QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 7, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The world we are living in is facing major challenges. Some countries are experiencing sluggish growth, while others are dealing with deflation risks. At the same time, public finances are under pressure, and the employment crisis continues to grow. Cooperatives and mutuals can provide a concrete solution to these challenges and contribute to sustainable economic prosperity.
That's the message that Desjardins Group's Chair of the Board, President and CEO, Monique F. Leroux, delivered today to over 3,000 participants at the second International Summit of Cooperatives, being held in Quebec City from October 6 to 9.
"We already represent a major force. We have more than a billion members, we are responsible for 250 million jobs, and total business volume of $3,000 billion USD. We are a durable and growing force, a force for change and a force the world needs," said Ms. Leroux.
She said that the fragile recovery of the global economy also increases income inequality and compounds the employment crisis—a crisis that has hit young people very hard. "More than 25% of youth in the world today are unemployed. Some are even talking about a 'sacrificed generation'," she says.
The world is facing other major challenges that will be exacerbated by the demographic explosion and a rapidly aging population. It is estimated that within two generations, there will be between 9 and 10 billion people on the planet to feed. "This change will put enormous pressure on our planet's resources—a planet that is already seeing its atmosphere heat up. Its biodiversity weaken and water reserves drying up," said Ms. Leroux.
She sincerely believes that cooperatives and mutuals are uniquely equipped to play a leadership role here. "Our businesses already take into account society and the environment when making decisions. We are guided by long-term considerations. We work for people in the real economy. Our world has a great need for cooperation, vision as well as durable and sustainable initiatives. Our world needs to 'green' its economy," she said.
Even though the challenges are great, Ms. Leroux believes that they should motivate cooperatives and mutuals to work toward building a better world. "During this time of great challenges, we will be far more effective if we act in solidarity. By leveraging the strength of a great movement. A great movement for greener growth. A great movement for sustainable prosperity. A great movement that we in this room must lead!"
About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the fourth largest cooperative financial group in the world with assets of $222 billion. It has been rated one of Canada's top 100 employers by Mediacorp Canada. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. The group has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry. It is considered as the fourth safest and strongest bank in North America according to Global Finance magazine and the first according to Bloomberg News. Desjardins Group and the International Co-operative Alliance are co-host the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives held in Quebec City from October 6 to 9, 2014.
About the International Summit of Cooperatives
Held at the initiative of Desjardins Group and the International Co-operative Alliance, the second International Summit of Cooperatives brings together managers of cooperative and mutual enterprises from around the world in Quebec City, Canada, from October 6 to 9. This international economic gathering's bold, ambitious themes also garner the attention and interest of numerous world socioeconomic leaders and politicians.
SOURCE: Desjardins Group
For further information: Source (for journalists only): André Chapleau, Media Relations, Desjardins Group, 514-281-7229 or 1-866-866-7000, ext. 5557229; October 6 to 9: +1-418-649-5232 (Quebec City Convention Centre), firstname.lastname@example.org