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.
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