What went down at the TL Insider & FLARE Fireside Chat with Marie-Justine Labelle of Desjardins Investments

What went down at the TL Insider & FLARE Fireside Chat with Marie-Justine Labelle of Desjardins Investments

When it comes to investing, there’s a reputation that tends to scare people away from getting started. Is it safe? Difficult? Ethical? To set things straight, TL Insider and FLARE partnered to present an exclusive virtual Fireside Chat with Marie-Justine Labelle, head of responsible investment at Desjardins Investments. The livestreamed event took place on September 9 and covered all the money matters of financial investing—responsibly.

Hosted by Jason Maghanoy, head of business development at St. Joseph Media and the associate publisher of Canadian Business, the conversation started with the question on everyone’s mind: what exactly is responsible investing?

Marie-Justine walked members through her introduction to the subject, specifically how her education in environmental and social issues and early work as a sustainability consultant acted as a gateway to her current focus on finance. “I got really excited about it and, while I had never really thought about finance before, I found this stream to be a great lever for change,” she said. Working with Desjardins was a natural fit for her—as a financial co-operative, its mission is to support people and the planet, not just the pursuit of profit.

In recent years, there’s been a rise in the appeal of responsible investment, which incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors—something Marie-Justine, who is a millennial herself, attributes to the millennial generation’s impact on investing. “Millennials invest with their heart and don’t compartmentalize their values to only one aspect of their lives,” she says. “They’re keen to have those values reflected in their work life, personal life, and in their investments as well.” With millennials investing in sustainable investments at twice the average rate, Marie-Justine argued that they are the generation driving the responsible investing revolution. “They’re also aware that it makes financial sense, at a time when environmental and social damage exponentially hurts our economy.”

Marie-Justine and Jason explored the ways the pandemic has heightened the need for responsible investing and the lessons investors of any age can learn from a market crash. She emphasized the importance of finding investments that work specifically for you (financially and ethically), taking the first step in exploring responsible investment options and staying engaged on the topic over time.

Later in the hour, an excited audience submitted their questions. Marie-Justine tackled the misconceptions of “green” or “socially responsible” companies underperforming, even pointing out some examples of companies currently thriving in the market by addressing environmental and social challenges. She also addressed how our devices aren’t necessarily changing the way we invest, but making the process easier and more transparent.

Learn more from Marie-Justine on the power of responsible investment and how to get started.