Products that support sustainable development

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Distinctive products and services

Products that support sustainable development

We offer our members, clients and employees a range of financial products that promote sustainable development and social responsibility.

Desjardins Group offers investment products from companies whose practices clearly demonstrate their sense of social responsibility and their respect for the environment.

To be eligible for inclusion in Desjardins SRI funds, companies are subject to:

  1. a traditional analysis based on financial criteria
  2. a more rigorous analysis focusing on environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations

Since 2010, the Desjardins Environment Fund has been a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), a United Nations initiative that advocates the inclusion of ESG factors in investment practices.

Desjardins Funds has reinforced its SRI leadership role in Canada by maintaining its membership in the Boreal Leadership Council and in the PRI Initiative.

In November 2012, Desjardins introduced the Priority Terra Guaranteed Investment, a market-linked guaranteed investment committed to environmental values.

5.5% of the total assets of Desjardins Funds are socially responsible investments, which is above our 2010–2012 target of 4.7%.

Socially responsible investment funds (in millions of dollars) 2012 2011 2010
Desjardins Environment Fund 161.4 179.6 200.9
SocieTerra Secure Market Portfolio 114.7 73.1 44.5
SocieTerraBalanced Portfolio 292.6 195.9 116.3
SocieTerraGrowth Portfolio 185.7 139.0 101.5
SocieTerraGrowth Plus Portfolio 76.8 58.1 42.6
Total 831.2 645.7 505.8

Learn more about socially responsible investing with Desjardins Funds

Desjardins Group Pension Plan

The Desjardins Group Pension Plan (DGPP) also adopted a socially responsible investment policy in 2009. To implement this policy, the DGPP has:

  • raised its partners' awareness of the importance of integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their securities and investment selection criteria and joining the UN Principles for Responsible Investment initiative
  • updated its acquisition process to include selection criteria based on ESG factors

All portfolio managers must demonstrate that their decision-making process:

  • takes into account environmental and social issues when they select securities
  • ensures that the companies in which they invest are committed to good governance, particularly with respect to executive compensation (e.g., stock options program) and the equitable treatment of employees

In 2010, 2 key DGPP managers signed these principles and 8 new managers have been added to the list over the last 2 years. Together, these managers represent nearly 50% of the pension fund.

Proxy voting rights policy

Desjardins Investments Inc. has proxy voting rights at the shareholder meetings of the companies in which Desjardins Funds own securities. It votes on motions on behalf of investors in:

  • Desjardins Funds
  • private funds
  • portfolios managed by Desjardins Investment Management and offered through Desjardins Private Management services

As a proxy voter, Desjardins Investments Inc. is required to comply with the Desjardins Funds policy governing the exercise of proxy voting rights and a similar policy for Desjardins Private Management.

These policies also cover rules for sound corporate governance and social responsibility with respect to:

  • human rights
  • sustainable development
  • community support

With regard to DGPP management, voting rights are delegated to each of the Plan's portfolio managers. However, the Desjardins Group Retirement Committee approves the portfolio managers' voting rights policy. At its discretion, the Committee can also intervene and exercise voting rights directly in matters relating to governance or social values that are important to Desjardins.

View the voting rights policy for:

Although it was launched in June 2006, the Global Equity Guaranteed Investment did not begin taking the repercussions of climate change into consideration until March 2009. It comprises shares of environmentally conscious companies that support climate change initiatives.

Although a number of the companies selected meet socially responsible investing (SRI) criteria, Desjardins may also include companies that do not meet these criteria but do support climate change initiatives. Companies are selected according to a number of factors, such as:

  • improving their customers' energy efficiency
  • supplying equipment for producing wind energy
  • manufacturing energy-efficient construction materials
  • generating energy and low-carbon electricity
  • manufacturing solar panels
  • manufacturing fuel-efficient automobiles
  • committing to reducing their environmental impact
Global Equity Guaranteed Investment (in millions of dollars) 2012 2011 2010
Value 130.5 102.5 82.0

Environmentally conscious members and clients may be eligible for discounts on premiums from our property and casualty insurance sector.

Policyholders can save up to 20% on their auto insurance premiums for electric cars (since February 2011) in addition to existing discounts for hybrid vehicles (15%) and fuel-efficient cars (10%).

