Co-operators appoints Executive Advisor, Climate Investing and Community Resilience to build momentum for new investments to support climate adaptation projects and climate-resilient infrastructure

29 March 2022

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Canadian ICMIF member Co-operators has announced the appointment of former Mayor of Edmonton Don Iveson as Executive Advisor, Climate Investing and Community Resilience. This position was established to build momentum and capacity for a wave of new investments in Canada that will support climate adaptation projects and climate-resilient infrastructure in communities across the country.

The new position will advance Co-operators’ efforts to catalyse sustainable investing in Canada. Currently, over 21% of its invested assets – more than CAD 2.6 billion – are invested in impact investments that provide solutions to pressing environmental and social challenges. Co-operators has a target to invest 60% of its total assets to support the transition to a sustainable, resilient, low-emissions society by 2030.

Co-operators and Iveson aim to help reduce risk in Canadian communities, in part by creating the conditions needed to increase capital flows to fund climate adaptation infrastructure in municipalities across the country. Communities will benefit tangibly from such investments both financially and in terms of environmental resilience and emotional peace of mind.

“As an insurer, we see the financial and emotional impacts of climate change on our members, clients and communities,” says Rob Wesseling, President and CEO of Co-operators. “As an investor, we can help build infrastructure and support initiatives that improve the resilience of our communities. Working together, with Don’s first-hand understanding of the challenges municipalities face and the opportunities that exist in terms of climate solutions, we can now lay the groundwork for a new model for climate-resilient investments in Canada.”

For Iveson, the strategic partnership was an intuitive next step in his career, and one that will build on his existing legacy as Mayor of one of Canada’s most climate-conscious cities.

“In my time at Edmonton City Hall, and as Chair of Canada’s Big City Mayors, I thrived on building coalitions to tackle complex challenges like climate change. I also know the aging infrastructure, the shortage of funding, and the gaps in capacity facing local governments in tackling the impacts of our already changing climate,” says Iveson.

“I am grateful to be working with visionaries like Rob and his team at Co-operators who share strong purpose when it comes to community resiliency. Bringing big data risk modelling, engineering solutions and private investment to bear to help towns, counties and cities contend with climate risks requires precisely the kind of problem solving and coalition building I love,” Iveson concluded.

Wesseling and Iveson will be speaking together in the upcoming panel on the topic of resilience investing at GLOBE Forum 2022 on 30 March 2022, in Vancouver (Canada). Joining this panel will be Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of ICMIF partner organisation the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). Also appearing are leaders from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Canada’s Infrastructure Bank. The panellists will appeal to an array of multi-sector Canadian stakeholders on the importance of building capacity and collaboration for investments to flow towards projects that will make communities in Canada more climate-resilient and sustainable, and better equipped to face the increasing climate impacts that are already upon them.

In the session, the panellists will explore questions including:

  • What are climate resilience investments, and why are they needed?
  • What barriers must be overcome to increase the flow of private capital towards climate resilient infrastructure?
  • What can governments do to attract private capital for climate resilience investments?
  • What can be learned from leading practice globally?

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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