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The Co-operators Launch New Corporate Sustainability Program To Engage Agents And Staff

We have all heard about countless uses for social media, but the Co-operators Group recently launched what they call a social media platform as part of their corporate sustainability program. This is a multi-step process for the organization, the first part being a CSR: Co-operators Sustainability Race, an 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.

Individuals can register and create profiles, track their sustainability levels, 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.