May 5, 2010
GUELPH, ON, May 5 /CNW/ - The Co-operators today released its sixth annual sustainability report, which outlines the organization's sustainability strategy and its progress in 2009 in achieving economic, social and environmental objectives. Last year saw the organization's efforts expand beyond incorporating sustainability principles into its own operations, as it increasingly focussed on promoting sustainable behaviour throughout Canada.
"Since formally beginning our sustainability journey in 2007, we've made some great strides, thanks to the efforts of our staff and agents," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "And while we're pleased with the progress we've made so far, our goal is to continually improve our performance in responsibly balancing our environmental, social and economic priorities."
In 2009, The Co-operators reduced its carbon footprint by 12 per cent, compared to 2007 baseline measurements. A number of energy efficiency improvements were implemented in its office buildings, following energy assessments at nine corporate offices. To reduce the need for business travel, more than $130,000 was invested in technology, making possible nearly 6,000 hours of meetings held via video conference last year. The organization has also converted its fleet of vehicles to more fuel-efficient models, reducing vehicle emissions by 31 per cent compared to 2007.
Having worked hard to improve its own operations, The Co-operators is increasingly working to promote sustainable behaviour among its stakeholders. The group of companies has recently begun offering hybrid vehicle discounts, environmentally responsible home insurance endorsements and socially responsible investment options.
In the fall of 2009, The Co-operators hosted IMPACT! The Co-operators Youth Conference for Sustainability Leadership to engage Canadian students in sustainability dialogue. The organization also signed the Copenhagen Communiqué on Climate Change and the 2009 Investor Statement on the Urgent Need for a Global Agreement on Climate Change, to show its support for a meaningful agreement in advance of the UN Conference on Climate Change.
Despite the challenging economic times, and recognizing that the non-profit sector has been hit especially hard, The Co-operators maintained its support to worthy causes throughout Canada. A total of $5.1 million was contributed, including corporate funding as well as staff and agent donations and volunteerism.
Of special note, The Co-operators celebrated the tenth anniversary of its signature child car seat safety program, Buckle Up Bears. Over the past decade, more than 1,000 volunteers have been trained and more than 10,000 car seats have been correctly installed in communities across Canada.
The Co-operators sustainability efforts were recently recognized by being included among The Green 30 - a list of Canada's top environmentally-responsible employers. The list was announced in Maclean's and Canadian Business magazines on Earth Day, April 22, 2010.
For more information, and to read the report in its entirety, please visit www.cooperators.ca.
About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a 100 per cent Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $36.9 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 owned by 47 Canadian co-operatives, credit union centrals and like-minded organizations. It is well known for its community involvement, and is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada.