../Morning Post
Posted September 10 , 2010
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Study

New Sustainability Trends Emerging

GUELPH - Companies considered leaders in sustainability have well-developed understandings of their sustainability risks, opportunities and stakeholder concerns, and are using their influence to advance sustainability progress in society, according to a study released today. Commissioned by The Co-operators and written by Strandberg Consulting, the paper examines the evolving sustainability practices of 13 leading insurers and 4 non-insurance companies.

Common practices among the 17 companies, considered to be among the most progressive in the area of sustainability, were examined and summarized. In all, 61 common practices were identified in such areas as engagement of employees, clients, suppliers and communities; carbon management; advocacy; governance systems; and sustainable insurance processes.

"There are a number of organizations doing great work in the area of sustainability. By identifying emerging best practices both within the insurance industry and outside of it, we're hoping to learn from them and improve our own performance," explained Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "We've made the findings public in hopes that other organizations interested in contributing to a healthier, greener tomorrow find the information useful as well."

Entitled International Scan of Sustainability Practices of Insurance and Non-Insurance Companies, the report found a wide variety of approaches to stakeholder sustainability engagement among the companies surveyed. In contrast, a considerable degree of commonality was identified in the areas of sustainability governance systems, carbon management, product development, sustainable investing, sustainable purchasing, and diversity management.

Within the insurance industry, there was a notable lack of reporting on how the companies approach underwriting for sustainability and sustainable claims management. Nevertheless, there are ongoing efforts to incorporate the effects of climate change into the underwriting process, and to reduce waste created during the claims process. Various insurance product innovations have been introduced, with climate change mitigation being the primary focus.

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