Member news: The Co-operators wins Excellence in Governance Award for sustainability and ESG practices

Thursday, 08 December 2016

The Co-operators, a Canadian member of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF), has been awarded an Excellence in Governance Award in the category of Best Practices in Sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues from the Governance Professionals of Canada.

The Co-operators was recognized for its progress in embedding sustainability and ESG considerations into every aspect of its business. This includes a variety of initiatives ranging from the introduction of new sustainable products and services, to redefining the manner in which it operates to achieve goals such as reducing its carbon footprint, to maintaining a high level of employee engagement on sustainability. At the governance level, sustainability practices have been embedded into all of the board of directors' key functions including director education, CEO recruitment, executive compensation, performance objectives and appraisals.

"As a co-operative, our governance structure is different from that of most other companies. It encourages dialogue, participation and democratic decision-making, and is accountable to our 43 member organizations," said Kathy Bardswick (pictured), outgoing president and CEO of The Co-operators. "The support and engagement of our members, and in particular our board of directors, has been instrumental to the success we've had in transforming our organization into one that is recognized as a leader in sustainability."

The board of directors has implemented green meetings including reduction of air travel, and begun to measure and disclose the environmental impact of its meetings. The Co-operators has also created a standing board committee that oversees and advises on the development and implementation of the organization's long-term sustainability goals.

In judging nominees, a jury panel of corporate governance experts considered the "board's responsibilities for the company's sustainability policies and strategies as well as its role in designing processes that effectively addressed its own sustainability."

SOURCE The Co-operators