Manulife has announced a net zero emissions commitment to support climate goals worldwide, recognising the important role 37,000 employees, 118,000 agents, and over a trillion dollars in assets under management and administration can play in global climate solutions.
“Through the commitments we’ve set out today, we are accelerating work to reduce our own emissions and build a portfolio of climate-smart investments,” says Roy Gori, President and CEO, Manulife. “In making clear commitments on climate, we are setting a robust plan for our operations and our own investments. We are actively developing innovative products and services designed to contribute towards the urgent, global fight against climate change.”
Manulife is also taking another important step to underscore its commitment to build a greener, better future for all. Members of the executive leadership team currently have performance goals linked to diversity, equity, and inclusion, employee engagement, and leadership accountability. Beginning this year, goals linked to Manulife’s climate action plan will also be included.
Rooted in its mission—Decisions Made Easier. Lives Made Better.—Manulife’s journey to net zero focuses on three areas:
- Operations: Substantially reducing emissions to lessen our footprint
- Investments: Actively investing for a sustainable future
- Products and Services: Developing innovative solutions that contribute to climate change mitigation and resilience.
Manulife is net zero in its operations, due to the carbon removals from its substantial owned and operated forests and farmland outweighing its company-wide operational emissions. Manulife is committing to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 emissions 35 per cent by 2035. The Company will take steps such as enhanced efficiency measures, fuel switching, and use of onsite renewables in our buildings to achieve this target.
Manulife is now committing to steer its own investment portfolio to net zero by 2050, acknowledging the important role continued progress on financed emissions will have on its enterprise-wide climate impact. To establish a strategy for Manulife’s financed emissions net zero ambition, the Company is taking a sector-based approach, focusing first on the heavy emitting industries, such as power generation, to establish near term emissions reduction targets.
“Our approach is centred on two core principles. First, that there is an immediate need to take action on climate change today; and second, that our actions result in real change versus create the perception of change,” says Sarah Chapman, Global Chief Sustainability Officer, Manulife. “Accelerated decarbonisation of Manulife’s portfolio is a top priority for achieving our 2050 ambition.”
To ensure these targets have a meaningful impact, Manulife has committed to the Science Based Targets initiative to guide the Company’s target setting, measurement, and progress reporting. Manulife will also continue to grow its significant $39.8 billion portfolio of green investments, such as renewable energy and energy-efficient real estate. This balanced approach will ensure its investments will be meaningful in contributing to global efforts to limit global temperatures.
Recognising the benefits of a transition to a net zero world and a healthier planet, Manulife will continue to develop and tailor our products and services to empower customers to make their own sustainable choices and build resilience in the face of climate change. Through the expertise of its global asset management business, Manulife Investment Management will also continue to scale the integration of ESG through products and services offered to customers. As a strong steward, Manulife Investment Management is focused on the long term, prioritising sustainability, and expanding the view of what matters beyond financial value.
As part of this commitment to stewardship, Manulife Investment Management will continue to give clients sustainable investing options, such as the Manulife Investment Management Sustainable Asia Bond strategy and Global Climate strategy.
Additionally, as one of the world’s largest timber and agriculture investment managers, Manulife Investment Management believes sustainably managed forests and farms are a critical part of the climate solution, with immense benefits for health and wealth. The Company will continue its focus on providing nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change. It will accelerate development of products that amplify the benefits of forests and farms, developing products for investors interested in nature-based solutions that capture even more carbon per dollar invested.
As a global life and health insurer, Manulife is exploring the connections between the planet’s health and human health, to understand the impact climate change may have on its policyholders. Joining many of its global peers, the Company has been an active contributor in the Geneva Association Task Force to develop and hone climate risk assessment methodologies and tools for the insurance industry. Internal product and insurance risk management teams have been conducting extensive research and analysis of the impacts of climate change, such as on vector-borne diseases, extreme weather events, and increased temperatures, on morbidity and mortality, to inform decisions related to our life insurance underwriting assumptions. As it learns more, Manulife will continue to design and tailor products around the health and resilience of its customers.
Manulife is collaborating with industry peers and climate-related multi-stakeholder initiatives in order to progress on its journey to net zero. Building on existing engagements with Climate Action 100-plus as one of their founding members, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), the Bank of Canada climate scenario project, and others, Manulife will continue to collaborate with industry leaders to develop methodologies and approaches to accounting for and transitioning to net zero investment portfolios and products.