A commitment to sustainability

What sets us apart?

Our approach to sustainability combines a macro perspective on ESG risks, opportunities, and imperatives with the depth of local market expertise. As both an asset manager and owner/operator, we have a unique perspective on navigating sustainability's systemic challenges and opportunities. These facets of our identity help us develop and synthesize innovative global frameworks for sustainability analysis and asset management that work in the local context.

Our PRI scores

  • Manulife Investment Management’s scores in the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) annual responsible investment assessment report for 2019

  • A+

    • Strategy and governance  
    • Equity integration
    • SSA fixed-income integration (sovereign, supranational, and agency debt)
  • A

    • Real estate
    • Listed equity active ownership
    • Fixed-income integration (corporate financial, corporate nonfinancial, and securitized)
  • B

    • Infrastructure
    • Private equity (in our first filing for both modules)

Download our latest PRI assessment report for details on our:

  • Peer-relative SRI scores
  • Year-over-year performance across SRI categories

Please visit the PRI website to learn more about the
assessment methodology or to see our transparency report

1 PRI has notified respondents that the 2021 assessment report will be delayed

As of September 18, 2020. PRI has announced that the 2021 PRI Leaders’ Group on Stewardship has been postponed.  

Our approach

Sustainability as standard in every strategy¹

We believe that ESG risks and opportunities contribute to an investment’s overall risk and return profile and harnessing the opportunities and managing those risks can benefit investors. As stewards of client capital, we have a responsibility to allocate to the companies and issuers that we believe are most resilient to ESG risks and/or best positioned to take advantage of ESG opportunities.

We believe that active management and sustainable investing go hand in hand. We actively engage with the companies in which we invest to assess their business models against sustainability risks and opportunities, with a focus on enhancing and improving their operating strength through the adoption of sustainability best practices.

  • ESG integration 

    We integrate ESG analysis into the investment process across asset classes

  • Stewardship

    We have strong stewardship practices to both help protect the health of individual investments and to foster the strength and sustainability of the systems on which those investments depend

  • Collaboration

    We work with regional and international organizations to address the sustainability issues our world faces

Third party partners 

We carry out extensive research and due diligence on the sustainability practices of third party managers to be able to offer you a range of investing solutions from leading investment managers

1 We look to incorporate material ESG considerations throughout the stages of our investment and asset ownership lifecycles, taking into account the characteristics of the asset class and investment process in question, as well as industry and geography, among other factors.  Each investment team operates in different markets and with different nuances to its approach to investing. Accordingly, each team integrates ESG factors into its investment process in a manner that best aligns with its investment approach. For illustrative purposes.


Engaging with the companies in which we invest

We believe that portfolio sustainability can be best achieved, if managed actively. As stewards of our clients’ investments, we seek to create a positive impact by engaging with companies to mitigate ESG-related challenges and enhance ESG-related opportunities. We believe that identifying and assessing ESG issues and opportunities helps protect and enhance the value of the assets we own and operate.

Engagement factor focus, FY 2020

We often engage with a company on more than one ESG issue in a given engagement interaction. These engagements can be purely to learn about firm management of sustainability risks or to encourage them to address a material issue we’ve identified that may affect value over the long term.

Source: Manulife Investment Management, December 31, 2020. 

Top 10 engagement topics*

E, S, G

Number of engagements

Board independence



Shareholder rights



Executive compensation



GHG emissions



Energy management



Labor practices



Employee engagement, diversity & inclusion



Waste & hazardous materials management



Employee health & safety



Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment



* Table reflects the largest single-factor topics. ESG due diligence and disclosure, which crosses all factor categories, was the most common engagement topic, numbering 183 engagements. Source: Manulife Investment Management as of December 31, 2020. 

* Engagement statistics for 2020 reflect expanded engagement tracking. 

Source: Manulife Investment Management as of December 31, 2020.

What is sustainable investing?

Sustainable Investing refers to the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the selection and management of investments. By systematically integrating these factors across every stage of the investment process, sustainable investing seeks to improve a portfolio’s risk-adjusted return potential.

A wide range of factors that can affect investment returns

  • Environmental

    How a company's operations affect the natural environment, and how the natural environment affects the company.

    • Climate change and carbon emission
    • Air and water pollution
    • Biodiversity
    • Energy efficiency
    • Deforestation
    • Waste management
    • Water scarcity
  • Social

    The relationship between a company and its employees, suppliers, and communities.

    • Customer satisfaction
    • Data protection and privacy
    • Gender and diversity
    • Community relations
    • Employee engagement
    • Human rights
    • Labour standards
  • Governance

    The structures or systems a company has put in place to ensure effective direction and control.

    • Board composition
    • Executive compensation
    • Audit committee structure
    • Bribery and corruption
    • Lobbyings
    • Political contributions
    • Whistle-blower schemes

Sustainable investing: why now? 

The rise of sustainable investing has been well documented and shows no sign of slowing down. As of 2020, over USD $35 trillion¹ was invested globally in sustainable and responsible strategies, while in Canada over 60% of professionally invested money was allocated to these types of strategies. While it began as a specialist approach, sustainable investing is now a powerful and enduring megatrend that’s transforming how people and institutions are investing around the globe.

Sustainable investing by the numbers

  • Up 48%

    Assets in Canada managed with at least one RI strategy 2018-20201

  • 62%

    Of professionally managed assets in Canada is in responsible investments1

  • 75%

    Of surveyed investors in Canada want their financial advisors to inform them of sustainable investing options2

1 Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020 – Global Sustainable Investment Alliance.

2 2020 RIA investor opinion survey.

Our sustainability resources

  • 2020 sustainable and responsible investing report

    Download our report to get a comprehensive view of Manulife Investment Management’s sustainability-focused research capabilities, active ownership practices, and climate related strategy and risk management.

  • Climate change statement

    Download our statement to get a comprehensive view of Manulife Investment Management’s approach to climate change in investing.

  • Our commitment to sustainability

    Download our brochure to learn more about Manulife Investment Management’s commitment to sustainability.

  • 2021 Stewardship report

    Download our stewardship report to learn more about our culture of stewardship, our focus on risk management, and how our active ownership practices are driven by our client and stakeholder focus.


Related viewpoints

The Paris Agreement as a long-term investment framework

Investors have a vital part to play in ensuring corporations help meet the required reductions in carbon emissions set out by the Paris Agreement and in doing so, can also enhance returns.
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What is ESG investing? A spectrum of approaches

In a wide-ranging interview, two environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment leaders from Manulife Investment Management discuss how ESG is transforming investing globally and how their active approach sets them apart.
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