"Humanity is facing global challenges that affect us all with respect to human, social, economic, financial and environmental issues." - Monique F. Leroux
QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 9, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - As part of the opening of the first International Summit of Cooperatives being held in Quebec City from October 8 to 11, Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group, passionately defended the importance of working together to grow the cooperative and mutualist model around the world.
This model is all the more relevant during these periods of economic uncertainty and political and social tension. As countries are confronted by austerity measures that destabilize and divide, Ms. Leroux reiterates that major achievements and great successes are always the result of a collaboration between people and populations. According to her, it is therefore essential that collaboration triumph over confrontation. "More than ever, the world needs cooperation. We need to be united, not divided."
The amazing power of cooperatives
At the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives initiative, which brings together some 2,800 people from 91 countries, Ms. Leroux illustrated the incredible but quiet strength that cooperatives and mutuals have in the global economic and financial world. "The world of cooperatives and mutuals includes one million organizations, one billion members and one hundred million employees. The three hundred biggest cooperatives worldwide have an economic weight equivalent to the world's ninth largest economy," she said.
In short, Ms. Leroux considers that cooperatives and mutuals have the unsuspected strength to make long-term, long-lasting changes. Since their essential purpose is first and foremost to meet the needs of people and to create and distribute wealth, they play a leading role in a plural economy. "Cooperatives and mutuals are examples of "good enterprise"-people-centred, balanced and responsible. While they aim for solid overall performance, their members always come first," she added.
The Summit: to understand and to act
Ms. Leroux notes that the cooperative and mutual model has not yet received all the respect it deserves. She is therefore counting on the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives to demonstrate the contribution that cooperatives and mutuals make in the world and, at the same time, launch a call to action.
Ms. Leroux is convinced that the cooperative movement will emerge from this international event even greater and that everyone will benefit. "We will all come out of the Summit with the responsibility to provide more support for our collective businesses and our movement—locally, regionally, nationally and globally."
"More than ever, the world needs cooperation. We are already believers. Now it is up to the believers to become the leaders that bring our cooperative movement to the next level. Now is the time to cooperate in building the future," she concluded.
About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group www.desjardins.com is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada with assets of $194 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 5.6 million members and clients. Desjardins specializes in Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance, in Property and Casualty Insurance, in Personal Services and in Business and Institutional Services. "Best Corporate Citizen in Canada" for 2012 and among Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2012TM, Desjardins is supported by the skills of its 44,645 employees and the commitment of nearly 5,400 elected officers. A new education and cooperation program is now available to Desjardins members and the general public. For more information, visit www.desjardins.com/co-opme.
SOURCE: DESJARDINS GROUP
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