Desjardins is making its commitments to change the world a reality



    LEVIS, QC, Oct. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Desjardins Group is showcasing its
accomplishments in the context of its Change the world, one step at a time
campaign. By responding to Equiterre's invitation in October 2007, Desjardins
Group became the first institution in Québec to sign on to this campaign.
Twelve institutional actions to implement within the organization were
identified to demonstrate the cooperative financial group's commitment to
sustainable development.
    The past year has seen concrete measures taken to reduce business travel
and fuel consumption, foster responsible purchasing and local farming, improve
energy efficiency and residual waste management and promote the social
commitment of employees. The campaign, which was first launched at the
Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec and within Desjardins Group
subsidiaries, will gradually be extended to the network of caisses in 2009,
which will be invited to take action according to their local situation.
    Here are some examples of initiatives which were carried out in 2008 or
currently being developed:

    
    - Strengthening of environmental measures for the management automobile
      policy, which will be in force in January 2009;
    - The development of an energy efficiency program, which has been
      entrusted to Desjardins Property Management (DPM). DPM is currently
      doing an energy and characterization audits pilot project for
      15 cooperative network buildings;
    - A partnership with the Association québécoise pour la maîtrise de
      l'énergie (AQME), and four other large organizations, to improve the
      energy efficiency of Desjardins;
    - A survey of 15,590 Desjardins employees on their travel habits between
      work and home. The goal is to get a snapshot and implement an
      alternative transit strategy that is tailored to each region;
    - A partnership with Tablée des chefs to ensure redistribution of surplus
      food from major events for the benefit of charities for the needy;
    - The implementation of a program, jointly with Bell Canada, to take back
      used mobile phones;
    - The review of Desjardins' promotional object and BONUSDOLLARS
      catalogues to favour objects with characteristics in line with the
      organization's social responsibility and sustainable development
      principles.
    

    By actively committing to taking these twelve actions for a more
environmentally and socially responsible world, Desjardins is taking on a
significant leadership role, and has the firm intention of continuing its
sustainable development actions. "To motivate others to get actively involved
in sustainable development, we believe that we must lead by example and clean
our own house first", stated Ms. Pauline D'Amboise, Secretary General of
Desjardins Group. She recalled the words of Mr. Jacques Languirand, who often
reiterates that the words economy and ecology both have the "eco" prefix,
signifying "house" in Greek.
    "At Equiterre, our goal is to guide citizens, governments and also
institutions towards practices which are more environmentally and socially
responsible. Desjardins' commitment to our campaign shows us that this is
possible. Desjardins is without a doubt determined to improve and encourage
its employees to do the same. We are happy to contribute to this effort,"
explained Sidney Ribaux, Executive Director of Equiterre.
    Desjardins' commitment to Change the world, one step at a time was
recognized by the jury for the contest l'Entreprise citoyenne de l'année of
the magazine l'Actualité, as a finalist in the large company category.

    For more information on the Equiterre campaign, visit: www.equiterre.org

    For more information on Desjardins' commitments, visit:
    www.desjardins.com/en/a_propos/

    For more information on the contest, visit:
    www.lactualite.com/economie/

    About Equiterre

    Equiterre helps build a social movement by encouraging individuals,
organizations and governments to make ecological and equitable choices, in a
spirit of solidarity. Through its four programs - ecological agriculture, fair
trade, sustainable transportation and energy efficiency - and its two
campaigns - climate change and responsible consumption - the organization has
developed projects that encourage individuals to take concrete actions that
bring about positive change. All of Equiterre's projects are backed by solid
expertise, built on the latest developments in the related fields.

    About Desjardins Group

    Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in Canada,
with overall assets of nearly $152 billion, as at June 30, 2008. 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 more than 6,500 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): Eveline Trudel-Fugère,
Equiterre, (514) 605-2000; Nathalie Genest, Desjardins Group, (514) 281-7275,
1 866 866-7000, ext. 7275, nathalie.genest@desjardins.com


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