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Combating Climate Change - Carbonzero and Desjardins

Desjardins Reaffirms Carbonzero Partnership and Commitment to Climate Action

In late 2019 Carbonzero Chief Operating Officer Dan Fraleigh met with Desjardins Group in Toronto to further solidify and celebrate a continued partnership to fight climate change. The financial group reinforced their commitment to acting on climate by adopting greener practices and continuing to grow initiatives originally launched in 2018.

Desjardins Group is Making progress in its Commitment to Combat and Adapt to Climate Change

In just two years, Desjardins have built upon their initial investment into a strong carbon emissions reduction plan. In addition to partnering with Carbonzero to invest in their carbon offset project of choice, the Niagara Escarpment Forest Carbon Project (NEFCP), they have achieved/set the following goals:

  • A formal commitment to the United Nations was made by becoming the first Canadian financial institution to sign the Principles for Responsible Banking in New York.
  • A greater emphasis has been placed on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria in Desjardins investment management processes, savings, financing, real estate management and responsible procurement offers.
  • In 2019 a new goal was set to reduce Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% by the year 2024 compared to 2018 emissions
  • By the end of 2020, Desjardins aims for the carbon footprint of its own assets invested in the markets to be 25% less than the average greenhouse gas emissions of the companies that make up the stock and bond market indices.Desjardins pledged to install 200 electric vehicle charging stations across Quebec and eastern Ontariobefore the end of 2021.
  • Since June 1st 2020, all 17 Desjardins SocieTerra Funds and Portfolios are 100% free of oil production and pipeline holdings.In April 2020, Desjardins became the first North American financial institution to join the Powering Past Coal Alliance and pledged to be disinvested from coal by the end of 2020, while accompanying its clients who present a credible plan to transition to clean energies, in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendations.

“Desjardins and its nearly 50,000 employees and eight million of members and clients can make a real difference in how we fight and adapt to climate change,” said Desjardins President and CEO Guy Cormier. “We need to change our habits and encourage others to follow suit. Our commitment to fast-track the inclusion of ESG criteria can be seen in everything we do and it’s going to grow moving forward.”

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Carbon Neutrality with Carbonzero

Desjardins has remained carbon neutral by purchasing carbon credits to help with the offset of GHG emissions. As of 2019 the organization has made the decision to support two additional Carbonzero carbon capture and emissions reduction initiatives beyond their support of the NEFCP in Ontario which promotes and maintains the function and diversity of ecosystems along the Niagara Escarpment:

  • Les serres de Productions Horticoles Demers in Quebec: Greenhouses that have reduced carbon emissions by setting up heating systems that use 100% renewable energy, such as forest biomass residue or biogas from landfill sites.
  • Les serres coopératives de Guyenne (also in Quebec): Greenhouses that have reduced carbon emissions by converting an oil heating system to 100% renewable energy produced using forest biomass residue.

By 2024, Desjardins has also pledged to continue to reduce GHG emissions by prioritizing programs to optimize business travel, reduce paper consumption and improve energy efficiency in all of its buildings.

Working with Carbonzero

Carbonzero is pleased to be working with Desjardins Financial Group. Assisting the organization with the reduction of their carbon footprint by helping them achieve carbon neutrality is a important part of what we do.

“Once again, Carbonzero is very proud to support Desjardins with their climate action objectives,” says Carbonzero COO Dan Fraleigh, “The addition of Les serres de Productions Horticoles Demers and Les serres coopératives de Guyenne to the Desjardins carbon offset portfolio allows both the organization and Carbonzero to achieve an even greater impact with their investment. When combined with the Niagara Escarpment Forest Carbon Project, these three Canadian-based projects form a trifecta of Carbonzero initiatives that support local communities and meet the highest standards and quality we provide to our clients. We hope to continue working with Desjardins for many years to come.”

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