Desjardins Group and Export Development Canada (EDC) announced a loan guarantee partnership to provide up to $1 billion in sustainable financing over three years to medium and large export businesses looking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
"We need to help companies reduce their carbon emissions to more effectively fight climate change. Desjardins Group's partnership with EDC reflects its efforts to support a just energy transition and take a leadership role in the shift to a lower carbon economy,” said Jean-Yves Bourgeois, executive vice-president of business services at Desjardins Group, in a press release Thursday morning.
The partnership was made possible through the EDC’s Sustainable Finance Guarantee pilot program. The program is a risk-sharing solution developed alongside the Bank of Montreal to increase financing for medium- and large-sized businesses planning to transition from carbon-intensive operations to a low-carbon future.
The announcement lists eligible projects for the partnership, ranging from: the circular economy, renewable energy, green buildings, sustainable food production, cleantech, and pollution control and prevention.
Justine Hendricks, senior vice-president and chief corporate sustainability officer at EDC, said, “By offering our Sustainable Finance Guarantee, we're helping Canadian businesses transform their sustainable practices into sustainable actions, so they can remain competitive on foreign markets while contributing to a better world."
Desjardins’ and EDC’s climate efforts
Desjardins Group is a Montreal-based financial cooperative. It aims to reach net-zero by 2040 across its extended operations, lending activities and investments across energy, transportation and real estate.
Desjardins will increase its lending share allocated to renewables to large energy corporations from 24 per cent in 2020 to 35 per cent in 2025, build a $2 billion portfolio in renewable energy infrastructure investments and provide financial support for five development projects to convert organic waste into renewable energy.
The EDC, a financial Crown corporation, also committed to a 2050 net-zero target. Its plan revolves around making a 37 per cent reduction in emissions per passenger kilometre from its airlines financing portfolio by 2030, against a 2020 baseline; and a 15 per cent reduction in its financing portfolio related to upstream oil and gas production by 2030.