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 – centred 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 pillars 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 pillars.

Advancing sustainability in 4 key areas


We believe that putting the Client at the centre of all we do, and supporting our talent and culture, contributes to a resilient organization that is forward- thinking and built for the long term.


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.


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.

Governance and risk management

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

2016 Sustainability Report

See our commitment to organizational resilience, environmental responsibility, community wellness, and governance and risk management in action.

 Download the full report

Messages from our leaders

Message from the President and CEO

For more than 150 years, Sun Life has focused on building and maintaining a strong business for the long term. In 2016 we built on that, announcing a step-change in putting our Clients at the centre of everything we do. Whether that's doing more to help prevent and treat diabetes, providing access to alternative investments with higher yields or leading the way in digital innovation to make it easier for our Clients to get the services they need, we see a relentless focus on Clients as closely linked to furthering our sustainability commitment.

Looking ahead, we want to improve the Client experience in 3 key ways – making it easier for Clients to do business with us, connecting with and talking to our Clients more than we do today and being better at servicing Client needs and resolving their problems when issues arise.

This Client focus, coupled with building a winning culture that emphasizes collaboration, integrity and treating Clients and colleagues with dignity and respect, will advance our efforts to build strong, healthy communities.

Dean A. Connor
President & Chief Executive Officer

Message from the Chair of the International Sustainability Council

Momentum is building in the implementation of sustainability principles and practices across Sun Life. The evidence can be found in the many initiatives recounted in this year's report, as well as the external recognition we have garnered in the past year through inclusion in key indexes and rankings like the FTSE4Good Index, Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and, most recently, the 2017 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World.

As we continue along this journey, our stakeholders can expect to see us do more to ensure our sustainability ambitions are holistic and outcome-based. While our activities may vary from country to country, they are centred around a common theme: building sustainable, healthier communities for life.

Ultimately, our sustainability-building initiatives make Sun Life a stronger, more resilient organization that is well positioned for long-term success – as a committed and preferred employer, as a trusted community partner, and as a company that is respected and admired for what we deliver to Clients and shareholders.

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

Message from the Executive Sponsor

Our approach to sustainability is a real differentiator for Sun Life. Through our focused strategy, we are taking action to advance our organizational resilience, be accountable for our environmental interactions, strengthen communities and demonstrate the strong governance and risk management that will serve us – and our Clients – for the long term. We continue embedding this sustainability perspective into our culture and across operations, knowing that it's a driver of long-term success.

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