The Co-operators creates social media-based program to engage staff and agents in sustainability

GUELPH, ON, Nov. 2 2010 – The Co-operators today wrapped up the first part of CSR: Co-operators Sustainability Race, an innovative staff and agent engagement project developed in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation. More than 330 people from offices across Canada registered for the first part, the Transportation Race, which took place over three weeks in October.

CSR consists of a social media platform hosted on a dedicated micro-site. It includes participant profiles and daily tracking of each person’s sustainability-related activities, as well as a vast collection of information on environmental topics. Participants can network with each other to challenge and encourage each other one-on-one, and see how their progress compares with that of their colleagues on a daily basis.

This is the first time that the David Suzuki Foundation has partnered with a corporation to create a program of this nature. “Changing the way we think about everyday routines such as how we get to work is a big part of lessening our environmental footprint,” said world-renowned scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki. “The Co-operators Sustainability Race encourages participants to consider the impacts of their choices and promotes dialogue about sustainability.”

During the first part of CSR, the Transportation Race, participants earned points for reducing their vehicle usage, opting for green alternatives such as public transportation and carpooling, influencing the behaviour of others, and contributing to discussions of sustainability issues on the micro-site.

“Staff and agents have been very actively engaged in a number of the organization’s sustainability initiatives,” said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. “Through this social media platform, we’ve been able to connect people from different parts of the country and facilitate their engagement in sustainability discussions.”

The Co-operators also announced that the next race will focus on food and will be launched on November 15. For three weeks, participants will be encouraged to make more environmentally responsible food choices. Examples could include reducing one’s consumption of meat or opting for locally-grown foods, organic fruits and vegetables, or items with minimal packaging. Two additional races have been developed focusing on energy and water, and are planned for 2011.

About The Co-operators

The Co-operators Group Limited is a 100 per cent Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $42 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies, it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is owned by 47 Canadian co-operatives, credit union centrals and like-minded organizations. It is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to creating a more sustainable tomorrow. In 2010, The Co-operators was ranked No.2 among the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada, and listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada. For more information, visit