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Manulife Announces Journey to Net Zero



May 6,  2021



  • Global commitments include steering investment portfolio to net zero by 2050, reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions 35 per cent by 2035
  • Pledges commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative1

TORONTO  - Manulife today announced a net zero emissions commitment to support climate goals worldwide, recognizing 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," said 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.


Operations: Substantially reducing emissions to lessen our footprint

Manulife is proud to share that the Company is net zero in its operations, uniquely positioned 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.


1 Science Based Targets initiative

Investments: Actively investing for a sustainable future

Today, Manulife is 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 centered 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," said Sarah Chapman, Global Chief Sustainability Officer, Manulife. "Accelerated decarbonization 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.

Products and Services: Developing innovative solutions that contribute to climate change mitigation and resilience

Recognizing 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, prioritizing 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.2

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.


2 Not all investments available to all investors in all jurisdictions.

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+ 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.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. 

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About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services provider that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we operate as Manulife across our offices in Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. We provide financial advice, insurance, and our global wealth and asset management segment, Manulife Investment Management, serves individuals, institutions and retirement plan members worldwide. At the end of 2020, we had more than 37,000 employees, over 118,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving over 30 million customers. As of March 31, 2021, we had CAD$1.3 trillion (US$1.0 trillion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made $31.3 billion in payments to our customers. Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 155 years. We trade as 'MFC' on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under '945' in Hong Kong.

*All figures are as at December 31, 2020

Caution Regarding Forward-looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the "safe harbour" provisions of Canadian provincial securities laws and the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  The forward-looking statements in this news release include statements with respect to Manulife's Climate Action Plan and journey to net zero. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, such statements involve risks and uncertainties, and undue reliance should not be placed on such statements. Certain material factors or assumptions are applied in making forward-looking statements and actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include factors identified in the "Caution regarding forward-looking statements" in our 2020 Annual Report and elsewhere in our filings with Canadian and U.S. securities regulators.

The forward-looking statements in this news release are presented for the purpose of assisting investors and others in understanding our objectives and strategic priorities, and may not be appropriate for other purposes. We do not undertake to update any forward-looking statements except as required by law.


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