In this SDG Awards 2017 entry:
Voting Category: Large Organization
SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy
Suncor is committed to developing and supplying energy options that meet both today’s and tomorrow’s needs. We share in the global challenge to tackle climate change head on by reducing emissions, while providing the energy that the world needs. Suncor has an ambitious goal to reduce carbon intensity by 30% by 2030 and investment in renewable energy is part of the solution.
We recognized the value of renewable energy 15 years ago, when we commissioned our first project in Gull Lake, Saskatchewan. Over the last 15 years, we have developed eight wind power projects with a gross-generating capacity totaling 395 MW. Our investments continue to be focused on wind power and biofuels, and we continue to evaluate opportunities in other renewable technologies, including solar.
SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Suncor is moving aggressively towards the goal of harnessing new technology that transforms the GHG footprint of our operations and our impact on the life-cycle of our product. Technology and innovation are taking us there.
Innovation and technology have always been key to the oil sands industry, which Suncor pioneered exactly a half-century ago. It’s allowed us to develop this vast resource on a commercially viable basis while continually improving our environmental performance.
Today, Suncor invests in a range of strategic technologies and collaborates with peer companies and external partners through organizations like Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) and Evok Innovations on clean technology solutions.
SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities
Innovation is not limited to technology or environmental performance. Suncor’s recognition of this is reflected in the strong emphasis we place on sustainability and embedding it throughout our organization.
In 2016, we launched our first long-term sustainability goal to address our social performance. That goal, to be pursued over the next 10 years, sets us on a new path toward reducing inequalities and strengthening our relationships with Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples and increasing the participation of Aboriginal Peoples in resource development.
Another key social collaboration for Suncor is the work we do, along with several other companies, as members of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Local Network in Canada. This is part of our support for the UNGC and its 10 Principles, which guide our approach to human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption – wherever in the world we operate.
SDG 13 – Climate Action
As a company, as an industry and as a larger society, we have already made some progress in moving into the solution space around climate action. We know climate change is happening. Clearly, we all have a shared interest in finding solutions.
At Suncor, we’ve moved on several fronts – internally and externally – to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity while providing the energy the world needs.
In 2016, we announced an ambitious new sustainability goal: to reduce the total GHG emissions intensity of our oil and petroleum products by 30% by 2030. It’s a target we believe puts us on the path to ultimately bending the curve on our absolute GHG emissions as well.
SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy
Over the last several years, there has been a focus on the development of our wind portfolio in Ontario with the commissioning of both the Adelaide and Cedar Point wind power projects. The 40MW Adelaide wind power facility, located in southern Ontario, is a notable project in our portfolio as it includes an equity partnership with a First Nation community. Under the partnership agreement the Aamjiwnaang First Nation has a 25% interest in the project.
We intend to participate in the procurement and development of future renewable power projects in southern Alberta, which may include three solar projects.
We also operate Canada’s largest ethanol facility in Ontario. Virtually all the ethanol produced at the St. Clair plant is blended into Petro-Canada gasoline.
SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
In 2017, we plan to invest more than $200 million in technology development as part of a robust technology strategy to optimize current assets and develop next generation facilities.
We also lead or participate in a number of industry studies and projects under Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), an alliance of companies representing 90% of oil sands production. To date COSIA has been instrumental in:
- 936 contributed technologies (113 obtained in 2016)
- $1.33 billion spent to develop technologies ($111 million in 2016)
- 276 current, active projects (76 obtained for 2016)
- $680 million cost for current projects in progress ($219 million in 2016)
- 347 completed projects (119 completed in 2016)
- $818 million cost for completed technologies ($111 million in 2016)
- Suncor is the lead for several projects, including the Water Technology Development Centre
- Suncor is also a participating COSIA member company in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE
- In 2016, Suncor led 43 COSIA studies and Joint Industry Projects
SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities
Some of our social goal metrics are very clear and others less so, such as how will we know we are changing the way we think and act? It is also not just us evaluating our own performance, but taking the opportunity to look for input from our Aboriginal employees, leaders and community partners on how we’re doing and where we can do better.
Last year we took a good first step on that path by signing two historic partnership agreements with the Fort McKay First Nation and the Mikisew Cree First Nation that will see them become equity partners in the East Tank Farm synthetic crude terminal when the agreements are finalized in 2017. This $500 million investment is unprecedented in scope and scale for First Nations, Suncor and our industry. Both First Nations will share in the benefits as the terminal receives bitumen from the Fort Hills oil sands mine and ships product to market.
SDG 13 – Climate Action
In 2016, we announced a new greenhouse gas goal that aims to reduce the total emission intensity of the production of our oil and petroleum products by 30% by 2030.
This goal stretches us beyond our current competence and technology and ultimately aims to bend the curve on our absolute emissions, with the intent to be a low carbon intensity source of crude. We are taking a full life-cycle approach to ensure that our actions minimize carbon intensity, from the extraction of bitumen to the production of fuel.
