Our world in 2020
The value we create for our members, clients and communities is closely connected to the social, environmental and financial dynamics of our time. As the world undergoes rapid change, we are poised to anticipate, respond, and adapt to emerging issues and trends in order to stay relevant and effective.
The COVID-19 global pandemic
Global and local uncertainty and volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had significant and varied impacts on our co-operative, as well as on our members, clients and communities. Immediate threats to physical health, an increase in deaths and hospitalizations, government-issued lockdowns, business interruption, financial insecurity as a result of widespread layoffs and unemployment, and lingering mental health impacts were exceedingly significant challenges that defined 2020. Many of the impacts felt by our organization are highlighted throughout this report, including how we adapted our strategy, governance and operations; how we supported our clients, members and communities; and how we adapted our work culture and environment to keep our communities, employees, Financial Advisors and other client-facing staff healthy and safe.
Systemic racism and inequality
Racism and inequality faced by marginalized communities, including Black, Indigenous and other Persons of Colour within our society were highlighted with the Black Lives Matter movement, Indigenous rights movement, and an increased need for efforts towards Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. While these pressing human rights issues were brought to the forefront in 2020, they are long-standing and systemic, and require our urgent attention, commitment and meaningful action. Learn more about support for Black Lives Matter and the strategies and actions we’re undertaking to address systemic racism and foster a more diverse and inclusive organization.
Increasing trends of frequency and severity of climate-related catastrophes such as flooding, wildfires, and extreme weather events remain top of mind, especially in the context of a pandemic, when cascading catastrophes pose a significant risk to the financial security of Canadians and our communities. Climate change is pervasive and escalating, and requires urgent and co-ordinated action. Throughout this report, we discuss our strategy and approach in response to a changing climate. For a consolidated and comprehensive view, read our TCFD report on our website at cooperators.ca/reports.
The rise of virtual work
Workplaces in 2020 looked significantly different than they did just one year ago. Conditions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic led to an unprecedented shift away from in-person engagement and interactions with clients and business partners. By necessity, an expansion of online, remote and flexible work arrangements redefined boundaries between people’s homes and workplaces. This has impacted how organizations foster positive work culture and opened up conversations on how best to foster productivity, collaboration and positive work-life balance.
Other issues and trends
There are ongoing and escalating issues and trends, including unknown and potentially significant ripple effects from the pandemic in the years to come, that we continuously monitor, which have guided our strategy and approach to providing solutions to Canadians and our communities. Rapid technological developments and disruptions in the automotive industry, the increased digitization and customization of the client experience, increased cyber security risks, an aging population, growing economic inequality, and more are examined, both in terms of the risks they pose and the opportunities they present.