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Building a prosperous, sustainable future together

March 25, 2022

Today, Desjardins published its Social and Cooperative Responsibility Report. As a socioeconomic leader and agent of change, our cooperative financial group is more committed than ever to meeting our members' and clients' changing needs. We want to influence financial practices so that we can find solutions to major social and environmental issues.

In 2021, we took concrete steps and launched numerous initiatives to deliver on our commitment to fight and adapt to climate change.

We're aiming for carbon neutrality by 2040 in 3 key carbon-intensive sectors: energy, transportation and real estate.

We'll also continue integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into our business decisions, products and services to meet the growing expectations of our members and clients for these areas. Today, nearly $120 billion in Desjardins assets is subject to screening that guides our investments by weighing ESG criteria. 

And we'll go even further in 2022. We added a new indicator to the general incentive plan linking our employees' and managers' compensation to ESG practices. The indicator will be based on external assessments by the 4 most internationally recognized ESG rating agencies.

To prepare, we'll soon be launching a new mandatory training on the principles of sustainable development and responsible finance for all employees and managers.

And we'll keep working hard to reach our detailed targets:

  • Reduce our base operational emissions by 41% by 2025, compared to 2019 levels.
  • Continue investing in renewable energy. Our investments have already reached $1.5 billion.  
    • To reach $2 billion by 2025, we'll need a 66% increase compared to 2020.
  • Place 35% of our energy sector financing in renewable energy projects by 2025.
    • By late June 2021, more than 30% of our energy sector financing was for renewable energy projects, compared to 28% in 2020.
  • Implement mandatory sustainable development and responsible finance training for 85% of our employees by the end of 2023, and launch job-specific training for our business lines.
  • Install 500 electric charging stations by 2025 on the property of Desjardins caisses and branches in Quebec and Ontario, in partnership with Hydro-Québec and AddÉnergie.
    • We've already installed over 300 stations.

We also successfully issued $500 million in sustainable bonds in the Canadian market, a first for us. This initial issuance is part of a broader program that will lead Desjardins to solicit the sustainable bond market on several occasions over the next few years.

This fall, the world of finance across Canada came together in the name of climate action. We asserted our leadership in responsible finance by signing several recently issued statements, including:

Desjardins is also the first Canadian financial institution to commit to the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign. By fall 2023 at the latest, we'll publish science-based targets to reduce emissions associated with our key activities, in internal operations and in investments and financing.

As Guy Cormier, our president and CEO, mentioned in an open letter published last October, financial institutions have the power to make a difference:

"As holders of significant capital and as major investors, we can prioritize projects that will be part of the solution. We can use our relationship to the companies in our portfolios to exert pressure from the inside and encourage them to improve their environmental performance. And we can influence the relationship that shareholders have with senior management, promoting the pursuit of sustainable, long-term benefits over splashy quarterly results.

Let's tap into the momentum we've created to fight the pandemic and channel it into the movement to fight climate change and build a sustainable future."