Our focus this past year has been to examine the data and processes from every part of our business and identify high-opportunity areas, one of which is oil sands intensity and establishing targets for all major facilities and business units.
We seek out relationships with groups and individuals who are openly critical of oil sands development because we think it’s important to listen and understand other perspectives. We find value in thinking about things differently and this often leads to new ideas, joint problem solving or different ways of working with our stakeholders.
ENGOs are involved in a variety of activities on a wide range of issues. We may have disagreements on some issues and find common ground and mutual benefit by working together on other issues. We work hard to understand and learn from ENGOs because we value their knowledge, insights and diverse perspectives.
We seek to engage with ENGOs in an atmosphere of mutual respect, although this does not mean either side is co-opted by the other. Our ENGO partners are free to publicly criticize our company or industry as they see fit except on specific initiatives in which we’ve agreed to co-operate. We, in turn, are free to counter statements and research by ENGO partners if we know it to be contrary to established facts. Simply put, both sides can agree to disagree, while continuing to work together for the greater good.
We have entered into several successful partnerships with ENGOs in recent years. These organizations include:
Joint Problem Solving Forum (JPSF)
The JPSF is an informal group of oil sands industry and environmental organization executives who meet several times a year to problem solve, explore solutions and look for common ground on the critical issues of climate change and energy development.
Participating companies include:
- Canadian Natural Resources
- Cenovus Energy
- ConocoPhillips Canada
The environmental organizations involved include:
- Environmental Defence
- Pembina Institute
- Clean Energy Canada
- Stand (formerly Forest Ethics)
Ceres mobilizes a network of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy. Suncor has been a Ceres member company since 2007. We have worked closely with a diverse stakeholder group assembled by Ceres to discuss our overall sustainability strategy, including reporting, risk analysis and issues management. This Ceres stakeholder panel encouraged us to develop our first set of environmental performance goals. In 2015, Ceres reviewed our draft sustainability goals and provided feedback. Mostly recently, Ceres reviewed and provided feedback for Suncor’s Climate Report: Resilience Through Strategy.
Boreal Leadership Council (BLC)
BLC is composed of leading conservation groups, First Nations, resource companies and financial institutions, all of which have a stake in the future of Canada’s boreal forest. As a member of the BLC, we are a signatory to the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework. We are committed to implementing this national vision through our own sphere of activity and have submitted an action plan to council members outlining our priorities and focus areas.
Suncor sponsored a BLC project to look at how Aboriginal Peoples are working to protect the woodland caribou.
Suncor also participated in a working group looking at understanding and implementing Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in Canada. We continue to work closely with the BLC on this important issue.
Energy Futures Lab
Meeting society’s energy challenges today and tomorrow is all about making informed choices. That’s why Suncor and the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) are investing in an evolving set of initiatives to collaborate on the energy future we’ll all share. Our goal is to leverage our strengths as an energy company and be a catalyst for an inclusive, national dialogue that will enable Canada to use our energy resources wisely and pave the way for a sustainable energy future.
Launched in 2015 with 40 Fellows, the Energy Futures Lab is an Alberta-based, multi-sector collaboration designed to help shape Alberta’s energy future and strengthen its position and reputation as a global energy leader.
The Fellows are exploring the question: How can Alberta’s leadership position in today’s energy system serve as a platform for transitioning to the energy system the future needs?
In 2016, the Fellows identified nine innovation pathways, including radical carbon efficiency in energy production, deployment of distributed renewables and smart energy communities, to focus their work in the coming years.
Pollution Probe is a national, not-for-profit organization that defines environmental problems through research, promotes understanding through education and presses for practical solutions through advocacy.
Through the Suncor Energy Foundation, we have been partners with Pollution Probe since 1998, most recently supporting Energy Exchange – an entity aimed at advancing the national dialogue on Canada’s energy future.
Pollution Probe publishes the Energy Exchange Magazine twice per year which promotes a systems-based understanding of energy issues among its readers.
Suncor is a co-founder of Evok Innovations, along with the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance and Cenovus Energy to accelerate early-stage technologies. Evok brings together British Columbia’s cleantech industry and Alberta’s oil and gas sector to advance new technologies directed at environmental and economic improvements for the oil and gas value chain. Launched in 2016, Evok is a fund that offers innovators mentorship and access to capital to progress development of pre-commercial technologies. An important feature of Evok is the access provided to the end customers (Suncor and Cenovus) at an early stage in the life of the start-up companies. Through 2016 and in early 2017, six technology companies were funded.
Suncor is also a participating COSIA member company in a $20 million global initiative to accelerate new technologies by converting CO2 emissions from industrial facilities for electricity generation and oil and gas production into valuable and usable products.