Desjardins Funds becomes signatory to Principles for Responsible Investment
(PRI)

The PRI are an initiative of the United Nations

LÉVIS, QC, April 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Desjardins Funds is pleased to announce it has become a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), an initiative spearheaded by the United Nations through the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the UN Global Compact.

The PRI were initially established in 2006 by a group of institutional investors from 16 different countries with assets under management of $3 trillion. These principles aim to align the long term investing goals of institutional investors with society as a whole by applying and integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to the investment process.

Desjardins Funds has been actively involved in socially responsible investing (SRI) since 1990 when it launched the Desjardins Environment Fund. In early 2009, Desjardins also introduced its SocieTerra Portfolios, a whole new range of SRI funds that respect ESG principles. The SocieTerra Portfolios were developed in partnership with Ethical Funds, a Canadian leader in SRI. Desjardins has a 50% stake in Ethical Funds through NorthWest and Ethical Investments, L.P. By becoming a signatory of PRI, Desjardins Funds is once again demonstrating its leadership role in Canada's Responsible Investment movement.

Principles of Responsible Investment

The PRI are six principles that incorporate ESG criteria in investment processes. The signatories freely and voluntarily commit to undertaking an approach aimed at integrating and respecting these principles in their investment practices.

By following these principles, the signatories commit themselves:

    
    - to incorporate ESG criteria into their investment policies and
      shareholder programs;
    - to demand that the companies in which they invest report appropriate
      information on ESG issues;
    - to promote the acceptance and implementation of PRI within the
      investment management industry;
    - and to report individually on their own progress towards implementing
      the principles.
    

Since the beginning of 2009 through its SocieTerra Portfolios, Desjardins Funds with the support of its partner Ethical Funds, has introduced a dialogue program with the companies in which it invests. This program is aimed at improving these companies' environmental, social and governance practices. SocieTerra Portfolios invest in all economic sectors, except the arms, nuclear and tobacco industries.

About Desjardins Funds

With some $12 billion in assets, Desjardins Funds is among the largest mutual fund families in Canada. Desjardins Funds offers members and clients investment products and solutions that meet their requirements, expectations and needs for wealth protection and growth.

About Desjardins Group

Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest in the world, with assets of $157 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, Desjardins is supported by the skills of its 42,200 employees and the commitment of over 6,200 elected officers. For more information, visit www.desjardins.com.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

For further information: For further information: (for journalists only): Caroline Phémius, Advisor, Media Relations, Desjardins Group, (514) 281-7000, 1-866-866-7000, ext. 7646, caroline.phemius@desjardins.com


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