Announcement

March 16, 2021

Sun Life announces new sustainable investing and climate change commitments

Company's sustainability strategy focuses on maximizing social and environmental impact, aligning to its insurance and asset management businesses

TORONTO, March 16, 2021 /CNW/ - Sun Life Financial Inc. ("Sun Life") (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF) today announced sustainable investing and climate change actions that will drive meaningful outcomes for a lower carbon, more inclusive economy. These commitments bolster Sun Life's sustainability strategy, while supporting the company's purpose of helping Clients achieve lifetime financial security and live healthier lives.

"Our sustainability and climate change actions to increase sustainable investing, achieve carbon neutral operations and reduce greenhouse gas emissions contribute to our sustainability priorities. Our actions will have an environmental and social impact for our Clients, employees and our communities for generations to come," said Melissa Kennedy, Executive Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer and Public Affairs and Executive Sponsor of Sustainability for Sun Life. "Sun Life remains active in supporting the transition to a lower carbon, more inclusive economy and as a company we are continuously identifying new ways we can advance this outcome."

Sustainable Investing
Sun Life has set a goal to invest an additional C$20 billion in sustainable investments over the next five years across its General Account and third party investments.1 2 These additional investments may range from renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable buildings, clean transportation, water management, and social infrastructure projects, such as hospitals. Sun Life currently has close to C$60 billion invested in sustainable investments combining assets through the General Account and SLC Management's third party investments.

Kennedy added, "As a global insurance and asset management company, Sun Life is taking an active role in sustainable investing, but more importantly it shows how we're holding ourselves accountable as a trusted and responsible business."

Many of Sun Life's sustainable investments have created meaningful outcomes in the lives of others. In 2020, the company made 46 new sustainable investments with 12 focused on providing access to essential services and 13 investments in energy efficiency, including energy and water efficiency projects across several school buildings in the state of Missouri.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are one important lens in Sun Life's investment decision-making process to identify opportunities and risks. In 2020, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada received an "A" on all scored modules in the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)'s annual global evaluation of responsible investing.3

Sun Life also achieved a top global ranking in the annual GRESB Real Estate Benchmark for its General Account, ranking second in Canada and sixth globally for the Diversified, Non-listed, Core peer group.4

Carbon Neutral Operations
Starting this year, business operations around the world for both Sun Life and MFS, Sun Life's premier global asset management firm, will be carbon neutral. Sun Life continues to drive initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including enhancing the energy efficiency of its office spaces. MFS has already taken a number of actions to enhance energy efficiency in its physical offices and will continue to seek additional opportunities to further reduce its carbon impact.

Sun Life also plans to introduce an internal carbon charge for business air travel when it lifts its current COVID-19 travel restrictions for employees.

GHG Emission Intensity Targets

Recognizing that buildings account for about one-third of GHG emissions worldwide and consume 40 per cent of global energy,5 Sun Life continues to reduce its GHG emissions intensity6 across its offices and real estate investment properties globally. In 2019, a year ahead of schedule, Sun Life met its 2020 target to reduce GHG emissions intensity7 by 20 per cent. The company is working towards reducing its GHG emissions intensity8 by 30 per cent by 2030.

SLC Management and MFS have joined the Climate Action 100+ initiative, an investor-led initiative to ensure the world's largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change.

The company's approach to addressing climate change also involves strengthening its ability to evaluate and report on potential impacts. Sun Life included its first disclosures in line with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations in its 2020 Annual Management Discussion & Analysis.

The company will publish its 2020 Sustainability Report on March 25, 2021 at sunlife.com/sustainability.

About Sun Life's Sustainability Plan
Sun Life's Sustainability Plan builds from a foundation as a trusted and responsible business. At its core is a focus on the areas where Sun Life can make the most positive social and environmental impact: increasing financial security, fostering healthier lives and advancing sustainable investing. Sun Life's Sustainability Plan also focuses on minimizing its environmental footprint, supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, data security and privacy, governance and ethics and risk management. In 2019, Sun Life also became the first life insurance company in the world to issue a sustainability bond. To learn more about Sun Life's Sustainability Report visit www.sunlife.com/en/sustainability/.

