Suncor looks to identify business opportunities that allow us to work together with Aboriginal communities for mutual economic benefit

We look to identify opportunities that allow us to work together with Aboriginal businesses for mutual benefit

Suncor looks to identify business opportunities that allow us to work together with Aboriginal communities for mutual economic benefit

Suncor looks to identify business opportunities that allow us to work together with Aboriginal communities for mutual economic benefit

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

Partnering with Aboriginal businesses

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Performance Area: Increase revenue to Aboriginal businesses and communities.

Increasing Marketing Arrangements

Over the last several years we have successfully grown relationships and expanded business development opportunities with Aboriginal communities through Suncor’s downstream business. These mutually beneficial business relationships between Suncor and Aboriginal communities leverage our Petro-Canada brand and communities’ goals for economic development.

In the next 10 years, we want to expand these efforts and increase our business with Aboriginal communities because it makes good economic sense — for Suncor and for Aboriginal Peoples across Canada.

Increase Aboriginal supplier-spend

Suncor has a long history of working with Aboriginal suppliers, particularly in the Wood Buffalo region. We want to apply what we’ve learned over the last 20 years more consistently across our businesses, so that more Aboriginal entrepreneurs and communities have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from our operations.

2015 Examples

Petro-Canada partners with Fort McMurray 468 First Nation and Christina River Enterprises

This year, Fort McMurray 468 First Nation and Christina River Enterprises opened the first Aboriginal-owned retail Petro-Canada branded operation in Alberta. The road to this milestone began when Petro-Canada hosted a conference in Osoyoos, B.C. in October 2014. Entitled “Imagine the Possibilities,” the conference brought like-minded people together to learn about retail gas station opportunities for Aboriginal businesses. Christina River Enterprises was one of the participants. Pat Pambianco of Petro-Canada had this to say at the opening of the new retail site:

"Today is another chapter in our shared history and valuable relationship we have with Fort McMurray 468 First Nation and Christina River Enterprises. We recognize that people and communities affected by our activities should have the opportunity to benefit through greater participation in energy development."

In 2015, five new Petro-Canada retail sites were opened in Aboriginal communities in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

Partners on the Adelaide Wind Power Project

Our Sarnia refinery is located beside the Aamjiwnaang First Nation community. In 2015, this First Nation became an equity partner with us in the Adelaide Wind Power Project. Aamjiwnaang First Nation holds a 25% interest.

“This partnership is an opportunity for us to continue to work together with the Aamjiwnaang First Nation on our shared energy future,” says Jim Provias, vice president, renewable energy. “We are committed to working closely with the Aamjiwnaang community and we look forward to building on this relationship over the lifespan of our project.”

The Adelaide Wind Power Project is a 40 megawatt (MW) facility located approximately 5 km north of Strathroy, Ont. and has 18 turbines.

"Aamjiwnaang is committed to creating partnerships that contribute to the development of our community,” says Chief Chris Plain. “The Adelaide project will allow us to use our traditional territory in a way that is in alignment with our values and philosophy, by contributing to a more sustainable future for our community and the province as a whole."

Working with Aboriginal vendors

Aboriginal vendors had a record year in 2015. Significant spending on projects like Fort Hills provided more contract opportunities for Aboriginal vendors. While we came close to reaching our 10-year target, we don’t expect to reach it just yet.

Challenges ahead

Current challenges in the economic environment mean that our project spending for the coming years will be significantly reduced. As a result, there will be fewer contracting opportunities. We know that project spending fluctuates and we’re working hard to define sustained opportunities for Aboriginal vendors in the years ahead. We’re focusing on a few areas:

  • Internally, we’re changing our approach by integrating Aboriginal vendor inclusion into each of our supply chain categories so that it becomes fully embedded into the way that we work, every day.
  • We’re also working to embed those same values with our suppliers and contractors. Aboriginal vendor inclusion is a key component we use to evaluate our contractors and suppliers, ensuring they’re also focused on advancing Aboriginal sub-contracting strategies.
  • We’re finding ways to broaden and diversify the scope of our overall spend that’s available to Aboriginal vendors, and we’re working directly with select businesses to build their capability.
  • Historically, we’ve been focused on the Wood Buffalo region. By continuing our partnerships with Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association (NAABA) and the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), we’re looking beyond Wood Buffalo for opportunities to build relationships and to partner with Aboriginal vendors in some of the other communities where we operate across Canada.