Suncor is guided by a community investment strategy focused on targeted investments intended to help communities near our operations grow, thrive and become sustainable

We're guided by a community investment strategy focused on helping communities grow, thrive and become sustainable

Suncor is guided by a community investment strategy focused on targeted investments intended to help communities near our operations grow, thrive and become sustainable

Suncor is guided by a community investment strategy focused on targeted investments intended to help communities near our operations grow, thrive and become sustainable

View the latest Report on Sustainability

Legacy Totem Pole Ceremony in Calgary, June 2010, commemorating Suncor's sponsorship of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Community investment

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As stewards of valuable natural resources, we have the opportunity – and responsibility – to help build a better future. By supporting resilience, skill development and social well-being in the communities around us, we strive to create shared value and benefit for all involved.

We are here to connect and support, as well as learn with our community partners. By working with others, we increase our body of knowledge and make progress toward resolving complex social challenges.

Collaboration is at the heart of our community investment strategy. By working collaboratively, we can find and realize opportunities for long-term solutions that can positively impact communities, future generations and our company. It also ensures we continue to understand each other’s interests, issues, needs and concerns.

Our community investment strategy

Suncor and our private, non-profit, charitable organization, the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF), are guided by a strategy focused on targeted investments intended to help communities near our operations grow, thrive and become sustainable and resilient.

By leveraging our strengths as an integrated energy company, we believe we can be an effective partner in supporting sustainable, resilient communities. That’s why we focus our 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
  • engage employees and communities in collaborating on our energy future

“Our collaborative approach allows us to work in partnership with communities to understand the big issues that impact both society and Suncor,” says Cathy Glover, director, community investment and the SEF. “Whether it’s supporting Aboriginal youth, addressing community capacity or facilitating a dialogue on energy future, our investments have the potential to be transformative both internally and in community.”

Community investment by fuding priority

For most energy companies, 2015 was a difficult year to navigate how best to support community organizations in time of economic downturn and budget constraints. Through the corporate foundation model, SEF was able to utilize their reserve fund to honour commitments and maintain support to our community partners. Our Foundation is an example of sustainability in action by allowing us to be resilient in times of economic uncertainty. While SEF could not consider new funding, we were able to maintain support to our strategic initiatives and partners through dollars, in-kind contributions and volunteerism.

Read more about our Community Investment strategy and the Suncor Energy Foundation

Community investment: Our support in community

Suncor is part of our communities so we need to be a contributor towards strengthening their resilience and sustainability.

“For many years, we were doing what we thought was right, being reactive and doing things ‘to’ community. Now we’ve started to move into that ‘with’ and ‘of’ space: how do we work together in partnership for the common good?” reflects Glover. “One key learning we’ve had is that we can’t force outcomes and we have to be prepared to allow ourselves and our organization to be changed by what we’re seeing and hearing.”

This approach was strengthened from the SEF Gathering events and can be seen in some emerging collaborations such as the Alberta Social Innovation fellows, Alberta Ecotrust’s Climate Gathering and the creation of the social goal.

Examples of our strategy in action

Here are some examples of the community investment strategy in action in 2015, and what we’ve learned:

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Collaborating on our energy future

Meeting society’s energy challenges today and tomorrow is all about making informed choices. That’s why Suncor and the SEF are investing in an evolving set of initiatives around Collaborating on the Energy Future. 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 30 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. Led by The Natural Step (TNS) Canada, it’s supported by three convening organizations: the SEF, The Banff Centre and the Pembina Institute, 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?

Check out the Energy Futures website to learn more about what is happening

"As energy producers and users, it is imperative for all of us to find collaborative ways to transition production towards using less carbon intensive means,” says Lori Gammell, senior advisor, social innovation and partnerships. “Opinions on energy may differ, but with everyone in the conversation, we can make informed decisions that create shared value for all Canadians and transition to a sustainable energy future for Canada.”

