Building sustainable, healthier communities for life

And we’re looking for new and innovative ways to do more.

Our sustainability strategy

Sun Life's focus on advancing sustainability — centered around a vision of building sustainable, healthier communities for life — is a key strategy for the company and is essential to our overall business success.

We define sustainability as taking accountability for our social, environmental, economic and governance impacts, risks and opportunities, in ways that help to ensure our long-term ability to deliver value to our Clients, employees, shareholders and communities.

While we have had sustainability-related programs in place for many years, in 2014 our Board of Directors approved a formal, company-wide sustainability strategy. The strategy focuses on 4 principles within which we continue to deepen our commitment and strengthen our practices: organizational resilience, environmental responsibility, community wellness and governance and risk management. Our priority topics, informed by stakeholder feedback, are mapped to these 4 principles.


Advancing sustainability across 4 key principles

Organizational resilience

We cultivate an organization that is competitive, forward-thinking, resilient and sustainable for the long term, so we can continue to meet the needs of our Clients, who are at the centre of all we do.

Priority topics:
  • Client focus
  • Digital innovation
  • Data security and privacy
  • Talent management
  • Workforce wellness
  • Diversity and inclusion

More about organizational resilience

Environmental responsibility

We are accountable for the impact of our operations on the environment, so we're taking even more steps to measure, manage and reduce that impact.

Priority topics:
  • Operational footprint
  • Sustainable investing

More about environmental responsibility

Community wellness

We believe that by actively supporting the communities in which we live and work, we can help to build a positive environment for our Clients, employees, advisors and shareholders.

Priority topics:

  • Strategic philanthropy
  • Infrastructure investments
  • Public policy

More about community wellness

Governance and risk management

We believe a well-run organization contributes to a stable operating platform for the company, and positions us to meet our obligations to stakeholders. Proactive risk management and an embedded risk culture are essential to our long-term success.

Priority topics:
  • Ethics, integrity and corporate governance
  • Risk management
  • Transparency and disclosure

More about governance and risk management

2017 Sustainability Report

See our sustainability commitments in action.

  Download the full report
  Download the highlights

Messages from our leaders

Message from the President and CEO

I’m pleased to present Sun Life’s 2017 Sustainability Report that outlines our progress in creating long-term sustainable value for our Clients, shareholders, employees and communities.

Our Client commitments span generations, so it’s no surprise that sustainability has been central to Sun Life for over 150 years. It’s also central to our 4-pillar business strategy and to the renewed Purpose we introduced in 2017, which is to help our Clients achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives.

We are continuing to invest in the 4 principles of our sustainability strategy: organizational resilience, environmental responsibility, community wellness and exemplary governance and risk management. Our actions have helped us to resolve problems faster for Clients, reduce our environmental impact, expand our activities to help prevent diabetes and its complications, and maintain our focus on strong governance and risk management. I encourage you to read our report for more details about our actions and priorities.

Thank you to our Clients, shareholders, employees, partners and the community organizations around the world who are on this journey with us to shape a sustainable future.

Dean A. Connor
President & Chief Executive Officer


Message from the Executive Sponsor

2017 has been a watershed year in the advancement of our sustainability strategy. We received strong internal support to set greenhouse gas reduction targets — a significant commitment that all of the Executive Team is solidly behind as we approach our 2020 and 2030 target years.

At the same time, we continued to focus on the resilience of our organization, recognizing that investing in diverse talent that is intensely focused on our Clients is critically important to our long-term success. We believe this focus is a key differentiator for Sun Life on our sustainability journey. I’m proud of what we have accomplished in 2017 and excited about the momentum with which we enter 2018 as we continue building sustainable, healthier communities for life.

Melissa J. Kennedy
Executive Vice-President,
Chief Legal Officer & Public Affairs and Executive Sponsor of Sustainability


Message from the Chair of the International Sustainability Council

The very Purpose of our business — helping people achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives — requires a culture of sustainability throughout the organization. In 2017, our International Sustainability Council continued to foster that culture, and make meaningful progress related to issues like climate change and its implications for our business.

Throughout the year, we’ve been recognized for our practices on a range of sustainability priorities. Our commitment to sustainability remains steadfast, and we look ahead to continuing progress as we leverage our expertise, employees and technologies to drive improved performance on priority sustainability topics.

Philip Gillin
Senior Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, Canadian Property Investments and Chair of the International Sustainability Council