As a supporter of the principles of the International Co-operative Alliance, Desjardins Group has always been an advocate of long-term development that balances the 3 dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental.
Accordingly, Desjardins adopted a sustainable development policy (PDF, 285 KB) - This link will open in a new window. in 2005 to provide a framework for our efforts in terms of products and services, management practices and socioeconomic leadership. The policy is reviewed every 5 years.
Environmental protection is a key factor of our sustainable development policy. To put this policy into action, Desjardins has implemented various initiatives.
The need to act
Climate change has undeniable environmental, social and economic impacts that can affect our physical, mental and financial health. Since 1990, we've been taking action to protect the environment and mitigate climate change. We recognize the need to act—and act fast—in response to the challenges that climate change poses.
2017–2020: Accomplishing our initial goals
In late 2017, we made a number of commitments to support the Paris Agreement's climate target to limit global warming to less than 2°C. By the end of 2020, we'd achieved them—and even surpassed some.
Our initial goals
- Fast-tracking the inclusion of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in our internal and business operations
- Keeping our operations carbon neutral
- Focusing our infrastructure investments on renewable energy
- Reducing the carbon footprint of our own investments
- Supporting electric transportation by installing a network of electric charging stations throughout Quebec and eastern Ontario
In 2020, Desjardins Group also became the first financial institution in North America to join the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA)—a coalition of organizations supported by the United Nations working to phase out the use of coal as a fossil fuel in electric power generation plants. Desjardins Group is committed to withdrawing from the coal energy sector and will support the remaining companies in its portfolio that have a firm, short-term plan to transition to renewable energy, in accordance with - This link will open in a new window.its position on coal (PDF, 121 KB).
Additionally, Desjardins is doing everything it can to reduce its environmental impact. Since 2007, we've been producing an inventory of our greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, we committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to 20% below 2018 levels by 2024.
2021: An ambitious action plan to tackle climate change
Building on what we have already accomplished, Desjardins is renewing its commitment to climate action and broadening the scope of our efforts to reduce our GHG emissions.
Ultimately, Desjardins is aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 in its extended operations and in its lending activities and investments in 3 key carbon-intensive sectors: energy, transportation and real estate.
This action plan is a continuation of what we have already done and reflects our desire to speed up what we are doing to respond to climate change.
This approach, combined with our efforts to consider climate-related risk and opportunities, lends credence to our support for meeting the Paris Agreement's climate targets.
Desjardins is also setting intermediate targets for itself, based on internationally recognized methodologies, and publishing an annual report of its progress in this area.