The Co-operators named Canada’s #1 corporate citizen

4 June 2019


Canadian ICMIF member, The Co-operators, has been named Canada’s number one corporate citizen on the 2019 list of Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada issued by Corporate Knights, a Toronto-based media, research and financial products company focused on sustainability and clean capitalism.

“To be recognized as the leader in sustainability among our peers is a great honour, and one that strongly reflects our core purpose to provide financial security for Canadians and their communities,” says Rob Wesseling (pictured), President and CEO, The Co-operators. “As the world continues to rapidly change, our commitment to developing and advocating for sustainable solutions is more important than ever to fulfilling that purpose.”

The annual ranking assesses corporate sustainability performance from a pool of companies with revenues over CAD 1 billion, using environmental, social and governance indicators including the percentage of revenue earned from clean sources, the diversity of its board of directors and senior management, the CEO to average employee pay ratio, greenhouse gas emissions,  executive compensation links to sustainability targets, and more.

“We’ve embedded sustainability into all our business decisions, processes and actions,” says Barbara Turley-McIntyre, Vice-President, Sustainability and Citizenship, The Co-operators. “Our financial success is deeply intertwined with the well-being of our communities and the environment. In other words, what’s good for sustainability is good for business.” 

The Co-operators received high scores for its clean revenue that also offer clear environmental and social benefits to Canadians. For example, the cooperative insurer was the first to offer comprehensive residential flood coverage, including overland flood protection for Canadians at highest risk, and is the first and only insurer to offer protection from storm surge in Canada.

As of the end of 2018, the organization also invested CAD 1.2 billion – representing over 13% of its total invested assets – into impact investments that broaden returns beyond purely financial gains, into social and environmental benefits. 

Other performance highlights from The Co-operators 2018 Integrated Annual Report:

  • Reduced net carbon emissions by 81% from 2010 levels, with target to reach carbon neutral equivalency by 2020
  • Contributed CAD 8.85 million in 2018 to improve community well-being (4.3% of pre-tax profits, exceeding the Imagine Canada Caring Corporation benchmark of 1%)
  • 11% of earned insurance premiums are linked to sustainability themes
  • 94% of senior leaders have a bonusable goal related to sustainability and/or co-operative identity
  • Aon Best Employer ranking (Platinum level) for 16 consecutive years, with a 94% employee retention rate
  • Aligned long-term corporate strategy to the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 
  • Formally supports the recommendations of the Task force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures and has developed a three-year plan to implement

Barbara Turley-McIntyre was one of the two speakers in the recent ICMIF Webinar “Creating value through embedding sustainability at The Co-operators” along with Andrew Yorke, Vice-President, Corporate Finance Services.

The Co-operators developed their first sustainability strategy just over a decade ago and in 2015, formally began to integrate and embed sustainability in their corporate strategy. Their journey to embed sustainability organisation-wide continues today and in the ICMIF webinar, Barbara Turley-McIntyre, Vice-President, Sustainability and Citizenship, and Andrew Yorke, Vice-President, Corporate Finance Services, explored the business impact of those efforts. They discussed how the relationship between the financial and non-financial elements of the organisation has evolved, creating economic, social and environmental value for the organisation.

For more information about ICMIF webinars and/or to request a link to view a recording of this webinar, please contact

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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