Another initiative supported in the energy space is Student Energy (SE), and their interactive energy literacy platform. SE is a global not-for-profit that is helping post-secondary students to become the next generation of leaders committed to transitioning the world to a sustainable energy future. Their approach of engaging all perspectives for a balanced understanding aligns with how we want to have the conversation about our energy future.

Reconciliation Canada

Another example of our community investment strategy in action is our partnership with Reconciliation Canada. Through this partnership, Suncor is learning what reconciliation means in Canada and for our organization. As outlined in our social goal, Suncor has committed to changing the way we think and act in regards to our relationship with Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Reconciliation is the process of understanding and coming to terms with our shared history in order to have a “vibrant Canada where all peoples achieve their full potential and shared prosperity” as stated in the vision of Reconciliation Canada.

Investing in social innovation

To further support the new skills and thinking needed to make progress on complex community challenges, SEF, in partnership with The Banff Centre, invested in establishing the four-week Getting to Maybe social innovation residency program.

Launched in June 2015 with 28 participants, it brought together diverse corporate, government and community leaders to explore ways to make communities better places to live by looking at issues through:

  • systems thinking
  • the environment
  • Indigenous knowledge
  • the creative process and arts as a foundation for social innovation theory

The program is collaboratively designed by academic experts from the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience at the University of Waterloo and expert faculty and thought leaders from The Banff Centre and SEF.

“To make tangible progress on the issues facing communities, we know we need to foster and participate in new thinking and leadership at a system-wide level,” says Paul Gardner, senior vice president, human resources, and chair of the SEF board of directors. “This investment in the people that are taking leadership roles in collaborative change efforts in Canada underscores our commitment to address complex social issues and develop strong and sustainable communities.”

Find out more about the Getting to Maybe social innovation residency.

Local Communities

During 2015, Suncor and SEF continued to support many local initiatives in our operating communities including:
St. John’sCommunity Sector Council: this initiative is a multi-sectoral project to strengthen the capacity and resources of the non-profit sector
Fort McMurrayFuseSocial: emerging from the Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo project, this organization serves as a backbone organization to the community sector in the region.
Sarnia Wheels to Lambton Project: getting to school is a critical element to student success so, in 2015, SEF started supporting the initiative which provides transportation for Lambton College students from Walpole Island First Nations and Aamjiwnaang First Nation.
Denver Boys and Girls Club: As a long-time supporter, we proudly celebrated the grand opening of the new Suncor Boys & Girls Club facility in Commerce City. The new space will support expanded programs to meet the community needs for years to come.

Supporting our employees

Volunteerism and community engagement has long been part of how our employees contribute to the community. Through our SunCares employee program, we help employees more readily support community in the following ways:

  • Volunteering – through Suncor-supported events or team-building and individual volunteering opportunities
  • SunCares Grants – SEF and Suncor provide a suite of grants that support causes important to employees
  • United Way – During the 2015 Suncor United Way Campaign, more than $6.4 million was contributed to United Way chapters through employee donations, special events and the corporate donation provided by Suncor and SEF

Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Games support

Through our Petro-Canada brand, we are a long-time supporter of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic movement. Our current sponsorship agreement extends our support for Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes, coaches and their families, through to 2016.

Our involvement in the Canadian Olympic movement is a journey that began in 1987, when Petro-Canada organized and sponsored the Torch Relay for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary. We are proud to continue our support of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Petro-Canada’s Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence (FACETM) Program has supported over 2,700 athletes on their way to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Every year, 50 promising athletes from across Canada are awarded a $10,000 FACE grant, shared with their coaches, to help them along their journey.

We also believe one of the best ways to support Canadian athletes is to help their biggest fans, their families. We continue to support a ticketing program that will help ensure family members have the opportunity to see their athletes compete live in Rio in 2016.

Other examples

You can find more examples of our community investment strategy in action in other areas of the Report on Sustainability, including how:

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