CEO message

Making life brighter – Our 2012 Public Accountability Statement and Sustainability Report

A message from the president and CEO

In 2012, we supported many philanthropic, social and community programs and introduced several new initiatives that we adopted as we continue to reinforce our presence in the worldwide network of sustainable companies.

In Canada, 2012 was a banner year for our long-standing commitment to health and wellness. As you will see in the Health section, we launched a ground breaking, Canada-wide campaign to fight diabetes – our largest-ever focus on a single cause. In other philanthropic efforts during 2012, we continued our long-standing investment in the cultural wealth of our nation and supported social services agencies from coast to coast with both corporate donations and the generous giving of our employees.

In the United States, we helped to keep young people in high school with our Rising Star Awards program. Launched in 2010 to combat the troubling drop-out rates in inner-city schools, we have just 2 years later invested close to US$4 million to help send dozens of deserving American high school students to colleges and universities. Nor were younger children forgotten. Our Boston-based subsidiary MFS continued to sponsor school readiness programs, mentoring services, and play environments for the less fortunate children of that city.

We also contributed to humanitarian causes. Resources from the Sun Life Financial International Disaster Relief Fund for the Canadian Red Cross, together with money, clothing and food raised at our U.S. offices, went to the aid of thousands of individuals affected by the devastating hurricanes, floods and fires of 2012.

I am exceptionally proud of the work of our outstanding volunteers, who in 2012 went above and beyond for causes large and small. Of special note are the stories of cancer fighting in Canada, community service work in the U.S., and the dedication to children and families on the part of hundreds of Sun Life volunteers throughout our Asia operations.

While only the briefest review of Sun Life’s 2012 social responsibility efforts is possible in this message, it is important to point out that our investments in sustainable energy continued to increase. Our leadership in this field within the Canadian financial services industry has been well established. In 2012 we invested approximately $522 million in environmentally responsible energy projects, and our total investments in this sector now surpass $2.5 billion.

On the subject of sustainability, last year I introduced our first combined Public Accountability and Sustainability Report. In this year’s report, we will share several evolutions of our sustainability strategy. For example, you will see mention of our new relationships with global third-party organizations such as the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative – a partnership that reinforces our commitment to operate as a sustainable company that delivers value to its stakeholders, today and into the future.

Overall, this year’s report employs the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative, the international body that provides a framework for the way companies report their sustainability practices. Our adoption of these guidelines aligns with our short- and medium-term priorities to improve our sustainability reporting in response to a broader global trend toward more transparency in disclosure practices. Our target over the next few years is to increase both the number and completeness of the indicators within our reports.

Finally, all of us at Sun Life are proud that we have once again been recognized as a sustainable company by a list of respected global organizations.

I invite you to review all the sections of our 2012 Public Accountability Statement and Sustainability Report to see in more detail how we at Sun Life are dedicated to Making Life Brighter.

Dean Connor
President and Chief Executive Officer