In Vietnam, the Company continued offering micro-insurance policies, which it began offering in 2009. With premiums of roughly $1 per month, the policies help women (most of whom are farmers) who want to protect themselves and their families from the risks associated with accidents, disease and natural disasters. The introduction of micro-insurance to this region helps contribute to social welfare, eliminate poverty and create awareness of savings to area residents.
As in previous years, the Company encouraged its employees in 2012 to volunteer at the local community level. Volunteerism has always been a priority at Manulife and being active participants in improving local communities is a vital part of the organization's culture. In 2012, Manulife employees and distribution partners volunteered 380,745 hours to a wide range of charities and causes. Employee donation of time is an important contribution and a way to extend the power of our corporate donations.
"We believe every volunteer act helps contribute to better outcomes for everyone," adds Nicole Boivin, Senior Vice President and Chief Branding & Communications Officer. "At the same time, we think it's a forward-thinking approach toward being an engaged community partner."Environmental Impact: Through its ongoing commitment to sustainable investment, demonstrated by the Company's investments in renewable energy, forest land management and volunteer programs, Manulife is helping protect biodiversity and fragile ecosystems around the world. From recycling and conservation programs to the generation of renewable energy, the Company continued to adopt environmentally friendly practices in its global office locations and throughout its global real estate portfolio during 2012. Manulife also continued to pursue opportunities to increase the effectiveness of its business operations, while minimizing impact on the environment. These efforts included the use of property management technologies, the introduction of data server virtualization and initiatives to encourage the reuse and recycling of electronic waste. Data on the Company's carbon emissions, energy and water consumption, paper use and waste diversion are presented in the 2012 Statement.