How US$77bn Investment is Helping Sun Life go Sustainable

Insurance giant Sun Life has US$77bn of investments in businesses supporting low-carbon transition and is making ‘big strides’ towards net-zero emissions

Sun Life VP and CSO Alanna Boyd says the insurance company is in a “terrific position” to execute its sustainability and net-zero plans.

Writing in Sun Life’s 2023 Sustainability Report, Alanna said: “I see our leaders and teams really digging in to learn and apply the issues of sustainability and climate change in ways that are directly connected to our business.

“We’ve made big strides in Sun Life’s sustainability ambition and there’s so much more we can do. We’re in a terrific position to accelerate the execution of our plans.”

Highlights from the report

  • Sun Life issued its second sustainability bond, raising US$500m to finance new and/or existing green and social assets
  • It has a US$77bn portfolio value of investments in assets and businesses that support the transition to a low-carbon economy
  • It used 32% of its global electricity supply from renewable sources.

The report says its targets include:

  • Net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 for operations and investments
  • 50% absolute reduction in GHG emissions in operations by 2030, relative to 2019.

The report, which acknowledges that the targets are tough, says absolute GHG emissions in Sun Life’s operations increased by 3.7% against its 2019 baseline.

It says: “Since our 2019 base year, we’ve made progress towards reducing emissions in our corporate real estate portfolio.

“Our overall operational emissions rose primarily due to an increase in travel in support of our business priorities.

“As we continue to develop our climate strategy and data quality and availability improves, we expect to identify additional decarbonisation levers that will help to reduce our operational emissions.”

Kevin D. Strain, President and CEO, Sun Life

Time to sharpen strategic focus

Kevin D. Strain, President and CEO, Sun Life, said: “As a globally trusted and responsible company, we know that embedding sustainability into our business – from our governance structure, policies and practices to our philanthropic work, training and reporting – creates resiliency and a brighter future.

“While we are proud of our progress, there is work to do. By sharpening our strategic focus and scaling positive impact across our diverse footprint, we’ll accelerate our actions to go further and faster to continue to build resilience into our business.”

Adelina Romanelli, Director, Responsible Investing, SLGI, Sun Life, said: “From an institutional investor perspective we see climate change as material, pervasive and non-diversifiable at the portfolio level.

“So, collaborating on the global fight against climate change means preserving wealth over time, mitigating downside risk and seizing investment opportunities that will continue to arise from a low-carbon transition.”

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