Desjardins Group announced September 6 that effective immediately, all new annuities purchased from the company will automatically go into investments that meet strict environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.

The cooperative financial group says the decision makes it the first financial institution in Canada to turn its complete range of individual savings annuities into ESG products.

“Whether its is a life annuity, a term certain annuity, an adapted life annuity or an annuity for artists, the securities selected will include or exclude issuers based on specific criteria, and investments will be monitored and managed to encourage issuers to improve their ESG practices,” the company wrote in a statement accompanying the announcement.

The company says over 12 months, its assets under management from responsible investment products grew from $10.1-billion at the end of December 2020 to $12.2-billion at the end of 2021.

The firm’s president and CEO, Guy Cormier adds that “the more rigorous financial institutions are in applying strict ESG criteria, the more issuers will have to adapt to remain attractive to investors. These kinds of actions put us on the path to a more sustainable economy.”