While uncertainty and challenges persisted throughout 2021, our co-operative had a productive and successful year. Our Board of Directors upheld its governance and key strategic oversight practices. I believe our identity as a co-operative is at the heart of this success.
Our co-operative nature is about more than our reputation in community, or the differentiating products, services and solutions that we offer. Fundamentally, it’s who we are. As a co-operative, we aren’t one voice, but many. The Co-operators Group Limited is governed by 46 member organizations who represent the interests of millions of Canadians. In addition to member organizations we are represented in communities across Canada by thousands of employees, Financial Advisors and client-facing staff. We are strengthened by coalitions of like-minded peers throughout the country and much of the world.
Our efforts are collective.
Virtually from the beginning, we have known how to work together. We were founded with an intrinsic ability to co-operate. And that’s why we are well-positioned to lead and to be a leader in addressing the challenges ahead. The changes we face are persistent and increasing. The pandemic and climate change have both shown that creative resilience is gained through co-operation. Co-operation isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be quite difficult.
Co-operation requires us to embrace differences to find solutions.
By working together, we have largely succeeded in meeting all challenges. This is something to celebrate and is further indicated by the strength of our member engagement. Through each challenge, we work across sectors and geographies, political views, languages and cultural understandings. We stay oriented to the co-operative purpose of ensuring we are meeting the needs of our members, and of all Canadians. We don’t always get it right; there are barriers and missteps along the way, and ways in which we must do better. For example, we must continue working to ensure our governance structures and board reflect principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility, not just in appearance but in practice.
2021 was a pivotal year.
We launched a new brand. We set net-zero climate targets and an ambitious bar to invest for positive impact. We supported communities through devastating climate-related events across Canada. We remained steadfast in other areas of support for communities, contributing 4.1% of our pre-tax profit to Canadian co-operatives, non-profits and charities. We doubled our financial support for expanding and emerging Canadian co-operatives. In each of these ways, and more, we’ve demonstrated our mission and our purpose to provide financial security for Canadians and our communities. I have no doubt that our clear sense of purpose will continue to be our greatest strength. As always, we face the future together.
Chairperson, Board of Directors, The Co-operators Group Limited