Listening to Learn
The Walrus|November 2021
While much of the business world is just starting to wake up to the social injustices that surround us, Desjardins CEO Guy Cormier started paying attention years ago.
GLYNIS RATCLIFFE

If there’s one thing Cormier knows, it’s that he doesn’t have all the answers. That’s why the President and CEO of Desjardins spend so much of his time listening. But it’s who he listens to that makes him unique among business leaders: he listens to young people and pays special heed to the social issues that matter to them. And then he takes action.

“You can’t be on the sidelines, looking at the game without being on the ice right now,” he says. “With the pandemic, we have a moment right now where we can press the reset button for a more inclusive, diversified economy and society for not only the next few years but the next quarter-century. We must work together.”

Cormier believes Desjardins can be part of the solution—and he’s not just talking the talk. Under his leadership, Desjardins has committed to climate change action by keeping operations carbon neutral, focusing infrastructure investments on renewable energy, reducing the carbon footprint of investments, and setting a net-zero emissions target. The company has also undertaken equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, as evidenced by its commitments to the BlackNorth Initiative, participation on the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC), and launch of the Empowering Women network.

The S in ESG

He’s also a firm believer in the value of ESG (environmental, social, and governance criteria). These standards are increasingly used by socially conscious investors to screen investments, and Cormier considers these values intrinsic to Desjardins’s co-operative model.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM THE WALRUSView All

For the Love of Peat

Preserving Canada’s wetlands may be our best defence against floods, wildf ires, and a changing climate

7 mins read
The Walrus
November 2021

Ask a Hockey Expert

Will a Canadian team ever win the Stanley Cup again?

3 mins read
The Walrus
November 2021

Freedom Verse

Once relegated to the literary fringes, dub poet Lillian Allen has inspired countless Canadian writers. A new book shows why

7 mins read
The Walrus
November 2021

Listening to Learn

While much of the business world is just starting to wake up to the social injustices that surround us, Desjardins CEO Guy Cormier started paying attention years ago.

5 mins read
The Walrus
November 2021

Standing on Guard for Canada

When disaster strikes—from wildfires to floods to public health emergencies—the partners from Team Rubicon Canada and the LabattDisaster Relief Program are ready to serve communities in crisis

3 mins read
The Walrus
November 2021

Citizen of Nowhere

Deepan Budlakoti was Canadian one day, stateless the next. Who is responsible for someone no country wants to claim?

10+ mins read
The Walrus
November 2021

Redefining Artistic Ability

With its mandate to support opportunities for artists with disabilities, Tangled Art + Disability centres d/Deaf and disability-identified perspectives, and makes the experience of consuming art more accessible to a diverse public

3 mins read
The Walrus
November 2021

Three Stories to Make Your Head Feel Different

GENDER REVEAL PARTY

10+ mins read
The Walrus
November 2021

The Maximalist Home

In a time of fearful self-restraint, more is more

9 mins read
The Walrus
September/October 2021

SALMON SICKNESS

For years, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has minimized the risk of a virus some of its own scientists believe is threatening wild salmon

10+ mins read
The Walrus
September/October 2021