Sustainability

At Sun Life, we’re proud of the steps we have taken to advance our sustainability profile. Our actions as a sustainable company integrate financial, environmental, social and corporate governance considerations into our operations.

We are focused on advancing environmental sustainability, constantly seeking better ways to be more efficient in our premises and in the way we carry out our business. We continue to make progress in such areas as sustainability certifications in our real estate assets, investments in clean and renewable energy projects and measuring and reporting on greenhouse gas data as part of the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Sustainability is aligned with the long-term part nature of our business: helping people around the world protect their families and manage personal financial risks throughout their lives. We make commitments that last 20, 30, 40 years or more – commitments we know we will be able to keep tomorrow, because of the considered action we take today.

In our buildings

We’re taking significant steps to reduce our environmental footprint by consuming less, by diverting more waste and by adopting sustainable building and development practices.

We occupy approximately 2.7 million square feet of office space across Canada. In 2012, throughout our Canadian organization, we completed several energy and water efficiency projects and achieved substantial improvements in our environmental profile. We replaced 2 uninterrupted power supply units in our data centre, an upgrade that is expected to achieve energy savings of approximately 250,000 kWh per year. We also reduced exterior accent lighting at our Canadian headquarters, upgraded lighting systems in our Toronto offices and continued our reduction of water consumption.

We actively monitor and manage the environmental footprint of our existing properties. In 2012, Sun Life received a LEED® EB Gold designation for the Mississauga Executive Centre, a 4 building commercial complex in Mississauga, Ontario. To date, 62% (by market value) of Sun Life’s commercial real estate has been awarded either a BOMA BESt or LEED® EB designation. These organizations identify industry best practices and develop programs to help landlords achieve optimal environmental performance.

BOMA stands for Building Owners and Managers Association.
BESt stands for Building Environmental Standards.
EB stands for Existing Buildings.
® LEED is a registered trade-mark of the U.S. Green Building Council.

In our business

In 2012, Sun Life received 7 commendations at the national, North American and global levels for our ongoing sustainability initiatives. These included being the only North American insurance company named to the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World, and our listing in the FTSE4Good Index, which provides investors with an index of companies that meet globally recognized corporate responsibility standards. Sun Life has been included in the FTSE4Good Index since its inception.

We’re an international company headquartered in Canada with offices in the United States, the United Kingdom and several countries throughout Asia. By linking our offices and departments virtually with web conferencing, we maintain business communication without the need to travel, significantly reducing our carbon footprint.

Our paperless services provide fast, easy solutions for our customers. Paper is necessary to our operations, however, and for office use, we purchase 30 % post-consumer recycled content paper.

We also ensure that the mission, vision and values of our affiliates, subsidiaries and joint venture partners are consistent with those of Sun Life. For example, MFS’ investment approach generally focuses on companies with sustainable, long-term competitive advantages. MFS is also a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI). The UN PRI provides a framework that assists institutional investors to integrate ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) factors while meeting their fiduciary responsibilities to act in the best long-term interests of their clients. Birla Sun Life Insurance, our joint venture in India, has provided microinsurance products since 2007 and has since expanded its services. The specially tailored products ensure that families with limited means living in remote, rural areas have access to small-premium, small-payout policies to provide them with peace of mind.

Investing in clean and renewable energy

We’ve been investing in clean and renewable energy for 29 years. In 2012, we financed approximately $522 million in 10 clean and renewable energy projects. This included environmentally desirable solar power and wind power projects.

Working with our partners

We work with external partners to further our sustainability goals. Sun Life is a signatory and respondent to the Carbon Disclosure Project, a founding member of Corporate Knights Council for Clean Capitalism and a member of the United Nations Environmental Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

For more information on our renewable energy projects and other sustainability initiatives, see our Public Accountability Statement and Sustainability Report.