Sun Life takes action against racism

TORONTO, July 17, 2020 /CNW/ - Sun Life stands for equality, social change and justice to support under-represented communities. We are actively removing systemic barriers that negatively affect the lives of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.

"We're at an inflection point in society ─ there is a movement to drive lasting change to address and eliminate systemic racism," said Dean Connor, President and CEO of Sun Life. "At Sun Life, we're increasing our efforts to create organizational and societal change. That includes engaging in difficult conversations about race to create equal opportunity and foster inclusion for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour at Sun Life."

As a global industry leader committed to sustainability, Sun Life has a responsibility to help create lasting change. Our action plan, which includes an additional $1 million investment this year, focuses on three categories where we can make a meaningful difference:

  • Clients and Communities
  • Talent and Culture
  • Learning and Development

Clients and Communities

We are focused on creating an inclusive environment that not only supports our employees in all their diversity but also reflects our Clients and communities, allowing us to better serve their unique cultures and needs.

  • We have signed on to the goals in the BlackNorth Initiative, led by the Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism, to help remove systemic barriers that negatively affect the lives of Black Canadians.
  • Aligned with our Purpose, we will fund community groups, including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, D.C. and the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. These organizations support under-represented communities, with an emphasis on Black/African American coalitions and social justice reform.
  • At Sun Life we recognize the diversity of our marketplace and encourage the inclusion of diverse suppliers as part of our competitive bidding process. We will continue to focus on increasing our relationships with vendors, suppliers and small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, People of Colour and women.

Talent and Culture

We are embedding a culture where employees see themselves reflected at all levels across the company, and feel included and engaged.

  • Sun Life is intensifying our goal to have 25% of under-represented minorities at the senior leader level within five years - with specific representation objectives for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour where we are particularly lagging. We will also set goals for representation below the senior leader level for the same timeframe.
  • We established our enterprise-wide Diversity & Inclusion Council in 2018. We are bolstering those efforts through new Canadian and U.S. Task Forces to accelerate our Diversity & Inclusion strategies, as well as measure and communicate outcomes.
  • Of the 300 students hired in North America this year at Sun Life, over a quarter self-reported as ethnically diverse. Going forward, we will focus on strengthening career paths and opportunities for diverse students.

Learning and Development

Sun Life is equipping our leaders and employees with knowledge, information and safe spaces to get comfortable engaging in uncomfortable conversations about race and racial injustice. These are important conversations, which will lead to greater, inclusive outcomes. 

  • We are starting at the top with intensive diversity training for our Executive Team.
  • Sun Life is holding internal learning forums about racism, racial diversity and inclusion. We've created safe spaces for our employees to share their personal stories, experiences, insights and perspectives.
  • We have increased funding for our employee inclusion networks, including Mosaic in Canada and the Black Excellence Alliance (BEA) in the United States, to facilitate the important work they do.
  • Building on our existing diversity learning programs, we have added a new digital learning platform to help teams learn how to talk meaningfully about diversity and build inclusive behaviours and capabilities.

As outlined in Sun Life's 2019 Sustainability Report, our efforts in Diversity and Inclusion are directly aligned with our Purpose, our business strategy and our ultimate success as a company.

Together, we can and will do better. 

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 March 31, 2020, Sun Life had total assets under management of $1,023 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:

Investor Relations Contact:

Rajani Kamath

Leigh Chalmers

Assistant Vice-President

Senior Vice-President, Head of Investor

Corporate Communications

Relations & Capital Management

T. 416-979-6070

T. 647-256-8201

rajani.kamath@sunlife.com

investor_relations@sunlife.com


SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.

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