Sun Life is committed to being part of the climate solution. We cannot achieve our Purpose without meaningful action to address climate change and support the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Guided by ambitious targets and plans, we’re intensifying our actions to limit climate change and steward a more sustainable environment, society and economy. With $1.33 trillion in AUM1, 52,500 employees2,3 and 97,400 advisors2 globally (as of Dec 31, 2022), Sun Life is positioned to have a meaningful impact on the global goals of the Paris Agreement and the critical transition to a low-carbon economy. Refer to Sustainable Investing for more details on our sustainable investment approach, including the ways we’re supporting this transition.
We support the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature increase in this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To help achieve this future, we have set the following goals and targets:
Refer to our Net Zero by 2050 report for the latest updates on Sun Life’s progress towards net zero.
Sun Life’s asset management companies are also contributing to net-zero efforts through participation in the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (NZAM). These companies include: MFS Investment Management (MFS), SLGI Asset Management Inc. (SLGI Asset Management), SLC Fixed Income, BentallGreenOak (BGO) and InfraRed Capital Partners (InfraRed). Part of the commitment as a NZAM signatory includes setting an interim target for the proportion of assets to be managed in line with net zero by 2050 or sooner. Learn more in Sustainable Investing.
We’re developing climate action plans that will act as a roadmap to 2030 and set the foundation for our work to 2050. Although the data and technology needed to achieve net zero involve limitations or do not yet exist, we intend to be part of the solution by investing in new technology and working with Clients and investees to generate the data needed for decision making.
We continue to maintain CarbonNeutral®4 company certification across our operations globally and remain committed to maintaining this status in future years. Our commitment has two components:
To learn more, read our feature story “Carbon offsetting helps the environment, communities and Sun Life”.
We’re working to understand and address potential climate change risks to our business overall. For example, we have been gaining experience with climate change scenario analysis and stress testing. We assess the potential effects of various climate change-related impacts on our office locations and investment properties. These include storms and flash floods that we expect to become more frequent and intense. Each year, we update our business continuity plans to ensure key business functions and normal operations can resume effectively and efficiently should a major disruption occur (including but not limited to an extreme weather event).
We review environmental risks within Sun Life’s Risk Management Framework (RMF). Our RMF outlines our risk management process for how we identify, measure, manage, monitor and report current and emerging risks. Learn more in Risk Management and in our Annual Report.
As a long-term investor, we are also working to address the climate emergency. We invest proactively in assets and businesses that support the transition to a lower-carbon economy. Examples include renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable buildings and clean transportation. In our asset management businesses, we consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks as part of our investment decision-making process. ESG risks include the physical and transition risks that climate change poses. Read more about our Sustainable Investing approach.
We’re adapting our facilities and portfolios to a changing climate, including through enhanced risk management and building and infrastructure retrofits. Proactively, we examine ways to build climate resilience and human wellness features into our real estate portfolios.
Strong governance and clear lines of accountability help us deliver on our environmental commitments and remain accountable to our stakeholders.
We closely monitor our environmental programs to track progress against our targets. We commit to transparent reporting and strengthening our climate disclosures:
In our Annual Report, we provide disclosures guided by the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). TCFD recommendations support calls for a collective increase in reliable climate-related financial disclosures – an important step in ensuring greater understanding of the financial implications of climate change for greater market stability and transparency. We support the actions of regulators to require TCFD-aligned reporting.
In addition, BGO manages Sun Life’s real estate investment properties (a small portion are Sun Life corporate offices). BGO has an ISO 14001-certified Environmental Management System (EMS) to ensure successful implementation of environmental programs and continuous improvement. The EMS covers the collection, monitoring, record keeping, evaluation and reporting of environmental and sustainability data from properties within BGO’s control.
Sun Life is committed to advocacy and collaboration with governments, regulators, investors and industry leaders to develop supportive net-zero programs and policies that bring us closer to decarbonization. We’ve engaged with policymakers and regulators advocating for climate-related financial disclosures, greater consideration of the life and health impacts from climate change, and opportunities to create more climate-resilient buildings and infrastructure.
You’ll find highlights of our public policy activities throughout our Sustainability Report.
1 Comprises general fund assets, segregated funds, mutual funds, managed funds and other AUM.
2 Rounded to the nearest hundred.
3 Represents full-time equivalent employees and includes 29,169 regular employees, 1,258 temporary employees and employees in Asia joint ventures (21,549 regular employees and 525 temporary employees).
4 CarbonNeutral® is a registered trademark of Climate Impact Partners and is achieved in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol, the leading global framework for carbon neutrality.
5 Emissions resulting from global corporate offices and data centres as well as from business travel, inclusive of majority-owned Sun Life affiliate companies. All emissions reporting is aligned to the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard using the financial control approach.
6 DentaQuest corporate offices are excluded for the 2022 reporting cycle.
7 Includes MFS and SLC Management affiliates (BentallGreenOak, InfraRed Capital Partners and Crescent Capital Group).
8 MFS, SLC Management and Crescent are signatories and participate in direct engagements.
9 As of March 28, 2023, MFS, SLC Fixed Income, BentallGreenOak, InfraRed and Sun Life Global Investments are signatories to NZAM.
10 SLC Fixed Income joined the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials in 2022.
Refer to Sustainability Data Scope.