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Major opportunities and risks

As a result of the 2009 merger with Petro-Canada, Suncor has significantly expanded its international presence, including operations in Libya and Syria. In all business decisions, we must weigh the potential economic opportunity versus the potential impacts on communities and subsequent risks to the company.


  • By operating responsibly in high-risk and conflict-affected countries, foreign corporations can contribute to strong economies and communities, which in turn can contribute to peace, stability and respect for human rights.


  • Operating safely and effectively in all countries and communities.
  • Continuing to operate in a responsible and principled manner, while mitigating the potential risks, no matter where the location.


  • Part of Suncor's risk management is to provide the appropriate supervision and training and bring in the necessary resources and equipment to ensure acceptable safety standards are maintained and to make certain our employees and contractors understand what we expect in regard to safety. Suncor establishes standards to ensure our expectations are met in each operating area or community. Environmental and social impact assessments are also completed.
  • Suncor's Human Rights Policy and Framework was approved in 2011 and implementation activities were started in 2012 and are ongoing.
  • Suncor has enacted several policies which encompass this area including:
  • Suncor's Human Rights policy
  • Improper Payments policy
  • International Security policy
  • Harassment and violence-free working environment
  • Stakeholder and Aboriginal Relations policies

Operational responsibility

Our senior vice president exploration & production, senior vice president legal, vice president sustainability & communications are each accountable for different pieces of the many areas contained in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) definition of society. Executive leadership teams meet regularly to ensure such risks are managed.

Key strategies and procedures for implementation

Supporting procedures used:

  • Environmental and social impact assessments
  • Life Cycle Value Analysis tools
  • Stakeholder framework, including tools for stakeholder mapping and planning
  • External issue management process
  • Enterprise risk management process, tools and governance
  • Toll-free integrity/ethics hotline
  • Human Rights framework

Major changes to systems or structures to improve performance

In 2010, Suncor developed and introduced Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS), an enterprise-wide management system framework based on a series of management system elements. The management system structure is based on the continual improvement cycle (plan-do-check-act). Communications and stakeholder relations is one of the elements of OEMS ensuring there are policies and effective processes for working with stakeholders and identifying issues.

Training and awareness

All full-time and part-time, regular, salaried employees and independent contractors are required to complete the online Suncor Standards of Business Conduct training. (Please note that some represented employees did not participate in online training, however those employees were provided with "The Way We do Business" handbook.)

Monitoring and follow-up

Online human resources reports are generated for leaders indicating which employees are late in completing training. Leaders are required to follow up and ensure all such employees complete training.

Goals and performance

The company has a target to have 100% of identified employees complete training in 2013. Systems can and do report success toward the goal.

Key successes and shortcomings

Our safety and security policies and processes were successfully tested in Libya in early 2011 when we safely evacuated employees and contractors. Having operations in conflict-sensitive environments has made us even more aware of the need for robust human rights frameworks. A review of our policies and processes was underway before the unrest began. We were also participating in a pilot project with the UN Global Compact to test the Principles for Responsible Investment in conflict affected regions. This work has been accelerated in response to the on-going unrest resulting from the Arab Spring.

Work also continues on developing a more rigorous approach to issues management in order to identify emerging risks and develop proactive management strategies.