Change the world, one step at a time: Desjardins reports

LÉVIS, QC, Oct. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - In October 2007, Desjardins Group, in collaboration with Équiterre, launched its "Change the world, one step at a time" institutional campaign and made a commitment to actively adopt twelve practices to contribute to a more environmentally sustainable and equitable world. Now, two years on, Desjardins is proud to present a list of accomplishments and the 2009 report.

This past year Desjardins was able to implement concrete initiatives aimed at reducing fuel consumption and encouraging the use of alternative means of transportation, responsible purchasing and local agriculture, particularly through its promotion of Équiterre's Community Supported Agriculture network.

Here are some practices that are being developed or have been implemented:

    
    - Desjardins Group has teamed up with Climate Project Canada to raise
      awareness among citizens about the importance of finding ways to stop
      climate change and adapt to them.
    - Desjardins takes part in the Agence de l'efficacité énergétique's pilot
      project. This project is aimed at developing a training program on
      energy-efficient behaviour for small-duty vehicle drivers from all over
      Québec.
    - Desjardins added 130 bike racks in the indoor parking lot at Complexe
      Desjardins for a total of 344 indoor and outdoor bike racks at the
      Complexe.
    - Launch of SocieTerra Portfolios, a socially responsible investment fund
      that selects businesses using both financial analysis and an evaluation
      based on environmental, social and governance criteria (ESG).
    - Desjardins works on raising client and member awareness of Community
      Supported Agriculture (CSA) through the "GO eco-green, GET organic-
      fresh" contest.
    

By committing to take 12 actions for a more environmentally and socially responsible world, Desjardins is taking on an important leadership role. The financial cooperative group would also like other organizations to take similar steps in response to this call to action. "Even the smallest step helps make a difference and can contribute to reducing our ecological footprint" points out Pauline D'Ambroise, Secretary General and Vice-President, Cooperative Support, in charge of sustainable development for Desjardins Group. "If each person and every business decided to take one step, no matter how small, for sustainable development, future generations would only stand to benefit!" she added.

"Desjardins continues to move forward and implement new measures favouring sustainable development. It is remarkable to see all that has been accomplished. Since it seems as though the commitment to these ideals remains strong, I challenge Desjardins and all other organizations to keep pushing themselves" added Sidney Ribaux, Executive Director of Équiterre.

For a full timeline of all the 2009 initiatives of the "Change the World, One Step at a Time" campaign, go to: www.desjardins.com/12actions or read the Social Responsibility and Cooperative Report at: www.desjardins.com/socialresponsibilityreport.

About Équiterre

Équiterre's mission is to build a social movement by encouraging individuals, organizations and governments to make socially and ecologically responsible choices. Through its four programs - ecological agriculture, fair trade, sustainable transportation and energy efficiency - the organization has developed projects that encourage individuals to take concrete actions that bring about positive change. All of Équiterre's projects are backed by solid expertise, built on the latest developments in its fields of interest.

About Desjardins Group

Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in Canada, and the eighth largest in the world, with overall assets of approximately $160 billion. Drawing on the strength of its caisse network in Québec and Ontario, as well as its subsidiaries, several of which are active throughout Canada, Desjardins offers a full range of financial products and services to its 5.8 million individual and business members and clients. Desjardins Group is also home to a wealth of expertise in property and casualty insurance, life and health insurance, wealth management, services for businesses of all sizes, securities brokerage, venture capital, asset management and secure leading-edge virtual access methods, all part of an integrated offer that is the only one of its kind in Canada. One of the largest employers in the country, Desjardins is backed by the knowledge and skills of its 42,000 employees and the commitment of its 6,300 elected officers. To find out more, consult www.desjardins.com.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

For further information: For further information: (for journalists only): Caroline Phémius, Advisor, Information et Media Relations, Desjardins Group, (514) 281-7000, ext. 7646, 1-866-866-7000, caroline.phemius@desjardins.com; Éveline Trudel-Fugère, Équiterre, (514) 605-2000


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