Building sustainable, healthier communities for life
With a mission of helping customers achieve lifetime financial security, long-term thinking has always been at the core of what we do.
Our sustainability strategy
We believe that environmental, social and governance issues are fundamental to maintaining our business for the long term.
We have integrated sustainability into our business by developing an enterprise-wide sustainability strategy that has been approved by the Governance, Nomination and Investment Committee of the Board of Directors. Our International Sustainability Council, composed of senior leaders from key functions and geographic regions, acts as a champion and advocate in the implementation of the strategy across the enterprise.
We regularly report on our activities and results.
Advancing sustainability in 4 key areas
Our sustainability strategy focuses on 4 themes – each of which is directly connected to our business and advances our vision of building sustainable, healthier communities for life.
- Community wellness
- Organizational resilience
- Environmental responsibility
- Governance and risk management
We actively support the communities where we live and work by helping build a positive and healthy environment for our customers, employees, advisors and shareholders. Our approach includes:
- Helping Canadians improve their financial literacy
- Giving back to communities across Canada
- Strategically investing in infrastructure projects that foster healthy, sustainable communities
- Advocating for public policies that encourage financial security and healthy lifestyles
Here’s an example of our approach in practice:
Sun Life teamed up with the Canadian Diabetes Association to encourage Canadians to find out their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. During a 6-week campaign, more than 40,000 Canadians completed the online assessment – CANRISK – significantly raising national awareness of how to prevent this major health issue.
Read our Public Accountability Statement to learn more about our other community activities.
We believe that our company will remain competitive, resilient and forward-thinking by:
- Keeping the customer at the core of all we do
- Fostering a high-performance, inclusive culture
- Continuing to focus on employee and leadership development
- Supporting our people with ethical policies
Here are just 2 of our many programs that support our employees:
- Our employee and leadership development plans range from customized programs and tuition assistance to an e-learning portal with more than 10,000 learning opportunities.
- Our commitment to diversity of all kinds (gender, race, religion, age, country of origin, sexual orientation, etc.) is reflected throughout our company, including our senior leadership. We have also embedded inclusion practices into our Canadian talent management program, guided by an enterprise-wide inclusion framework.
We believe that we must be accountable for the impact of our operations on the environment, and we take steps to measure, manage and reduce that impact. Our efforts in this area include:
- Carbon management and resource efficiency in our operations
- Responsible investment practices that consider environmental as well as social and governance risks and opportunities
- Measurement and management of the environmental impact of our real estate investment portfolio
Examples of our focus on environmental responsibility include:
- being the first major Canadian life insurer to sign the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment
- the more than $3.3 billion we have invested in clean and renewable energy-related projects – including hydroelectric, wind, gas-fired and biomass power generation
A well-run organization creates a stable and sustainable operating platform for our company and positions us to meet our obligations to stakeholders. To that end, we have:
- Executive management and a Board of Directors who are committed to a high level of integrity, governance and oversight of strategy and sustainability
- Reporting programs and a governance structure that pro-actively address changing regulatory frameworks
- Mechanisms in place to ensure we're responsive to the disclosure requirements of the investment community, while adhering to the disclosure rules
For example, 100% of our employees complete an annual Sun Life Financial Code of Business Conduct acknowledgement process, which includes training on important topics such as deterring fraud, combating money laundering and terrorist financing, avoiding conflicts of interest and rejecting corruption and bribery. To support our employees’ adherence to the Code in their day-to-day business dealings, we have a network of contacts to answer questions and a 24-hour, confidential hotline where employees can report concerns about possible violations.