Driven by our mission, we understand that we can and should create value for—and be valued by—all of our stakeholders in order to be successful now and in the future. We’re particularly focused on the environment, health and well-being, and supporting the communities where we live and work.
In 2021, we were proud to share the first phase of our Climate Action Plan, a robust and long-term commitment to reducing our environmental footprint, supporting the transition to a net zero future, and investing in climate change mitigation and resilience. Our substantial natural resource holdings have enabled us to realize net zero operations, meaning we remove more carbon from the atmosphere than our business operations emit. But we know we need to do more and we have additionally committed to reducing our absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 35% by 2035. We have also committed to achieving net zero financed emissions by 2050. We have further embedded these commitments by adding goals linked to our Climate Action Plan into our executive performance and compensation, and by committing to the Science Based Targets initiative.
We’re also bringing these commitments to life through our business, including through our acquisition of 89,800 acres of forested land as an impact-first investment, as well as the expansion of our sustainable investing products with the launch of investment strategies in Sustainable Asia Bond, Global Climate, and ESG Asian Multi-Asset Income.
We continue to invest in the communities where we live and work to empower sustained health and well-being, drive inclusive economic opportunity, and create a sustainable future. Alongside our partners, we delivered on high-impact initiatives, including our second “MOVE for GOOD” challenge that motivated our customers collectively to walk 100 million steps to unlock a donation that encouraged underserved children in Hong Kong to be more active.
The year also marked our 14th annual MLK Scholars program, an award-winning cross sector collaboration we lead in the U.S. Since its inception in 2008, we’ve invested over US $15 million to provide jobs and professional development opportunities to over 6,000 youth.
We remain committed to helping communities respond to COVID-19 with a contribution to Project HOPE, and to natural disaster relief efforts in the U.S., Canada, and Asia—including Typhoon Rai in the Philippines—with donations to the Red Cross. In Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam, we were honoured to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines for our colleagues and their immediate families, as well as our agents and financial advisors in collaboration with local governments and other third parties.
We were pleased to be named one of Canada’s Best 50 Corporate Citizens by Corporate Knights and to have improved our ranking on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America to the 81st percentile.
As well, Manulife Investment Management was accepted as a signatory to the UK Stewardship Code, which is recognized globally as a best practice benchmark in investment stewardship.