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Desjardins launches three responsible investment funds


Desjardins Group has added three new investment funds to its SocieTerra line of products. The funds are the Desjardins SocieTerra Environmental Bond Fund, the Desjardins SocieTerra Cleantech Fund and the Desjardins SocieTerra American Equity Fund.

"Just five years ago, it would have been tough to create the three socially responsible investment funds that Desjardins is launching today," says Éric Landry, Vice-President of Investment Solutions with Desjardins Wealth Management. "Today, the public has higher expectations when it comes to environmental and social issues and governance. And we're proud to offer innovative investment solutions that meet the growing demand for ever more sophisticated products."

The Desjardins SocieTerra Environmental Bond Fund is the first fund in Canada to invest in environmental bonds issued by governments and corporations from around the world. Investing in this type of debt security is a way to finance sustainable development initiatives or projects that offset climate change. And on top of making environmental criteria a part of security selection, Mirova, a fund manager that specialises in responsible investing, also looks at the social practices and governance of the companies it invests in to ensure the portfolio's risk is managed effectively.

The Desjardins SocieTerra Cleantech Fund is the first mutual fund in Canada to offer individual investors the ability to finance innovative technologies and solutions in the areas of energy efficiency and the environment. Impax, the fund manager, invests in companies from around the world whose income is drawn primarily from clean technology activities, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, water treatment, pollution control, waste management, environmental services and sustainable agriculture.

As for the new Desjardins SocieTerra American Equity Fund, it uses environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to select securities from high-quality US companies. The portfolio manager, ClearBridge, uses what is called a "Best in class" strategy to select securities, choosing companies whose social, environmental and governance performance is better than that of other companies in the same sector. ClearBridge also maintains an ongoing dialogue with various companies and sector associations on behalf of the Fund and its shareholders.

These three new funds are available to investors across the Desjardins caisse network in Ontario and Quebec, as well as elsewhere in Canada through the DFSI, DFSIN and State Farm networks. They will be integrated into the four SocieTerra Portfolios, improving geographic and sectoral diversification as well as responsible investment strategies.

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