Desjardins announces concrete measures to combat climate change
Lévis (Qc), December 6, 2017–Desjardins Group has announced concrete measures that will enable it to play a proactive role in the fight against climate change. In addition to supporting the energy transition, it will also help businesses adopt environmental, social and governance best practices.
“As a financial cooperative, we can lead by example and encourage the transition to a greener economy,” said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. “That’s why Desjardins has decided to go carbon neutral, invest in renewable energy projects and reduce the carbon footprint of our publicly traded portfolio. And for all of our other activities, we will add authorization criteria to encourage respect for the environment and communities in finance.”
Four practices will be implemented across Desjardins Group to support this transition and affirm its leadership:
- Starting in 2017, Desjardins will purchase carbon credits to offset its greenhouse gas emissions.
- Desjardins will focus on renewables for the direct investment of its own assets in energy infrastructure. The Desjardins Group pension plan is making this same commitment.
- It will also ensure that by 2020, the carbon footprint of its own assets invested in publicly traded securities is 25% less than the average greenhouse gas emissions of the companies that make up the stock and bond market indices.
- Going forward, for all business decisions, Desjardins will apply new authorization criteria that take environmental, social and governance factors into consideration.
In concrete terms, before making a business decision, Desjardins Group teams will look at whether the partner:
- Has consulted with the affected communities, including First Nations communities
- Has a comprehensive plan to substantially reduce their carbon footprint and manage the risks posed by climate change
- Has compensation and workplace health and safety policies in place
These practices will be integrated into team objectives and will be included in Desjardins Group’s annual report, starting with the 2018 fiscal year-end. This is just one way that Desjardins is listening to its members and clients, who want a greener economy.
“If we want the energy transition to succeed, it has to be a group effort. Now, more than ever, the financial industry needs to come together and set an example, by making responsible use of the money under our control,” said Guy Cormier.
Desjardins encourages its members and clients to support this transition by investing in products specifically focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Desjardins SocieTerra Cleantech Fund and the Desjardins SocieTerra Environment Fund.