Desjardins joins the BlackNorth Initiative

Over 200 Canadian organisations have signed a pledge at first BlackNorth Initiative Summit held on 20 July

Financial co-op Desjardins has pledged support for the BlackNorth Initiative launched by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism, which aims to remove anti-black systemic barriers negatively affecting the lives of black Canadians.

Desjardins signed the BlackNorth Initiative’s pledge, which commits business leaders and their organisations to specific actions and targets designed to end anti-black systemic racism. Over 200 Canadian organisations have signed the pledge at first BlackNorth Initiative Summit held on 20 July.

“Today’s summit is only the first step on a mission critical journey to dismantle anti-Black systemic racism in corporate Canada,” said Wes Hall, founder and chairman of the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism.

“I hope that we can look back and say this event was the tipping point.”

Desjardins announced a series of targets designed to support the cause, which it aims to achieve by 2025. These include allocating 3% of donations and sponsorships to projects that create economic opportunities in the Black community. The co-op also committed to recruiting 5% of its student workforce from the black community and communicating opportunities for employment.

It also wants 3.5% of senior management positions to be held by black leaders by 2025.

“Black lives matter. Black dreams matter. Black hopes matter. Black perspectives matter. Black businesses matter. Black futures matter. And as an employer and financial services cooperative, we want to be there right alongside Black communities, so they can achieve all that they desire, in a society where they are valued and treated with respect and dignity,” said Desjardins president and CEO, Guy Cormier.

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