About Sun Life
Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individual and corporate Clients. Sun Life has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2020, Sun Life had total assets under management of $1,247 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Forward-looking information
In this news release, "we", "our" and "us" refer to Sun Life and its subsidiaries and joint ventures.  Certain statements in this news release are forward-looking, including, but not limited to, statements (i) relating to our growth strategies and strategic objectives, (ii) relating to our anticipated sustainable investment commitments, (iii) that are not historical or that are predictive in nature or that depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, and (iv) that include words such as "intends to", "will", and similar expressions.  All such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the "safe harbour provisions" of applicable Canadian securities laws and of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements in this news release represent our current expectations, estimates and projections regarding future events as of the time of this news release and are not historical facts.  These forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties and are based on key factors and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Some of these assumptions and risks and uncertainties are described further in the Company's management's discussion and analysis for the year ended December 31, 2020 under the heading "Forward-looking Statements", in the risk factors set out in the Company's annual information form for the year ended December 31, 2020 under the heading "Risk Factors", in the other factors detailed in the Company's annual and interim financial statements and in the Company's other filings with Canadian and U.S. securities regulators, which are available for review at www.sedar.com and www.sec.gov, respectively. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed, implied or forecasted in such forward-looking statements.

Except as may be required by Canadian securities laws, we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this news release.

Note to editors: All figures in Canadian dollars

Media Relations Contact:
Abigail Bueno
Manager, Corporate Communications
416-802-8107
abigail.bueno@sunlife.com 

Investor Relations Contact:
Leigh Chalmers
SVP & Head of Investor Relations
Capital Markets
647-256-8201
investor.relations@sunlife.com

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1 Forward Looking statement. See full statement at the end of the news release.

2 Excludes MFS, Sun Life's premier global asset management company

3 For copies of 2020 PRI Assessment and Transparency reports, contact sustainability@sunlife.com

4 BentallGreenOak (November 24, 2020), BentallGreenOak's global real estate investment platform receives top accolades in the 2020 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), marking 10 years of leadership in ESG [Press Release]. Retrieved from https://www.bentallgreenoak.com/press-release-2020-11-24.php

5 UNEP Finance Initiative, BentallGreenOak and REALPAC. "Global ESG Survey Results," 2019.

6 Sun Life calculates year-over-year reductions annually and reports cumulatively versus the 2014 baseline. This includes GHG emissions resulting from energy, water, and waste (where weight data exists), and normalized to remove the impact of changing weather, occupancy and exceptional loads, for Real Estate Investment properties where Sun Life has financial control, and global corporate real estate properties >40,000 ft² where Sun Life has financial control. Reported reductions account for the purchase of renewable energy credits and carbon offsets (market-based reporting).

7 Sun Life calculates year-over-year reductions annually and reports cumulatively versus the 2014 baseline. This includes GHG emissions resulting from energy, water, and waste (where weight data exists), and normalized to remove the impact of changing weather, occupancy and exceptional loads, for Real Estate Investment properties where Sun Life has financial control, and global corporate real estate properties >40,000 ft² where Sun Life has financial control. Reported reductions account for the purchase of renewable energy credits and carbon offsets (market-based reporting).

8 Sun Life calculates year-over-year reductions annually and reports cumulatively versus the 2014 baseline. This includes GHG emissions resulting from energy, water, and waste (where weight data exists), and normalized to remove the impact of changing weather, occupancy and exceptional loads, for Real Estate Investment properties where Sun Life has financial control, and global corporate real estate properties >40,000 ft² where Sun Life has financial control. Reported reductions account for the purchase of renewable energy credits and carbon offsets (market-based reporting).

 

 

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.