Annual report from Canada’s Co-operators highlights climate friendly initiatives

The insurer, which says it is currently 100% carbon neutral in its operations, has been investing in a number of climate initiatives

Canadian insurer Co-operators has released its Integrated Annual Report for 2022, which shows a net income after tax of CA$309m, and a return on members’ equity of 8.5% in 2022.

In addition to the $2.39bn paid in claims and benefits to its clients in 2022 (up from $1.89bn in 2021), Co-operators has allocated funding towards long-term sustainability.

Last year saw the end of the co-op’s four-year strategy, launched in 2018, which contained five key focus areas: client engagement, co-operative identity, competitiveness, workforce capability, and creating the future. Initiatives included a new venture, Co-operators Financial Investment Services, to grow the advice-based line of business. The strategy also saw digitisation of auto insurance, increased impact investment with over 23.6% (over $2.69bn) of the invested assets in verified impact investments, and a strengthened capital position.

According to the report, nearly 75% of these investments support climate solutions like renewable energy projects that generated more than 86.5 million MWh of renewable energy, equivalent to powering 7.5 million homes for one year.

“By 2026, 50% of our portfolio will be impact investments or investments that support the transition to a sustainable, resilient, low-emissions society,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO, Co-operators. “By 2030, we will increase this to 60%.

Related: How UK retail co-ops set out sustainable action in their annual reports

“In addition to providing compelling returns on our investment, these investments help drive us toward our purpose of financial security of Canadians and our communities, not just today, but for generations to come. We know that if we fail to address the climate crisis head on, the collective financial security of all Canadians will be increasingly in peril. We’ve made the conscious and strategic business decision to put our financial weight behind building a net-zero, climate-resilient, sustainable future.”

Other actions to tackle climate change include allocating $350,000 to the launch of the Zero Waste Economic Transformation Lab. Set up in partnership with the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) and the City of Guelph, Ontario, this will work towards a more sustainable construction and demolition waste cycle.

And $10.6m has gone to organisations “building environmental resilience, enriching social wellness, creating a more inclusive economy and championing a co-operative society”. 

Co-operators has also designed specific products to address climate changes, such as Comprehensive Water, a product that provides access to flood insurance for all flood risk levels, including storm surge in coastal areas, the first of its kind in Canada. Over 672,000 Canadian households are currently covered by Comprehensive Water.

The co-op is currently 100% carbon neutral in its operations, with targets to become net-zero in both operations and investments by 2040 and 2050, respectively.