Our commitments to the fight against climate change

Our commitments to the fight against climate change

Climate change is a challenge for the entire planet. It has a major impact on the environment, society and the economy. At Desjardins, sustainability is in our DNA, and our number one priority in terms of the environment is to take action on climate change.

Today, Desjardins Group is taking one more step forward and announcing concrete measures that will enable us to play a proactive role in the fight against climate change. In addition to supporting the energy transition, we will help businesses adopt environmental, social and governance best practices.

"As a financial cooperative, we can lead by example and encourage the transition to clean energy," 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 our leadership:

  1. Starting in 2017, Desjardins will purchase carbon credits to offset our greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. We will also focus on renewables when directly investing our own assets in energy infrastructure. The Desjardins Group Pension Plan is making this same commitment.
  3. Finally, we will ensure that by 2020, the carbon footprint of our own assets invested in the markets is 25% less than the average greenhouse gas emissions of the companies that make up the stock and bond market indices.
  4. Going forward, for all business decisions, Desjardins will apply new authorization criteria that take environmental, social and governance risk 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 address their carbon footprint and 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 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.

A united stance for the financial industry

Our commitments are part of broader initiatives that the financial industry is taking to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The Financial Stability Board, led by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has launched one of the most significant of these initiatives. The Board created a Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures to establish a voluntary approach for businesses and financial institutions to disclose climate change risks and opportunities. The Task Force published its recommendations in June 2017.

Many Canadian organizations have shown their support for this initiative:

  • CPA Canada
  • Canadian Securities Administrators
  • Finance Montréal, through a joint declaration with some 30 investors, including Desjardins
  • Canada's Department of Finance

In order to harness the combined expertise and efforts made related to its recommendations, the United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is currently bringing together a small group of investors, of which Desjardins is a part. Work is slated to begin in January 2018 and should be completed in September.

Learn more about the Financial Stability Board - External link. This link will open in a new window..

These are Desjardins's values

As a financial cooperative, we believe that money should be at the service of human development. Desjardins is a pioneer in responsible investing and solidarity-based financing.

Since 1990, Desjardins has taken many concrete actions: from launching its first responsible investment mutual fund to adopting a sustainable development policy to joining the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition in 2016.

Learn more about the Desjardins Group Sustainable Development Commitment Policy.

Taking action for the environment


The Desjardins Environment Fund is launched


A new sustainable development commitment policy is created, with climate change as the top environmental priority


The SocieTerra portfolios are launched


  • 3 new SocieTerra funds are launched, including the first green bond fund in Canada
  • Desjardins joins Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition


Desjardins adopts responsible financing priorities, in line with the Paris Agreement