Corporate governance - Suncor's 2013 Report on Sustainability

Corporate governance - Suncor's 2013 Report on Sustainability

Corporate governance - Suncor's 2013 Report on Sustainability

Corporate governance - Suncor's 2013 Report on Sustainability

View the latest Report on Sustainability

Corporate governance

Global economic challenges, heightened stakeholder expectations, and an increasingly complex regulatory environment demand that we conduct our business at a high standard. Trust, transparency and accountability are today's expectations for companies, starting with board members and senior executives.

Corporate governance remains a critical part of Suncor's business culture and practice. From the board of directors, to the senior management team, to even the most junior of employees, making decisions responsibly and in the best interests of our shareholders and stakeholders is a key focus.

Leadership starts at the top

Suncor's Board of Directors sets the standard for the company's governance structure — balancing the need for economic growth with environmental stewardship. Its role is to oversee the management of Suncor's business and affairs on behalf of the company's shareholders. It has processes in place to help ensure we are living up to regulatory requirements as well as the standards of excellence we set for ourselves.

The board's responsibilities include:

  • identifying and managing risk
  • strategic planning
  • overseeing the establishment and enforcement of Suncor's Standards of Business Conduct
  • communication with investors and other stakeholders
  • selecting, monitoring and evaluating executive leadership and aligning management's decision-making with long-term shareholder interest

Read about our Board of Directors on

Experienced and diverse leaders

Diversity is a reality in the workplace and it should be no different in the boardroom. Having a diverse, experienced and well-credentialed board of directors is imperative to:

  • considering challenges and opportunities from a variety of perspectives
  • generating powerful ideas and innovative solutions
  • creating shareholder value

In today's environment, finding the right board composition means that in addition to industry experience, business acumen, education and geography, we must also consider factors like age, gender, ethnicity and Aboriginal status.

Suncor's Board of Directors is continually focused on finding the appropriate mix of skills and knowledge to best govern the company.

To help encourage board diversity across Canada, Suncor's president and chief executive officer, Steve Williams, in collaboration with eight others, helped the Canadian Board Diversity Council to develop Diversity 50 — a database of qualified men and women with strong competencies that align with the requirements of many Canadian boards.

Read more about Diversity 50

We see the importance of good governance

Historically, corporate governance was simply about protecting a company's tangible wealth — the capital and human assets that affect our bottom line.

With questions being raised about our industry's environmental commitment, investors and the general public are looking for certainty.

That's where Suncor's commitment to strong governance comes in. We're not only conducting our business responsibly — we're focused on reporting our activities in an honest, transparent fashion. Now, more than ever, we're working to maintain customer confidence and corporate reputation.

Learn more about Suncor's governance policies on

Structure and governance

We recognize effective corporate governance comes with leadership combined with good corporate structure. Economic, environmental and social issues can't be considered separately; they have to be integrated as part of our strategic decision-making process. That's helped drive our corporate structure:

  • Suncor's Board of Directors and its committees have clearly defined distinct oversight roles to protect the interests of our shareholders and stakeholders set out in terms of reference. These terms of reference are reviewed and confirmed on an annual basis.
  • The board's environment, health, safety and sustainable development committee monitors management's performance and emerging trends and issues in the areas of health, environment, safety and sustainable development to ensure we are anticipating future challenges and positioning ourselves to minimize risks.
  • Our senior management team integrates key operational and functional accountabilities for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Both the vice-president, sustainability and communications, and the executive advisor, sustainability and innovation, report directly to Suncor's executive vice-president, Business Services.
  • Environment, Health & Safety and Sustainability employees have direct access to senior management.

For a comprehensive description of Suncor's governance practices, download the company's annual Management Proxy Circular and related governance policies on

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