Learn more about Suncor's appoach to the environmental issues we face as we work to responsibly develop the energy the world needs

Learn more about Suncor's appoach to the environmental issues we face as we work to responsibly develop the energy the world needs

Learn more about Suncor's appoach to the environmental issues we face as we work to responsibly develop the energy the world needs

Learn more about Suncor's appoach to the environmental issues we face as we work to responsibly develop the energy the world needs

View the latest Report on Sustainability

Suncor invests in new environmental technologies and pursues renewable energy development to be a leader in sustainable energy development.


Suncor's environmental performance infographic

We know that energy development has an impact. And as we work to responsibly develop the energy the world needs, we have to think about:

To preserve a healthy environment, it’s crucial we find balance and a better way to get things done. What follows is a snapshot of our management approach to the environmental issues we face, at both the global and local level.

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Our strategy

At the core, our corporate mission is to be trusted stewards of valuable natural resources. Guided by our values, we will lead the way to deliver economic prosperity, improved social well-being and a healthy environment for today and tomorrow.

One of the pillars of our corporate strategy is to be an industry leader in sustainable development by continued performance improvements in air emissions, water withdrawals, land reclamation and energy efficiency.

Read more about our vision and strategy

Through a bold pursuit of technology, innovation and operational excellence, we work to achieve or exceed performance levels governed by legislation and by evolving environmental, social and economic expectations of our stakeholders.

We use our Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS) to consistently and effectively identify, avoid and/or mitigate operational risks, environmental impacts and regulatory non-compliance to deliver safe and reliable operations.

Read more about our operational excellence management system


Supporting our mission and strategy is our Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) policy, which is built on our values and underpins our commitment to environment, health and safety.

Our EHS policy statement is: We are committed to a culture of operational discipline which is foundational in achieving safety, environmental, and health and wellness excellence.

We believe that:

  • all incidents can be prevented
  • to work here, you must be committed to working safely
  • environmentally responsible operations are essential for our success
  • leadership is accountable for EHS performance
  • we deliver on our commitments
  • our Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS) enables EHS excellence

The vice president of environment, health and safety is responsible for integrating EHS components of our OEMS and EHS performance measures across our operation.

The business and functional unit senior vice presidents and vice presidents are directly responsible for implementation of policies and practices.

Regulations and policies regarding energy and emissions

We are active participants in public policy discussions on energy and the environment, and regularly communicate with governments in the jurisdictions where we operate. We operate in many jurisdictions that have regulated or have proposed to regulate energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water, land and biodiversity.

Read more about our public policy participation and specific regulations and policies on energy and emissions

We assess the ecosystems services and biodiversity as part of regulatory applications and approval conditions, as required. Biodiversity baseline surveys and protection measures are incorporated into management and operating procedures for exploration and new development throughout the project life-cycle.  Risks from indirect impacts on biodiversity are addressed before starting new operations or changing existing ones. We have used conservation offsets for both regulatory and voluntary purposes in a number of jurisdictions. 

Read more about biodiversity and offsets


Our Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) policy recognizes that environmentally responsible operations are essential to our success and serves as our statement of intent for managing and minimizing all impacts on the environment.

Download our EHS Policy Statement (PDF, 1 pp. 156 KB)

Goals, targets and actions

Seven years ago, Suncor stepped out of the industry pack by setting four ambitious environmental goals for our organization. We did not know how we were going to achieve those goals, but simply setting them put us on the path towards environmental excellence.  These goals, included;

  • Reduce fresh water consumption by 12% by 2015
  • Increase reclamation of disturbed land area by 100% by 2015
  • Improve energy efficiency by 10% by 2015
  • Reduce air emission by 10% by 2015

We are excited to say that we met the goals on reducing water use and air emissions, increasing reclamation* and came very close to meeting our goal on energy efficiency.

To ensure we continue to improve on our sustainability performance, we’ve set two new goals: one focused on climate change and, for the first time, a social goal focused on strengthening our relationships with Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples. We are working towards setting a new long-term goal to extend our commitment to water conservation.

*Reclaimed lands have not been certified by government regulators. Please see Advisories.

Read more about our progress to our future goals

Responsibilities, resources and training

The Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainable Development Committee of the Board of Directors meets quarterly to review our effectiveness in meeting our environmental obligations. They also review our effectiveness in establishing appropriate EHS policies.

Download our Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainable Development Committee Mandate  (PDF, 3 pp., 31 KB)

Our leadership is ultimately accountable for our environmental performance, and responsible for ensuring employees under their direction have the competencies, knowledge, tools, and resources to work in an environmentally responsible manner. We also conduct workshops and training sessions throughout the year as warranted.

Resources which help us execute our management strategies span several internal centres of expertise including:

  • Environment, Health Safety (EHS): integrates EHS components of our Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS) and EHS performance measures for our operations. The business and functional unit senior vice presidents and vice presidents are directly responsible for policies and practices implementation. Environment, health and safety professionals directly support all parts of the business to implement EHS policies and practices and ensure learnings and best practices are shared across the business and functional units.
  • Sustainability: identifies risks and opportunities to our social licence to operate and grow our business and develop a sustainability strategy. This includes:
    • developing corporate sustainability goals and stewarding their performance with the business units and stakeholders
    • non-government organizations outreach and engagement
    • advocating for sound energy and environmental policy
    • developing and stewarding Suncor’s community investment strategy
  • Enterprise Technical Services: drives operational and environmental business performance improvement across the enterprise.
  • Government Relations: promotes and enhances strategic relations with all levels of government and informs government about industry and Suncor-specific energy development challenges.



We conduct Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS) and compliance self-assessments annually to assess our internal management approach. We participate in external benchmarks and performance ratings to compare our approach to our peers and we seek out diverse opinions that are different from ours to challenge our thinking. 

Read more about external benchmarks and performance ratings

Conversations that will lead us to better, more responsible solutions means working with stakeholders, governments and industry partners. And while we might not always agree on everything, we do have a common goal – create energy to improve quality of life and do so sustainably.

We seek direct feedback from our external stakeholders and incorporate any findings into our management plans. 

Read more about partnerships and collaborations


Our environmental performance for 2016 is reported in the performance data section and year-over-year trends are provided, where possible.

Read more about our sustainability goals

What are we doing differently

We’re working hard to address global and local environmental issues. We’ve made strides in:

  • reducing and reusing water at our operations
  • reducing our air emissions
  • improving overall energy efficiency
  • reclaiming disturbed lands to restore natural landscapes

We’re also investing in new environmental technologies and continuing to develop our renewable energy portfolio.

We absolutely believe an energy company can be environmentally responsible. In fact, to stay in business over the long term, we have to be.