The Co-operators sets targets for a net-zero future

30 June 2021

Solar farm in UK

This week, Canadian ICMIF member The Co-operators announced net-zero targets for its investments and operations, joining a growing movement of financial services organisations helping to define a path for the crucial transition to a more sustainable, zero-emissions economy. The Canadian financial services cooperative, with over CAD 57.8 billion in assets under management, says it will be net-zero in both its operations and its investments, by 2040 and 2050, respectively. In addition, by 2030, it will invest 60% of its invested assets into impact investments or those that support the transition to a sustainable, resilient, low-emissions society.

To measurably demonstrate progress towards these goals, The Co-operators is setting interim targets and milestones, outlined below. The company is also the first Canadian insurer and second Canadian organisation to officially sign on to the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, an international group of institutional investors working to transition investment portfolios to net-zero emissions by 2050. ICMIF members Folksam (Sweden) and Swiss Re (global) are also members of the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance.

“There is no question that collectively, we must significantly reduce our emissions to mitigate the increasing risks and impacts of our changing climate,” says Rob Wesseling, President & CEO of The Co-operators, “As a purpose-driven organisation, The Co-operators has historically embraced our role to embed sustainability into all our investment and operational decisions. Today, our climate targets further reflect our intention to use our financial and cooperative strength to lead positive change toward a net-zero emissions future.”

“Fundamental to our mission of providing financial security for Canadians and our communities is ensuring that we help protect the long-term health, sustainability and well-being of the planet and the societies that it supports,” said Karen Higgins, Chief Financial Officer of The Co-operators. “Setting these targets and joining the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance are natural extensions of our cooperative identity and are crucial to maintain the financial strength of our organisation, our sector and our economy.

A journey to net zero

Further to its 2018 Climate Commitment and moving beyond the achievement of 100% carbon neutral equivalency in 2020, The Co-operators has mapped a journey to net zero via its investments and operations.

Net-zero operations by 2040

  • 2030: Reduce emissions of our operations by 45%
  • 2040: Emissions of our operations will be net-zero.

The Co-operators will reduce the direct emissions (Scope one) and indirect emissions (Scopes two and three) of its operations. This includes emissions resulting from activities such as natural gas usage, fleet vehicles, building electricity usage, financial advisor offices, business travel and more.

Net-zero investments by 2050

  • 2026: Reduce the emissions of investments by 20% (public equities and publicly-traded corporate bond portfolios)
  • 2050: Investment portfolio will be net-zero

New interim targets will be set every four years, and The Co-operators says it will disclose progress towards investment goals at least annually.

Impact investing for a sustainable future

By 2030, The Co-operators will invest 60% of its total invested assets in either impact investments or investments that support the transition to a sustainable, resilient, low-emissions society.

Through asset management company Addenda Capital, part of The Co-operators group of companies, The Co-operators currently invests 20.8% (CAD 2.45 billion) of its total portfolio into impact investments that measurably address the worlds pressing environmental and social issues. Examples of impact investments include funding renewable energy projects, green bonds, food security projects, and more. Of these investments, 75% are directed towards funding climate-related investments and solutions.

More information on The Co-operators impact investments is available here.

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