Trusted and responsible business

Our sustainability plan builds from our foundation as a trusted and responsible business. At the core of this foundation is our commitment to being a responsibly managed business that is Client-focused, competitive, forward-thinking, financially and environmentally resilient, and sustainable for the long term. Operating ethically, treating our Clients and employees with utmost respect, investing in communities and reducing our impact on the environment are all vital components of maintaining the longevity and resiliency of our business.

2019 Sustainability Report

Read about our sustainability commitments in action:

Download the full report

Client focus

For more than 150 years, we have proudly served Clients around the globe. Our relentless focus on Clients has helped us earn their trust and increase our success. In a competitive global marketplace, people and organizations have more choice in products and providers. That’s why our focus on Clients is more critical than ever.

For us, being Client-focused means listening and understanding what Clients need from us – at every touchpoint. It’s not just about selling insurance, benefits, or investment products. It’s about delivering the best outcomes for our Clients.

2020 goals:

  • Continue to make Sun Life easier to do business with by using new technology platforms and capabilities
  • Work with regulators to implement regulation focused on fair treatment of consumers

Learn more about our focus on Clients in our annual sustainability report

Talent management

We’re a global business with more than 40,000 employees1. Talent and culture is one of Sun Life’s five strategic areas of focus.

It’s about hiring people with the right skills and investing in their development. It’s about making their jobs meaningful, rewarding and engaging. We also want our employees to feel motivated in their work. When they are, we believe they’ll be more productive and passionate in delivering on our Purpose.

2020 goals:

  • Continue to remain above the financial services industry benchmark for employee engagement
  • Continue to invest in employee development

1 Includes Asia joint ventures

Diversity and inclusion

Fostering diversity and inclusion (D&I) is the right thing to do and studies show a strong business case for it. Companies with inclusive cultures and diverse teams are more likely to be innovative and agile. They’re also are more likely to outperform their peers.

Our ambition to be one of the best insurance and asset management companies depends on active and sincere efforts to embrace diverse perspectives. We seek to understand and embrace all that makes every Sun Life employee and Client unique.

2020 goals:

  • Increase representation of women at the Vice-President level and above (global)
  • Increase representation of visible minorities at the Vice-President level and above in North America
  • Expand internal inclusion networks to our businesses in Asia

Learn more about our diversity and inclusion efforts in our annual sustainability report

Visit our Diversity and Inclusion page

Climate change and the environment

We face a changing climate and an increasingly resource-constrained world. We recognize the impacts that these challenges can have on our business, Clients and communities. We know from our Client, consumer and employee research that environmental responsibility is an important part of how people form their opinions of businesses.

Slowing climate change must be a global focus and we have an important role to play.

2020 goals:

  • Identify ways to further increase environmental efficiency within Sun Life operations
  • Improve Sun Life’s Sustainable Procurement Program
  • Update or close risks identified in our 2019 property risk assessments

Learn more about our environmental efforts in our annual sustainability report

Risk management

As a large insurer and asset manager, Sun Life manages various external and internal risks. Identifying and mitigating these risks is critical to our competitiveness, long-term sustainability and ability to meet financial obligations to Clients.

In an ever-changing world, risks are always present and continually evolving. More recently, businesses face increasing environmental, social and governance (ESG)-related risks. These include a changing climate, rising cyberattacks and an ageing population. Many stakeholders – especially investors, governments and international organizations – want to understand our exposure to ESG issues and how we are managing them.

2020 goals:

  • Continue to work towards implementing the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures
  • Continue to profile sustainability risks within our long-term strategic plan
  • Continue to raise sustainability-related risks with executive management committees and forums

Learn more about our risk management practices in our annual sustainability report

Data security and privacy

Across Sun Life, we increasingly use data to be more personal, predictive and proactive to help Clients reach their goals. Our Clients trust us with their information, and it’s critical we take a leadership role when it comes to managing Client data safely and responsibly.

There’s not a day that goes by without a news headline about how personal data is being used, and in some cases, misused. All businesses must be vigilant and guard against all types of cyber threats.

Our Client Data Privacy Principles serve as internal guardrails for how we use Client data to deliver on our Purpose. These principles include:

  1. We use Client data to deliver on our Purpose
  2. We do not sell Client data
  3. We inform Clients about why we collect and use their data

2020 goals:

  • Use cyber security analytics to improve monitoring, investigation, reporting and response capabilities
  • Continue to improve practices throughout Sun Life to embed ethical considerations in the development of innovative new digital capabilities
  • Begin global roll out of Sun Life’s new Client Data Privacy Principles introduced in 2019
  • Work with the federal and provincial governments in Canada on public policy related to data privacy, portability and innovation

Learn more about data security and privacy in our annual sustainability report

Governance and ethics

Good governance and behaviour are essential for any sustainable business. This is especially important for financial services companies like ours, which depend on public trust. It’s about acting responsibly, doing the right thing and instilling confidence in the way we manage our business.

At the same time, Sun Life is a publicly listed company in a highly regulated sector. We therefore must meet extensive legal requirements and industry standards. This is important to ensure we’re advancing the interests of shareholders and stakeholders in a responsible way.

2020 goals:

  • Continue to target at least 30% women on our Board of Directors
  • Review and update our Code of Business Conduct

Learn more about our governance practices in our annual sustainability report