Desjardins Group: Best Corporate Citizen in Canada

The highly regarded magazine Corporate Knights1 today announced that it has ranked Desjardins Group first on its list of the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. This honour...

The highly regarded magazine Corporate Knights1 today announced that it has ranked Desjardins Group first on its list of the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada.

This honour is all the more meaningful for Desjardins – one of the three co-hosts2 of the 2012 Summit – because it is being bestowed upon the company in this International Year of Cooperatives.

The magazine’s annual honour roll of companies is compiled using 11 indicators that measure social and environmental performance and corporate governance.

Desjardins Group, which has had a sustainable development policy in place since 2005, stood out from other contenders by:

  • Significantly cutting back on fossil fuel consumption (energy-efficiency measures for its buildings, reduced paper usage, a Lévis–Montréal employee shuttle, program promoting employee use of carpooling and the BIXI bike-sharing system)
  • Offering members and clients insurance premium discounts of 15% for hybrid vehicles and 10% for fuel-efficient vehicles, and growing the sale of its socially responsible investment funds 450% between 2008 and 2010
  • Attaining LEED gold certification for its Le Windsor building in Montreal
  • Establishing incentive pay for a senior management member instrumental in developing microfinance solidarity products for Desjardins members experiencing financial hardships
  • Basing its President and CEO’s compensation on one of the lowest CEO-to-average-employee pay ratios
  • Marking an increase in the number of women on Desjardins Group’s Board of Directors
  • Helping Développement international Desjardins sustain and strengthen financial cooperatives, serving more than 8 million members and clients in some 30 developing countries.

“This new honour will continue to spur our efforts in the realm of sustainable development and social responsibility,” said Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and CEO of Desjardins Group. “In this International Year of Cooperatives, we intend to stay the course to ensure the sustainable prosperity of our 5.6 million members and their communities, whether by enhancing our member experience, reducing our ecological footprint or introducing new innovations in democratic governance to our caisse network.”

A cooperative captures first place for the third consecutive year

This marks the third consecutive year that a cooperative organization has captured first place in the ranking by Corporate Knights, which awarded top honours to Mountain Equipment Co-op in 2010 and The Co-operators in 2011.

Financial cooperatives took the top three spots in 2012 with Desjardins Group in first place followed by Vancity and The Co-operators.

“This speaks volumes about our ‘cooperative DNA’,” said Ms. Leroux. “As organizations, we’re rooted in our communities, dedicated to our people and the environment, and managed with a view to long-term development.”

1. For more information about Corporate Knights, go to

2. Desjardins Group is one of the three co-hosts of the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives, along with the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and Saint Mary’s University.

Source: Desjardins Group

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