Canadian co-operative insurer recognised for sustainability leadership

Corporate Knights’ ranking is based on a number of environmental, social and governance indicators

Canadian insurer the Co-operators Group has topped the 2019 list of Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada.

Published by Toronto research firm Corporate Knights, the ranking assesses corporate sustainability performance among companies with revenues over CAD $1bn (£588m).

It is based on a number of 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 and executive compensation links to sustainability targets.

“To be recognised 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,” said Rob Wesseling, president and chief executive of the Co-operators.

Rob Wesseling

“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 Co-operators was praised for its concern for community rooted in its co-operative business model. Corporate Knights noted that it was the first insurer to offer water damage coverage in Canada’s most vulnerable areas as well as storm surge coverage in coastal ones providing some protection to people whose homes are standing in the path of increasing climate chaos.

The Co-operators scored particularly high under “clean revenue,” defined by Corporate Knights as revenue that has a clear environmental or social benefit with 11% of its insurance premiums linked to sustainability themes.

It also performed well in terms of employee turnover and retention, with an employee retention rate of 94% in 2018 and 2017.

Judges also noted the organisation’s CAD $1.2bn investment into impact investments that broaden returns beyond purely financial gains, into social and environmental benefits.

The Co-operators has earned the top spot on the list in 2011 as well. Last year the insurer came 12th.