ICMIF/Americas launches a Sustainability Working Group with a focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Wednesday, 01 July 2020

Sustainability and the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the focus of a new ICMIF/Americas Working Group which was launched on 16 June 2020. The Working Group’s members currently consists of 18 executives from 14 ICMIF member companies, based in countries ranging from Central America to Argentina. 

Defined by the United Nations as early as 1997, sustainability means “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015, sets out to strengthen the world’s ability to address short-term risks and also build long-term resilience.

These objectives have never been more essential than today as the world is struggling with an unprecedented sanitary crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic and the global shock it created has deepened inequalities, hitting the poor the hardest.

However, as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mitzutori, says in an article she co-authored and which is the latest guest blog published by ICMIF, the disruption and suffering also gives us a chance to revisit much that underpins our modern world.

For the mutual and cooperative insurance sector, ensuring there is a fit between the universal call to action set out by the SDGs and their business models is timelier than ever.

Much like the 2030 UN Agenda, the development of mutual and cooperative insurers has always strived to balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

With the overarching principle and UN pledge of Leaving No One Behind, the objectives of the new Working Group are to identify common indicators and metrics to report on the contribution of the mutual and cooperative insurance sector to the United Nations Agenda 2030; discuss current issues within the framework of Sustainability; encourage Latin members of ICMIF/Americas to integrate and/or enhance sustainability in their strategy and share best practices based on sustainability.

This ambitious programme will be driven by Betina Azugna (pictured), CSR expert and Head of the Sustainability Department in Sancor Seguros (Argentina).

"Co-operatives and mutuals are a model of enterprise with values fully aligned with the 2030 UN Agenda. This collaborative space that has been formed will allow us to measure and enhance the impact at a regional level and be a driving force for collective action in favour of a greater contribution to the SDGs", said Betina Azugna.

Catherine Hock, who set up the Working Group for ICMIF/Americas said: ‘what distinguishes a mutual/cooperative insurer from a shareholder-driven one is the primary business objective. For a mutual or a cooperative, profitability is not the exclusive or primary objective. As a consequence,  mutual/cooperative insurers have the ability to manage for the long-term, and their social purpose supports the interests of their member-owners, as well as wider groups of stakeholders, such as the staff and the communities in which they are present.

The Sustainability Working Group is ICMIF/Americas’ second Working Group. The first one, entitled Capital Maintenance, identifies and evaluates existing capital instruments and gauges alternatives for accessing capital.