Canadians’ waste reduction efforts

The survey revealed Canadians want more effort from corporate entities regarding waste, with 75% saying it's critically important for companies to responsibly manage their waste.

That demand for corporate responsibility was most prominent among younger Canadians. Nearly half (49%) of Gen Z said that sustainability is more the responsibility of corporations than individuals, compared to less than a quarter (23%) of Boomers.

However, this older generation was the most likely to take individual actions that help prevent sending waste to landfill (78% compared to 49% for Gen Z and 57% Millennials).

Those generational differences extend to other aspects of a sustainability mindset. Boomers are the most likely to engage in individual actions such as recycling and composting at 83% and avoiding products with excessive packaging (50%).

Across the provinces, Quebecers are the most likely to believe Canada generates too much waste (85%) and more likely to prioritise supporting sustainable companies (61%).

However, the issues of waste reduction is not confined to specific areas of the country. Six in 10 agree that Canadians in rural environments need better waste management programs, while nearly seven in 10 say that Canadians in urban environments need better education on sustainable purchasing behaviours, waste mitigation and repairing.

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More findings from Co-operators survey

The Co-operators survey was commissioned as part of its Claim Changers initiative – aimed at getting people to change the way they think about insurance and waste.

With that in mind, it revealed only a quarter of Canadians know that repair or restoration is an option for insurance claims, and only one in five Canadians who filed insurance claims in the last five years say they've been given the option to repair rather than replace.

At the same time though, with two-thirds saying they would prefer to repair items if they can be restored to their original condition. Fifty percent say sentimentality would most fuel their interest in repairing the item rather than replacing it.

Additionally, women are 10% more likely than men to prefer repairing an item, but less likely to know it’s an option.

While the implications of waste related to insurance claims can be vast, many Canadians may be unaware of this fact. "Our survey found that nearly half of Canadians aren't even considering where their insurance-related waste is going – but we are," Bran said.

To make a more meaningful impact, Co-operators have implemented what it calls "sustainable claims – it reduces waste by prioritizing repair over replacement, and when we must replace we empower our clients to live a more sustainable life by providing more sustainable options."

Interested in sustainable investing? Here's what you need to know

Sustainable investing is about directing investment capital to companies that care about making a positive social impact. It has become increasingly important as society battles threats from the climate emergency and environmental destruction, but also still struggles to promote gender equality and the protection of human rights. Sustainable investing also means looking at how a company handles security and privacy, the make-up and independence of its board of directors, and other factors such as tax transparency and conflicts of interest.

This type of investing has been around for centuries, with investors not only boycotting certain companies for ethical reasons, but also avoiding entire countries that were involved in the slave trade, wars or violating basic human rights.

There are three styles of investing that socially conscious investors can choose to fulfill their mandate: environmental, social and governance (ESG), socially responsible investing (SRI) and impact investing.

These terms are often used interchangeably, but in reality, they each have different meanings for investors:

  • ESG considers a company’s environmental, social and governance practices, coupled with traditional financial measures.
  • Socially responsible investing (SRI) involves actively removing or choosing investments based on specific ethical guidelines.
  • Impact investing is about helping a business or organization complete a project, deliver a program, or create something positive to benefit society.

Getting started

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get started with sustainable investing is by opening an account with one of Canada’s top robo-advisors and investing in their SRI portfolios.

Using Wealthsimple, you can decide whether your investments are halal, socially responsible, focused on human rights or other areas important to you. You can also select where you’d like to place your investments, whether it be a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), or others. Sign up for Wealthsimple and allow your investments to grow over time, choosing amongst eight to 10 exchange-traded funds (ETF) to get you there.

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Nicholas completed his master's in journalism and communications at Western University. Since then, he's worked as a reporter at the Financial Post, Healthing.ca, Sustainable Biz Canada and more. Aside from reporting, he also has experience in web production, social media management, photography and video production. His work can also be found in the Toronto Star, Yahoo Finance Canada, Electric Autonomy Canada and Exclaim among others.

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