co-operatives' commitment to climate change disclosure

Oct 17, 2017
9:10am

GUELPH, ON, Oct. 17, 2017 /CNW/ - As the importance of integrating climate change into public reporting continues to grow, a new study highlights Canadian co-operatives and credit unions' commitment to climate disclosure. Commissioned and released today by The Co-operators, the report summarizes climate disclosures made by 10 of the largest co-operative organizations in Canada. The purpose of the report is to serve as an initial benchmark for co-operatives to consider how their climate change strategies can evolve to address the shift to a low-carbon economy and adapt to risks associated with climate change.

Review of Climate-Related Disclosures by Canadian Co-operatives and Credit Unions follows a study of 75 publicly-traded companies released by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada in June 2017. Both studies were conducted by Zizzo Strategy, a consulting firm that specializes in identifying, managing and reporting on climate-related risks and opportunities. Similar methodologies to assess the extent and nature of climate disclosures were applied in both studies; however, because co-operatives' mandatory reporting requirements are more limited, their voluntary disclosures were considered in order to build a composite picture.

"This study shows that co-operatives and credit unions in Canada are beginning to include climate-related information in their reporting, but there is a gap between what is being recommended by bodies like the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure and what organizations are disclosing," said Laura Zizzo, founder and CEO of Zizzo Strategy. "There is room for improvement and a need for greater context, comparability and consistency in reporting. It is hoped that this study will act as a starting point, providing a relevant benchmark regarding the integration of climate change into organizations' public reporting and informing further conversations on this topic going forward."

The review focused on five categories: governance, strategy, risk management, metrics and targets, and corporate or investor engagement. Highlights of the findings include:

  • 100 percent of the co-operative organizations considered made some form of climate change-related public disclosure
  • 50 percent disclosed proactive business strategies to deal with the transition to a low-carbon economy and climate-resilient future
  • Only 20 percent discussed physical climate-related risks, and the same number of organizations discussed climate-related regulatory and litigation risks
  • 100 percent discussed their activities aimed at managing or reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while 60 percent disclosed emissions data and 50 percent disclosed emission reduction targets and measured their progress against them

"Climate change disclosure can help organizations improve their climate-risk management capacity, develop resiliency and promote sustainability," said Bruce West, executive vice-president, finance and chief financial officer of The Co-operators. "It is our hope that the information in this report will be used by co-operatives and other businesses to assess their own practices and consider how they can be improved in the future."

The research was informed in part by recommendations of the Financial Stability Board's Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, which provides guidance on what and how businesses should be managing and disclosing their climate risks and opportunities.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $48 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.

The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, Phone: 519-767-3937


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