Sustainability conference wraps up with youth committing to bring about change

GUELPH, ON, May 26, 2014 /CNW/ - The 2014 IMPACT! Youth Conference for Sustainability Leadership, which brought 175 Canadian students together with sustainability experts from business, non-governmental organizations and academia, wrapped up today with students returning home recommitted to building a more sustainable world. The conference was a unique three-day event held in Guelph, Ontario, where students formulated ideas to tackle some of the greatest challenges facing Canadians, from fighting poverty to growing healthy food to generating renewable energy.

"It's amazing to see the passion and commitment the participants bring with them, and how they feed off and inspire one another over the course of the four days," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "We are pleased to support them before, during and after the conference, to help them reach their potential for creating a more sustainable society."

To help students make their communities and campuses greener and more sustainable, conference alumni are eligible to apply for The Co-operators Foundation - IMPACT! Fund. Through the Fund, The Co-operators announced $100,000 to support student projects in 2014, adding to the $323,860 granted to IMPACT! alumni from across Canada since 2009.

Nearly 750 students applied to the program this year. Participants were chosen from a variety of fields of study, perspectives and regions to ensure a diverse and multi-disciplinary approach. Prior to coming together at the host University of Guelph, each student undertook preparation activities.

The conference included an inspirational keynote address from renowned Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. He inspired the students to work hard and follow their dreams, and most importantly to be stewards of the planet. Aboard the International Space Station, he had a unique view of the impact we are having on Earth, and the need for change.

Other speakers included experts in community engagement, networking and activism, poverty, business, government and the media relations, innovation and leadership, and people management.

More information can be found at www.impactyouthsustainability.ca.

IMPACT! The Co-operators Youth Program for Sustainability Leadership is a partnership with The Natural Step Canada, the University of Guelph, the University of Saskatchewan Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, Wilfrid Laurier University, Lambton College, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, the international student organization AIESEC, and the David Suzuki Foundation.

About The Co-operators:

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $36 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 well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean's magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information:

Leonard Sharman
The Co-operators
519-767-3937