Contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We’ve connected our co-operative to a concerted global movement to protect the environmental, social and financial well-being of current and future generations. The Co-operators has endorsed all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aligned our 2030 Enterprise Long-term Goals to nine specific SDGs on which we have the greatest expertise and can make the most meaningful impact. We’ve outlined a few selected highlights of how we’re contributing to the SDGs today, in an effort to help build a more sustainable future.

SDG 3: Good health and well-being

UN target: 3.4 – Mental health and well-being

How we’re contributing:
In 2020, we contributed $940,000 to support marginalized youth and people with mental health challenges, including $150,000 to Kids Help Phone Crisis Text Line, Canada’s first-ever crisis texting service, which helps youth access mental health support in their preferred way.

SDG 5: Gender equality

UN indicator: 5.5.2 – The proportion of women in managerial positions

How we’re contributing:
In 2020, 25 per cent of our senior leadership positions were held by women, 36 per cent of our executive leadership team were women, and 32 per cent of our Board of Directors were women. We have further to go to achieve gender equality in the senior leadership levels across our group of companies and in our governance.

SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy

UN indicator: 7.2.1 – Renewable energy share in the total final energy consumption

How we’re contributing:
In 2020, our impact investments were directed towards projects and initiatives that were responsible for generating 235 MWh of renewable energy, enough to power 9 million homes for one year.

Note: The impact does not result solely from our investments, but depict the total impact achieved by the projects and initiatives in which we invest. Because of reporting periods, this value is for fiscal 2019.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

UN indicator: 8.5.2 – Equal pay for work of equal value

How we’re contributing:
As a living-wage employer, we offer a competitive and equitable compensation package. An annual gender pay review continues to confirm that across equivalent salary grades, a pay inequity among genders does not exist in our organization. We currently employ 6,285 full-time and 169 part-time employees, with a 93 per cent employee retention rate in 2020.

SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

UN indicator: 9.4.1 - CO2 emission per unit of value added

How we’re contributing:
We continue to monitor and disclose the carbon footprint of our investments, understanding that our invested assets continue to impact and influence global carbon emissions and climate-related risk. In 2020, the economic emission intensity, or carbon footprint, of our listed equity and corporate bond portfolios was 77.7 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per million dollars invested.

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

UN target: 11.5 - Reduce economic losses caused by water-related disasters

How we’re contributing:
In 2020, we developed Canada’s most robust and up-to-date flood model of the Great Lakes coastal regions, modeling flood risk from ‘seiches’, which are lake storm surge events. Our Comprehensive Water product is Canada’s first and only flood insurance product to cover all Canadians from the risks of overland flooding including storm surge, regardless of their risk level.

SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production

UN target: 12.2 - Sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources

How we’re contributing:
In 2020, over 80,000 of our client households had signed up to go ‘paperless’ through our continued promotion of online services, avoiding the use of over 1.2 million sheets of paper.

SDG 13: Climate action

UN target: 13.3 Awareness raising on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

How we’re contributing:
In 2020, we helped clients prepare for and prevent losses that might be incurred from catastrophic events and seasonal weather patterns by sending over 404,000 targeted eAlerts and eReminders to clients across Canada. These messages included information on how best to prepare and protect their belongings to mitigate losses and stay safe. We track, monitor and model climate-related risks across a variety of scenarios to predict how events like wildfire, flooding and extreme weather might impact our clients and communities.

SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

UN target: 17.14 Policy for sustainable development

How we’re contributing:
We advocate various levels of governments in Canada for greater policy coherence for sustainability and to shape priorities for a sustainable, resilient recovery to the pandemic. The issues on which we focus include climate resilience, greenhouse gas reductions, sustainable finance, mental health, and active transportation. For example, we supported several initiatives to advance the implementation of recommendations of the Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance, and actively participated in a major UNEP FI initiative exploring climate risk scenarios to advance the implementation of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).