May 14, 2007
GUELPH, ON, May 14 /CNW/ - On May 15-17, 125 representatives from Canada's co-operatives and credit unions will gather in Guelph, Ontario for a forum on the practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Also referred to as sustainability or corporate responsibility, CSR is a philosophy of business that promotes environmental stewardship and support for the social economy. The event will feature a wide range of interactive workshops as well as presentations from CEOs and CSR professionals. The goal of the conference is to further entrench the principles of CSR within Canada's diverse network of co-operatives and credit unions, and also to help participants achieve proficiency at devising, implementing and measuring CSR-related activities. A steering committee composed of representatives of co-ops and credit unions from across Canada has planned and co-ordinated the event. This is the second CSR forum assembled by representatives of the greater co-operative community and signals the growing sector's emphasis on issues related to sustainability. Dennis Deters, senior vice president of The Co-operators and member of the conference steering committee, explains the importance of gatherings like this one. "This conference is an opportunity for those who share co-operative values to exchange ideas," he said. "Our operations are always geared toward satisfying social needs and encouraging community-based approaches to social and environmental challenges. Forums like this one allow us to learn from one another and ultimately, to better contribute to the well-being of our communities." May 15 and 16 will feature a Panel discussion featuring CEOs of leading Canadian co-operatives and credit unions; a presentation on climate change by Guelph's Walt Palmer, one of Al Gore's environmental warriors; a discussion facilitated by Chad Park of The Natural Step Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping communities and businesses move toward sustainability; and a number of workshops on various aspects of CSR. On Thursday May 17, the Canadian Community Investment Network Co-operative (CCINC) will hold its Annual General Meeting and workshops. CCINC is a pan-Canadian network of community loan funds, micro-loan funds and financial institutions with community investment programs. Also that day will be a forum and workshops held by CoopZone, a network of Canadian co-operative developers. About The Co-operators: Based in Guelph, Ontario, The Co-operators is a group of Canadian companies offering home, auto, life, group, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products and property development. With assets of $7 billion, The Co-operators is a co-operative owned by 37 Canadian co-operatives, credit unions and like-minded organizations. It is well known for its community involvement, and is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada.
For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, (877) 795-7272, ext. 2707