Desjardins Group Announces the Results of its Paper Challenge and Eco-Friendly Statement Challenge

    Everything is being done to reach the objectives of reducing
    paper consumption and planting trees to combat greenhouse gas emissions

    LEVIS, QC, April 11 /CNW Telbec/ - On the occasion of the launch of the
37th edition of Earth Day, Desjardins Group has announced the results of the
Desjardins Paper Challenge and the Desjardins Eco-Friendly Statement
    Launched as part of the sustainable development policy adopted by
Desjardins in October 2005, the Desjardins Paper Challenge aims to reduce
printer and photocopier paper consumption by 15% by 2008, and to increase the
use of recycled paper by the same amount.
    The program, which was introduced in parallel with Earth Day 2005, has
already led to a reduction in paper consumption of 18% per capita, which,
according to the Ecoadvisory Chair of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
(UQAC), represents a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of around 98 tonnes
of CO2 equivalent, or the biomass equivalent of 1,840 trees.
    The results also show that the target of replacing 60% of new ink
cartridges by recycled cartridges, target fixed by the Desjardins Group
Procurement Committee, is well on the way to being reached, since after one
year, this figure stands at 52%.
    In addition to the challenge underway in all Desjardins Group components,
the Paper Challenge is also being implemented throughout the caisse network.
Already, 387 caisses, business centres and administrative centres out of a
total of 604 have signed up for the challenge.
    The Desjardins Eco-Friendly Statement Challenge, which ran from May 1 to
September 30, 2006, is part of Desjardins' Earth Day program agenda. As a
reminder, 450 Desjardins caisses in Québec and Ontario took part in the
challenge, whereby Desjardins promised to plant a tree for every member who
switched from paper statements or booklets - including VISA Desjardins credit
card statements - to virtual statements accessible online through AccèsD.
    The goal of the Desjardins Eco-Friendly Statement Challenge was to plant
100,000 trees by 2009. Desjardins is pleased to announce that 92,295 members
have already signed up for the project, after only five months of activities.
In the spring of 2007, therefore, Desjardins will begin planting 92,295 trees
in regions throughout Québec and Ontario. Corporation Saint-Laurent, the
official sponsor of Earth Day in Québec, will be responsible for following the
progress of the plantings.
    Through this initiative, Desjardins hopes that the trees planted, which
will be suited to the specific climate and characteristics of each area, will
contribute to reforestation and landscape beautification efforts, improve
quality of life, and help slow down climate change. In fact, as they grow,
these trees will capture approximately 240 tonnes of greenhouse gas (CO
 equivalent) per year, and will make it possible to reforest areas the size of
110 to 140 football fields, according to the UQAC Ecoadvisory Chair.
    In light of the program's success, the Desjardins Eco-Friendly Statement
Challenge will be run again in November 2007, along the same lines as last

    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

For further information:

For further information: (for journalists only): André Chapleau,
Director Information and Media relations, (514) 281-7229, 1 866 866-7000, ext.

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