RI pioneer

The first Canadian financial institution to sign the Principles for Responsible Banking

Desjardins once again a Canadian pioneer in RI

Desjardins is incredibly proud to be the first financial institution in Canada to sign the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB). Desjardins President and CEO Guy Cormier was in New York September 22 and 23, 2019, to participate in an official signing event at United Nations headquarters. He also participated in a panel discussion on the future of the banking industry.

The financial sector can make a significant impact in the fight against climate change and the push for responsible and sustainable development. As a signatory of the PRB, Desjardins is continuing to show real leadership in this field. The new pledge follows the organization's commitment to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), 10 years ago, and the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI), more recently.

During the panel discussion, Cormier joined 10 other CEOs from financial institutions from around the globe. He discussed the need for concerted international action for a more inclusive form of capitalism that has more respect for the environment.

"The brand of capitalism we've seen over the last 30 or 40 years has caused significant collateral damage, including increased inequality and unbridled resource consumption. We need to change course and take a more inclusive approach that ensures the sustainable use of the resources essential to human life. Desjardins is committed to the Principles for Responsible Banking because we think the future of a healthy society lies in more intercooperation, more engagement by all and more solidarity," said Cormier.

The Desjardins CEO also highlighted the similarities between the cooperative model and the ambitions laid out in the PRB.

"Cooperatives aren't publicly-traded companies, so they're not under the same pressure for short-term results and speculation. It frees them up to take a long-term view. And they're owned by their members, so they have a greater interest in serving them and their communities. That's exactly the spirit of the PRB," added Cormier.

Desjardins's decision to sign the PRB is also meant to increase awareness with stakeholders, including members and clients, directors, employees, partners and even competitors.

For more information, see the United Nations Environment Programme – Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) website.

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