Member news: The Co-operators awards more than CAD 90,000 to young sustainability champions

Wednesday, 04 November 2015

Through the IMPACT! Fund, Canadian ICMIF member The Co-operators has recently awarded CAD 93,747 in grants to 21 young Canadians who demonstrated leadership and ingenuity in sustainability. The IMPACT! Fund, which is part of the IMPACT! Youth Program for Sustainability Leadership, financially supports young sustainability leaders as they implement programs that have a positive impact on Canadian communities.

Since its creation in 2009, the IMPACT! Fund has provided CAD 526,400 in grants to support 91 sustainability projects led by youth who have attended one off the IMPACT! conferences or one of the regional IMPACT! Sustainability Champions Training sessions, and who have an active focus on making their communities healthier and more sustainable.

"The passion and resourcefulness of these young sustainability leaders is inspiring, and we're pleased to provide financial support to help their projects make a bigger impact in their communities," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators (pictured above with ICMIF CEO Shaun Tarbuck at the ICMIF Biennial Conference). "As the IMPACT! Program continues to grow, it is creating a network of change agents whose potential to contribute to a healthier, more equitable tomorrow is virtually unlimited."

The grant recipients range from a First Nations community garden that focuses on the traditional relationship with the land to a mobile app that maps clusters of disease and their links to environment patterns. Overall, the young adults leading these projects demonstrate strong sustainability leadership in communities across Canada. The IMPACT! website has details on each of the 21 projects.

IMPACT! Youth Program for Sustainability Leadership is an award-winning initiative of The Co-operators and The Natural Step Canada, in partnership with AIESEC Guelph, the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, Futurpreneur Canada, Lambton College, Social Delta, SoJo, and the University of Guelph. It is recognized as a model for corporate-community partnerships and for assisting Canadian youth become more effective sustainability champions.

Shaun Tarbuck, CEO of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation, says: “As a cooperative, an insurer, employer, investor, and a community partner, The Co-operators is demonstrating the organization’s belief in trying to lead the way in ensuring a sustainable future. They seek to use their cooperative identity to create unique opportunities to demonstrate such leadership.

“The most important way that cooperatives and mutuals can advance sustainability is by meeting the needs of their members. Members of ICMIF must work to help their members prevent, mitigate and adapt to new risks and seize new opportunities that arise from sustainability challenges. Meeting the emerging and unmet needs of policyholders is fundamental to cooperative and mutual values and enables our members to contribute to a sustainable future.”

Kathy Bardswick is an ICMIF Board Member and recently participated in a panel session at the ICMIF Biennial Conference which took place in Minneapolis (USA) from 6-9 October. Kathy’s session examined the topic of building more resilient financial systems and looked at how policymakers, governments and civil society have turned to the insurance industry to help them build a more resilient world. Videos of all the Conference sessions can be viewed online here.