Easy ways to live a greener, more sustainable life

When it comes to sustainable living, most of us know the basics: recycling, composting and reusing shopping bags. But sustainability is about so much more.

Today, challenges like climate change, social inequality and financial insecurity are putting the well-being of communities at risk. To solve these problems, we can all contribute. Here are some simple sustainable living ideas you can work into your lifestyle. It’s easier than you might think and could save you money. And, you may even be eligible for insurance discounts.

Around home

Contribute to healthy communities over the long term by making these sustainable, day-to-day choices at home.

  • Even when they’re off, electronics use energy. Unplug them when not in use.
  • Save 10% to 15% on your energy bill by turning your thermostat to 15 C before bed and when you leave the house in the winter. Install a programmable thermostat, so you won’t forget.
  • Extend the life of your clothes and save energy by washing them in cold water and hanging them to dry. When using your dryer, throw in a dry towel to speed up the process.
  • Run your dishwasher only when it’s full.
  • Replace disposable products with reusable ones. Examples include furnace/AC filters, rechargeable batteries, water bottles, food storage containers, straws, cloth napkins, coffee filters and razors.
  • In the market for a new appliance? Easily search for an ENERGY STAR® certified model.

While shopping

How we purchase and consume products has a direct impact on global sustainability. Before buying an item, consider how and where it was made, and the energy required to get it onto store shelves.

  • Does it have to be brand new? Consider buying gently used items instead. Between eBay, Kijiji, Craigslist, thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets, the options are endless.
  • Choose “slow fashion” (locally made clothing using higher quality fabrics) over “fast fashion” (cheap, low-quality clothing, mass produced in sweatshops abroad).
  • When possible, buy food sourced locally. When in season, farmer’s markets are a good place to start, and some items are comparable in cost to the grocery store.
  • Before grocery shopping, create a meal plan for the week. You’ll reduce wasted food and save on your shopping bill.
  • Forget bottled water. Drink clean water from your tap!
  • Switch to paperless billing with as many service providers as possible. You can sign up for paperless billing with The Co-operators through Online Services.

On the road

Just because you may not drive an electric or hybrid vehicle doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate sustainability into your driving habits.

In your financial choices

You can make a difference, while saving for your future, by investing in companies that offer environmentally friendly products and have sustainable business practices. Ask your Financial Advisor about our Socially Responsible Portfolio Funds, as well as other sustainable options.

Take advantage of insurance products with sustainability features and discounts

Currently 16% of our Home and Auto insurance clients (note: Co-operators Auto insurance is not available in BC and Manitoba. In Saskatchewan, only Co-operators extended Auto coverage is available.) have two or more products with sustainability features and discounts, including:

  • 36,208 with fire sprinkler discounts
  • 5,319 with hybrid/electric vehicle discounts*

Our goal is to increase this to 50% by the end of 2020. Find out more about how we’re creating value for the people and places that sustain our organization over the long term.

Our 2018 Integrated Annual Report, which serves as our Public Accountability Statement, is now available.

*Co-operators Auto insurance is not available in BC and Manitoba. In Saskatchewan, only Co-operators extended Auto coverage is available.