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Sun Life releases its 2020 Sustainability Report, outlines achievements and commitments to sustainability

Press Release

Highlights include over $60 billion invested in assets and businesses that support the transition to a low-carbon and more inclusive economy

TORONTO, March 25, 2021 – Sun Life Financial Inc. (“Sun Life”) (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF) today published its 2020 Sustainability Report and its 2020 Public Accountability Statement. The report highlights the organization’s progress and commitment to sustainability focusing on three key areas: sustainable investing, financial security and healthier lives. It also reports on topics related to operating as a trusted and responsible business: diversity, equity and inclusion, data security and privacy, governance and ethics. Sun Life issued the results of its sustainability performance and initiatives, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to sustainability in areas where they have the most positive impact on society and the environment.

“As a global leader, Sun Life plays a critical role in driving positive change. We’re committed not only to advancing our sustainability objectives but also championing and contributing to sustainability within our respective industries and in the business communities where we operate,” said Melissa Kennedy, Executive Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer and Public Affairs and Executive Sponsor of Sustainability, Sun Life. “Our approach to sustainability is integrated into our strategic priorities and purpose and builds on our foundation as a trusted and responsible business.”

2020 marked a year of extraordinary global events, all of which impacted societal health, equity, the environment and economies around the world. These events heightened and highlighted the importance of sustainability. Sun Life’s 2020 Sustainability Report shows many actions and outcomes where the company has helped its Clients around the world overcome the health and economic impacts of 2020.

“For Sun Life, sustainability means more than simply being accountable. It is about taking actions that drive social outcomes for our Clients, employees and communities over the long term,” added Kennedy.

Selected highlights from Sun Life’s 2020 Sustainability Report:

Advancing sustainable investing

  • Reached over $60 billion in sustainable investments across its general account and third party investments (as at December 31, 2020). These assets and businesses contribute to a low-carbon and more inclusive economy, and meet criteria based on market standards.
  • Broadened SLC Management’s alternative investment solutions for institutional Clients to include infrastructure equity and advance sustainable investment options through the majority acquisition of InfraRed Capital Partners.
  • Introduced a new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) evaluation framework that helps Clients make informed decisions for sustainable investing through Sun Life’s Canadian Group Retirement Services business.

Increasing financial security

  • Helped Clients in Canada take 1.2 million positive financial actions. For example, thanks to Sun Life’s digital coach, Ella, Clients placed $700 million in savings products and obtained $1 billion of insurance coverage.
  • Grew the availability of products and services to help Clients in Asia increase their financial security. Launched new digital solutions across the region and partnered with two new bank distribution networks in Vietnam to make it easier for millions of Clients to get the coverage and advice they need.
  • Expanded low-cost insurance options for consumers in the Philippines and Indonesia through strategic partnerships with MediCard and LinkAja, contributing to nearly 120,000 microinsurance policies issued to date.

Fostering healthier lives

  • Launched Lumino Health Virtual Care in Canada, which connects Clients with medical practitioners for virtual consults. This offering helps Clients in need of enhanced medical support while social distancing.
  • Helped U.S. Clients enrol easily in the benefit choices they needed through Sun Life’s Maxwell Health digital platform.
  • Expanded their commitment to mental health through programs and services to help Clients and employees during challenging times.

Trusted and responsible business

  • Intensified their goal to reach gender parity globally and to have 25 per cent under-represented communities with specific goals for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in senior management roles in North America by 2025.
  • Built a sustainability assessment process into all aspects of their corporate real estate operations in North America. Sun Life incorporates sustainability considerations in every step of a building’s lifecycle.
  • Supports the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and disclosed climate risks in line with the TCFD recommendations in its 2020 Annual Management Discussion and Analysis and the 2020 Annual Report.

Earlier in March, Sun Life announced its sustainable investing and climate change actions, including an investment commitment of C$20 billion in sustainable investments over the next five years across its General Account and third party investments. These additional investments may range from renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable buildings, clean transportation, water management, and social infrastructure projects such as hospitals.

Sustainability is a key strategic priority for Sun Life. The 2020 Sustainability Report is the 10th report issued and demonstrates its ongoing journey on its sustainability strategy. Since 2014, Sun Life has used the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework to guide its reporting. This report is developed in accordance with the GRI Standards Core Option and reports on relevant disclosure topics identified in the Insurance and Asset Management standards developed by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).

Further details on Sun Life’s 2020 Sustainability Report and its 2020 Public Accountability Statement are available 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 Plan 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.

Note to editors: All figures in Canadian dollars

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

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