Sun Life launching ESG framework for pension plan sponsors

Sun Life Canada is launching an environmental, social and governance framework for its group retirement services to help pension plan sponsors and members make sustainable investing decisions.

The framework is meant to identify ESG leaders in both funds and managers across all major asset categories offered in the record-keeper’s group retirement services core investment platform, with the aim of helping plan sponsors understand the level of ESG integration in their plan’s investment offerings.

“This new evaluation framework is an expansion of the strong governance process we have in place today for our investment platform,” said Tom Reid, senior vice-president of group retirement services at Sun Life Canada, in a press release. “Having a resilient and sustainable workplace plan is more important than ever. This added guidance will help clients make more informed decisions about the investment choices in their savings plan.”

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During the coronavirus pandemic, individual investors have flocked to sustainable investment strategies, noted the release, with sustainable indexes outperforming market benchmarks, which is consistent with previous market crises. “The pandemic has put a spotlight on sustainable investing, particularly how companies are able to pivot and react quickly to social and governance issues.”

Part of the motivation for creating the platform was that, while many ESG measurement tools are used within the investment industry, no existing scoring provider covers all the investment platform options that Sun Life offers within its group retirement services. “In isolation, an ESG score for a fund can create confusion and lack relevance for clients,” the release noted.

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