After much reflection, research and consultation, Suncor and the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) launched a bold new approach to community investment in 2011. The focus of our strategy is to target investments in ways intended to help communities near Suncor’s operations grow, thrive and become sustainable.
Since 1998, Suncor Energy and the company’s charitable foundation, the SEF, have contributed more than $130 million to communities. But Suncor’s 2009 merger with Petro-Canada created a unique opportunity to re-evaluate our existing community investment strategy and consider how we might work collaboratively with key communities and partners to have the most positive long-term impact.
“Community investment is about more than just writing cheques,” observes Cathy Glover, director of Stakeholder Relations and Community Investment. “It’s about getting involved, committing to find ways to improve and inspiring ourselves and others to think outside-the-box about what we want for our communities.”
Two key questions emerged from the discussions on a new approach, adds Glover. What does a sustainable community look like? And what is Suncor’s role in helping communities get there?
The answers to these questions became the foundation of Suncor’s new Community Investment Strategy. We define a sustainable community as a place where there is:
- a high quality of life that attracts people and keeps them there
- an abundance of clean, natural resources
- an ample economic opportunity
By leveraging Suncor’s strengths as an integrated energy company, we believe we can be an effective partner in achieving sustainability in communities. That’s why, going forward, Suncor will focus its investments in five key areas to support integrated initiatives that:
- strengthen communities by cultivating community leaders
- support building skills and knowledge for the current and future workforce
- foster the ability to think creatively through inspiring innovation
- build employee and volunteer capability by engaging citizens in community activities
- actively engage employees and communities in collaborating on our energy future
|* Community Investment data, beginning in 2009, includes consolidated post-merger data. ** In 2010, Suncor and the Suncor Energy Foundation started using a new funding priority, Sustainable Communities, to categorize funding directed at programs focused on building capacity within the community. * In 2011, Suncor launched a new Community Investment strategy with a new set of funding priorities. |
Collaboration is at the heart of our new approach. Working collaboratively will help us find and realize possibilities together for pursuing long-term solutions that can positively impact communities, future generations and our company. It will also ensure we continue to understand each other’s interests, issues, needs and concerns.
Suncor’s new Community Investment Strategy is a journey that we have really just begun; we expect it could takes upwards of five years to fully shift the focus of our community investments in this direction. All existing commitments to charitable and not-for-profit groups will be honoured; however, renewal requests and new funding requests will be assessed to ensure they align with the five priority areas described above.
“We recognize this approach is quite a departure from our legacy Community Investment program,” says Glover. “That is why we are working diligently to connect with all of our partners to discuss the changes in greater depth. While our new approach to investments is proactive, we will continue to respond to the needs of our stakeholders by working closely with our local business and community partners to ensure regional issues continue to be addressed.”