By Kate Hughes, Chief People & Sustainability Officer, Cover-More Group
The path to sustainability must begin with our own footprint.
What we do now shapes the future for our people and planet, and there is much we can do – environmentally and socially – to amplify our efforts.
While travel and tourism bring people together, forge connection across cultures, broaden horizons and provide employment for hundreds of millions of people, exploring our world also comes with environmental and social costs.
As a leading global travel insurance and assistance provider, Cover-More Group recognises these costs and is putting understanding into action, now and into the future.
We believe the best start is in our own backyard, as showcased this year with the launch of our group-wide sustainability strategy.
Our sustainability journey
To lay the right foundations internally, we’re encouraging conscious decision-making, facilitating knowledge sharing and provoking thought across our organisation about what sustainability means to us and our company.
As a starting point for our global strategy, we have moved to ditch single-use coffee cup usage in our offices worldwide as of September this year. To help this along, we’ve embarked on providing our people with reusable coffee cups to suit, depending on each region’s ‘coffee culture’. For us, it’s about making small sips towards big strides.
Our sustainability journey has also included measuring our own carbon footprint, which is no mean feat (pun intended) across our global operations in more than 15 countries.
This activity all forms a basis for our ongoing sustainability journey, beginning with investing in our people and their understanding to help them, and the communities we work with, thrive and become more sustainable.
Proudly, each of our regions, including North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, India, and the UK and Europe, has already kicked off a range of sustainable initiatives.
Here’s a snapshot of some already under way across Cover-More Group:
Freely (Australia and US): Making responsible and impactful choices
Freely partners with 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of all revenue to protect the interests of local and Indigenous communities and support environmental preservation initiatives. So far, support has been provided to Seed Mob, The Hunger Project and Pacific Wild.
An earlier campaign also donated a portion of every customer purchase to the Rainforest 4 Foundation, which helps to protect the Daintree rainforest in Far North Queensland.
Universal Assistance (LATAM): Championing social causes
In conjunction with Z Zurich Foundation, Universal Assistance is delivering a social equality program, Transforming the Future. This focuses on vulnerable communities near Latin American tourist destinations, working to develop and improve their skills and entrepreneurship.
Across three years from December 2022, this project is seeking to positively impact the lives of more than 12,000 people in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.
Cover-More (New Zealand): Helping children realise dreams
Our Cover-More NZ team supports families with a critically ill child to go on Make-a-Wish holidays by funding their travel insurance including cover for their illness. So far this year they have funded travel insurance for 15 trips, including seven domestically and eight international trips.
Cover-More (Australia): Supporting disadvantaged youth and local communities
Cover-More Australia is this year on a mission to raise $50,000 for the Usman Khawaja Foundation, which works to make a lasting impact on the lives of disadvantaged children in Australia by breaking down barriers and inspiring them through cricket and education programs.
In memory of our colleague and friend, Munib, the team has been fundraising through activities including a charity cricket day attended by cricketing superstar Usman himself, as well as a global step challenge, trivia night, bake sale, silent auction and more.
Cover-More (India): Helping those less fortunate
Our team in India is focused on supporting local non-profits committed to causes such as improving health, education, skill development opportunities and women empowerment across India. Most recently they supported Indian Development Foundation, raising vital funding to provide meal provisions and education supplies to underprivileged families and children, through a local food fair.
From solid foundations, strong innovation grows
Alongside the continued strengthening of our business following the pandemic, this year has also marked a major shift in our sustainability focus.
For us, it’s important we establish solid sustainability foundations across our global business through an inward focus before expanding our efforts further afield, across partners and industry.
That’s not to say this work isn’t under way.
We are working to deepen our knowledge about known industry challenges and sustainable travel barriers, from needing to decarbonise the sector to better investment in sustainable aviation fuels and understanding consumer preferences relating to sustainable travel products and services.
We’re also exploring how we can best join forces with our partners and industry to maximise our impact and play our part in advancing opportunities and investment in sustainability across our industry.
The industry appetite and opportunity to collaborate is monumental and I am excited to see where such partnerships will take us.
A global goal
The future of global travel must become more sustainable, with a focus on reducing its social and environmental costs while preserving its positive impacts on society.
This future will bring opportunities for travel products and services that promote responsible travel choices, as well as investment in technology and infrastructure that underpin more sustainable travel.
The impacts of climate change continue to affect our planet, presenting a crucial need for our industry to adapt and develop sustainable solutions that see the benefits of travel maintained.
And as travellers, if we focus on being more deliberate and holistic when making our travel choices, we will continue to gain opportunities to learn, connect and innovate, while reducing our impact on the planet.
At Cover-More Group, we understand sustainability is an intricate web of responsible practices, ethical considerations and long-term thinking. Our commitment involves an inwards journey, beginning with our people and fostering a strong culture of sustainability, while empowering our team and exploring the impactful actions we will take next to help shape a sustainable future.