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The most important and influential time for climate change and sustainability

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by Liam Carter, Sustainability - Advisor to the CEO, ICMIF

26 October 2021

This November, the United Nations (UN) COP26 Climate Change Conference is set to be the most important and influential global event for climate change and sustainability. To support the UN COP26 Conference, ICMIF will be hosting a series of events for those involved in sustainability or disaster risk reduction at our member organisations. The aim of these events is to strengthen the progression of the climate change agenda and help our members achieve their sustainability goals.

Sustainability is the undertaking of activities that demonstrate forward-looking social, environmental and ethical responsibility and is increasingly seen by ICMIF members as essential to the long-term success of their respective organisations. The greatest opportunity at this moment in time for engagement around sustainability and climate change is the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference.

Indeed, COP26 is now seen by many as the turning point for the future of our planet. We know that many of our members are focused on the COP26 event next month – but may not yet have an action plan or a strategy towards the event or, in some cases, the genuine threat of climate change.

The ICMIF strategy is clear and focuses on actions, not words. We have planned some important activities for our members that will coincide with the UN Conference and which we refer to as the ICMIF COP26 Sustainability Leaders event series. Full details and how and why to attend can be found here.

Whilst COP21 in 2015 was focused on the UN nation states and the commitments they made in the post 2-degree world, this year’s COP26 will be focused on what businesses will commit to. We fully endorse this intention but would reframe it as ‘what actions can mutuals and cooperatives commit to?’

The power is in our hands, and we will be working with all our members, no matter where they are in their sustainability journey, to achieve the fundamental goal of net-zero. We encourage all our members to join us for the ICMIF COP26 Sustainability Leaders event series.

In June 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “We are in a race against time to adapt to a rapidly changing climate. Today, we are at 1.2°C of warming and already witnessing unprecedented climate extremes and volatility on every continent.  As insurers and as investors, the insurance sector has a key role to play. Every country, city, financial institution and company needs to adopt plans for transitioning to net-zero emissions by 2050. That means taking decisive action now.”

Climate change and the broader issue of sustainability are acknowledged by many as the defining global issues of our time. The growing demands on insurers to take action to tackle climate change issues are loud and clear. Regulatory and stakeholder pressure will accelerate the need for mutuals and cooperatives to be leaders in building a more resilient planet and a more sustainable society.


For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub 

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