At Sun Life, we recognize the links between a healthy environment and a healthy economy, on which our business depends. By improving our environmental performance and embedding environmental, social and governance factors into our investment decisions, we are creating a more sustainable organization while supporting the transition to a lower-carbon economy.


Operational footprint

Sun Life actively manages its operational footprint. We take accountability for the impact that our activities have on the environment, so it’s essential that we find ways to use resources like energy, paper, water and materials, in a sustainable way. Our environmental framework is our roadmap towards strong environmental management across both our owned and occupied properties worldwide, including tracking and reporting on key environmental indicators.

2017 highlights:

  • Committed to targets for reducing our GHG emissions intensity (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per square foot) by 20% by 2020 and 30% by 2030 (relative to a 2014 baseline), and achieved a 14.7% decrease as of the end of 2017 (compared to our baseline year).
  • Committed to a target for reducing our paper consumption by 30% by 2020 for North America (relative to a 2014 baseline), and realized a 15% reduction in 2017.
  • Decreased global energy use intensity by 5% from 2015 to 2017.
  • Named as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, for creating a workplace culture of environmental awareness.
  • 2017 Canadian General Counsel Awards recognized Melissa Kennedy, Executive Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer & Public Affairs, and Executive Sponsor of Sustainability at Sun Life, with the Environmental, Social and Governance Award for her commitment and leadership in sustainability.

Sustainable investing

We believe sustainable investing can improve the long-term return on our assets. Such sustainability practices can help achieve superior sustainable investing results while also benefiting the communities where we live and do business. Incorporating an environmental, social and governance (ESG) lens in investment decision-making helps us to manage risks in our investment portfolios and to identify opportunities related to ESG trends.

2017 highlights:

  • Strengthened our sustainability framework within Sun Life Investment Management with the development of a series of sustainable investing principles, along with a communications plan. This effort seeks to build greater transparency and standards around our sustainability investing activities among our stakeholders.
  • Invested nearly $1 billion in clean and renewable energy projects in Canada and the U.S., bringing our total portfolio in this area to $5 billion. For example, we invested in a U.S. energy storage facility that uses emerging battery storage technology to reduce its carbon footprint.
  • Purchased more than $20 million of the City of Ottawa green bond — the first municipal green bond issued in Canada. Ottawa intends to use the proceeds to help achieve emission targets and finance light-rail transit.
  • The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark recognized Bentall Kennedy (a member firm of the Sun Life Investment Management group of companies) as one of the top firms in the world for its commitment to sustainable property management and investing, for the 7th consecutive year.

2017 Sustainability Report

See our sustainability commitments in action.

  Download the full report