Investing in harmony with the environment - Desjardins Environment Fund celebrates 20 years of socially responsible investing

LÉVIS, QC, April 26 /CNW Telbec/ - As part of Jour de la Terre, on April 22, 2011, the Desjardins Environment Fund (DEF) celebrated its 20th anniversary. Twenty years of an ongoing, proven commitment! The DEF was also honoured for a third consecutive year at the 2010 Lipper Fund Awards, receiving the Best Canadian Equity Fund Award for its three- and five-year returns.

Over the past twenty years, many initiatives have been launched, consolidating Desjardins' leadership role in SRI in Canada. These initiatives include the acquisition of 50% of Northwest & Ethical Investments in 20081 and the launch of SocieTerra portfolios in 2009. In 2010, Desjardins Funds became a signatory of the Principles of Responsible Investment - a United Nations (UN) initiative -, a member of the Boreal Leadership Council, and a signatory of the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework.  

In addition, as part of its corporate engagement program, the DEF has dialogued with many companies over the years to urge them to adopt better environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. Positive results have been achieved in various industries, and continued dialogue will enable the DEF to make further progress in this regard. More information on tangible SRI achievements is available at http://www.fondsdesjardins.com/en/investissement/monde-en-action.jsp

To underscore its leadership in the area of socially responsible investment (SRI), the Desjardins Environment Fund, the first responsible investment fund in Quebec and the second in Canada, in cooperation with the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) and Jour de la Terre Québec (JTQ), launched the "My corner of nature to protect!" amateur photo contest.

From Jour de la Terre (April 22, 2011) to World Day for Cultural Diversity (May 22, 2011), all amateur photographers are invited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Desjardins Environment Fund by entering the contest. Participants must complete the entry form available at www.desjardinsfunds.com/contest and attach a photo of a corner of nature in Quebec which they treasure and which feel should be protected. Awards will be given for the ten best snapshots, as determined by an online voting process.

The grand prize winner will win an ecotourism trip worth $4,000 from Aventure Écotourisme Québec. The nine other finalists will receive a $200 gift card from Mountain Equipment Co-op.

A jury composed of CBI members will award the "CBI Forest" prize. As 2011 has been designated the International Year of Forests, a special prize will be awarded for the best forest photo.

To encourage Internet users to vote in large numbers, Desjardins will donate to $2,500 to Jour de la Terre Québec if at least 1,000 votes are recorded, and $5,000 if the 5,000-vote level is reached!

1Northwest & Ethical Investments is owned 50% by Desjardins Group and 50% by the Provincial Credit Union Centrals. These two organizations joined forces in 2008 to strengthen and serve the cooperative financial movement across Canada. 

About Desjardins Group

Awarded the coveted title "Bank of the Year 2010 �� Canada" by the UK magazine The Banker, Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest in the world, with assets of over $172 billion. Drawing on the strength of its caisse network in Québec and Ontario, and its subsidiaries across Canada, it offers a full range of financial products and services to its 5.8 million members and clients. Desjardins specializes in Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance, in Property and Casualty Insurance, in Personal Services, in Business and Institutional Services. As one of the largest employers in the country and one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate CulturesTM of 2010, Desjardins is supported by the skills of its 42,500 employees and the commitment of nearly 6,000 elected officers. For more information, visit www.desjardins.com.


SOURCE DESJARDINS GROUP

For further information:

Source (for journalists only):
Caroline Phémius
Advisor, Media Relations
Desjardins Group
514-281-7000 or 1-866-866-7000, ext. 7646
media@desjardins.com

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