Owners of LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) homes and businesses are also entitled to a 10% discount on their premiums.

In addition, through a partnership between Caisse Desjardins des Bois-Francs and the City of Victoriaville, owners of sustainable homes in the city are eligible for a 10% discount on their premiums.

In addition to contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy-efficient loans help to:

  • finance projects to reduce the energy consumption of businesses
  • generate substantial savings
  • minimize the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the company's working capital while also helping to reduce emissions

Energy-efficient loans are designed for businesses in the commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors that are eligible for financial aid through various energy efficiency programs.

On top of offering businesses highly attractive and flexible financing terms and conditions, Desjardins purchases carbon-offset credits on their behalf equal to 0.5% of their loan balance at the end of each fiscal year, up to $7,500. This offer is increased by 25 basis points (0.25%), up to a maximum of $3,750, if the company also takes out loan insurance with Desjardins Insurance.

Desjardins is committed to continuing its awareness-raising efforts to encourage businesses to get on board with energy efficiency, whether for financial, social or environmental reasons. As part of this commitment, Desjardins became a founding member of COOP carbone, a Quebec-based carbon cooperative whose mission is to make it easier for businesses in Quebec to gain access to the carbon market.

Ride with BONUSDOLLARS

Since 2012, Visa Desjardins cardholders have had the option of using their BONUSDOLLARS to buy an annual or monthly membership for the BIXI self-service bike sharing system in Montreal or Toronto.

By using BONUSDOLLARS to purchase their membership, Desjardins cardholders are eligible for one of the following discounts:

  • 20% on an annual membership
  • 10% on a monthly membership

Visa Desjardins cardholders can also use BONUSDOLLARS to donate to organizations that are important to them, such as the David Suzuki Foundation, Équiterre or Maison du développement durable. They can also donate to Fondation Desjardins.

Visa cardholders can also do their part for the environment by exchanging their BONUSDOLLARS for carbon credits from Planetair. Buying carbon credits from Planetair helps finance projects designed to replace polluting technologies with clean, renewable energy, both in Canada and in developing countries.

We offer our members and clients a range of products that provide peace of mind and the support they need to weather life's difficult moments.

Product Description
Select and SOLO
  • Range of disability insurance products designed for self-employed workers, business owners and employees who are not covered by a group insurance plan.
  • In the event of a critical illness, policyholders also have access to medical expert services at no cost.
Critical illness insurance
  • The only critical illness coverage in the market that covers up to 33 illnesses or surgical procedures.
  • Reimbursement of costs incurred for:
    • home care services
    • certain nursing services
  • Support of specialized personnel who help assess the policyholder's needs and coordinate home care services in their area.
Independent Living Insurance and Vision Independent Lifestyle Solution
  • Coverage that includes a monthly benefit to help the policyholder handle the costs associated with the loss of physical or mental independence.
  • Assistance services that help caregiving families avoid exhaustion, stress, social isolation and financial problems.
Loan Insurance - Ready to Drive Loan
  • This coverage includes:
    • life insurance at no additional cost
    • free roadside assistance for 1 year
    • optional disability insurance available at a reasonable price with an automobile or recreational vehicle loan
GetWell Insurance
  • Coverage providing insured individuals with a $25,000 benefit on the first diagnosis of cancer.
  • For each new policy, Desjardins Financial Security will make a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society. In 2012, these donations totalled $40,287.
Cancer diagnosis portion of Loan Insurance and Loan Insurance - Versatile Line of Credit
  • A lump-sum payment to policyholders of Loan Insurance and Loan Insurance - Versatile Line of Credit policies to provide basic support in the event of a cancer diagnosis.
360° solution
  • A comprehensive approach to health promotion and disability management offered to employers to support their employees in taking care of their day-to-day health and to assist them as much as possible when they cannot work.
  • 360° solution includes coverage for:
    • reimbursement of healthcare costs (prescription drugs or paramedical care)
    • partial salary replacement in the event of disability
    • preventive measures to maintain employee health and timely intervention to get employees back on their feet
Assistance services
  • All life and health policies available to caisse members entitle them to various assistance services to help them through difficult situations.