Desjardins Group Once Again Holds "Environmentally Responsible" Annual General Meetings - The measures put in place will serve as a model towards establishing a standard on environmentally responsible events



    MONTREAL, March 29 /CNW Telbec/ - More than 2,000 caisse officers from
Québec and Ontario will gather for the Desjardins Group Annual General
Meetings this weekend at the Palais des congrès in Montréal, which will once
again be an "environmentally responsible" event.
    This initiative is a concrete application of the sustainable development
policy adopted by Desjardins in the fall of 2005, through which the
cooperative institution has committed to reducing as much waste as possible
and to planting trees to compensate for greenhouse gases generated by people
traveling to attend this major event.

    
    "Green" and responsible

    The efforts made involve simple, effective choices such as:

    - Selection of a local caterer who prefers to buy locally, thereby
      reducing greenhouse gas emissions

    - Use of durable rather than disposable dishware

    - Use of water coolers and biodegradable cups

    - Redistribution of uneaten meals to La Tablée des chefs

    - Placement of bins for recycling and composting waste materials.

    Compensating for greenhouse gases

    To compensate for greenhouse gases released by participants traveling to
attend the Meetings, Desjardins has once again made a major tree planting
commitment similar to last year's, whereby 500 trees were planted after the
2006 meetings. This initiative is carried out in collaboration with
Desjardins' partner, Corporation St-Laurent, the organization responsible for
Earth Day activities in Québec.
    Similarly, in anticipation of their own annual meetings, which will be
held in April, many Desjardins caisses will be handing out small trees to
their members, as a symbolic gesture of thanks. To date, the caisses have
already ordered more than 8,600 trees - an original way to support the efforts
being made by Desjardins towards sustainable development. According to Tree
Canada estimates, as these 8,600 trees grow, they will compensate for more
than 2,200 tonnes of greenhouse gases.

    The "Green Squad"

    Of course, these initiatives would all be for naught without the precious
collaboration of the caisse officers present at the Annual Meetings, who will
be made aware of the importance of limiting waste sent to landfills. That is
why Desjardins has set up a team of volunteers known as the "Green Squad" who
will be onsite to inform attendees on preventive management for reducing
waste.
    This Desjardins Group "environmentally responsible" event is being carried
out in collaboration with the Eco-conseil (Eco-Advisory) Chair of the
Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. The measures put in place will serve as a
model for work currently being carried out by the Bureau de normalisation du
Québec towards establishing a standard on environmentally responsible events.
    Desjardins Group has signed on with the United Nations' UNEP Statement by
Financial Institutions on the Environment and Sustainable Development.

    About Desjardins Group

    Desjardins Group is the largest integrated cooperative financial group in
Canada, with overall assets of more than $135 billion, as at December 31,
2006. It comprises a network of caisses, credit unions and business centres in
Québec and Ontario, and some twenty subsidiary companies in life and general
insurance, securities brokerage, venture capital and asset management, many of
which are active across the country. Drawing on the expertise of its 40,000
employees and the commitment of 7,020 elected officers, Desjardins offers its
5.8 million individual and corporate members and clients a full range of
financial products and services. Its physical distribution network is
complemented by leading-edge virtual access methods. To find out more, consult
www.desjardins.com.
    




For further information:

For further information: (for journalists only): Nathalie Genest,
Advisor, Information and Media Relations Department, (514) 281-7275,
1-866-866-7000, ext. 7275


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