Against the backdrop of a global summit on sustainable finance taking place in Paris this week, Co-operators Group Ltd. is pledging to take action on climate change, the Guelph, Ont.-based financial co-operative announced Tuesday.
Co-operators has released its Climate Commitment, actions the organization will take to address climate-related risk and seize opportunities presented by the low-carbon economy.
Among other things, Co-operators aims to become carbon neutral equivalent by 2020. It is adopting the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s task force on climate-related financial disclosures, and is investing 12.3% of its $1.16 billion in assets into impact investments.
“As risk experts, we have an important role to play in helping Canadians address, mitigate and adapt to the accelerating impacts of climate-related risk,” says Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators, in a statement. “Today, we’re sharing our intent to proactively and measurably demonstrate the ways in which we can do our part to address this critical issue and inspire others to follow suit.”
The pledge comes as the global financial industry is meeting in Paris for the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative’s (UNEP FI) global roundtable. At that meeting, the UNEP FI unveiled a proposed set of principles for responsible banking for a public consultation, which aims to set the global standard for what it means to be a responsible bank. The principles will be launched in September 2019.
“The global banking industry is stepping up to the sustainability challenge. I’m optimistic we’ll see a realignment of business practice – one that embraces the fact that green and socially responsible business is the best business,” says Satya Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UN Environnment, in a statement.,
The Paris meeting also served as the launch pad for French insurer AXA Group to announce that it will no longer underwrite the construction and operations of coal plants, coal mines, oil sands extraction and pipelines, and arctic drilling.
“To tackle climate change, we must use every lever possible. This means implementing an ambitious strategy everywhere we can,” says Thomas Buberl, AXA Group CEO, in a statement. “Above all, our conviction has always been that the fight against climate change requires collective action, therefore AXA is happy to support the future UN PSI Climate Ambition Coalition.”