Suncor’s sustainability goals acknowledge that we need to continue to evolve and manage our business for the long term by continually improving our environmental, social and economic performance. Learn more:

Our sustainability goals are helping us improve our environmental, social and economic performance. Learn more:

Suncor’s sustainability goals acknowledge that we need to continue to evolve and manage our business for the long term by continually improving our environmental, social and economic performance. Learn more:

Read more about our sustainability goals, which acknowledge that we need to continue to evolve and manage our business for the long term by continually improving our environmental, social and economic performance

Suncor's sustainability goals around its environmental performance, specific to social, GHG and water goals.

Sustainability goals

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"Business and economies are at risk if we fail to meet society’s rising expectation for our performance"

– Steve Williams, president and CEO

Suncor’s sustainability goals acknowledge that we need to continue to evolve and manage our business for the long term by continually improving our environmental, social and economic performance. In 2016, we established two new sustainability goals, focused on strengthening relationships with Aboriginal Peoples in Canada and reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity.

The goals, which have a baseline year of 2014, provide us with guide posts to drive performance improvement far beyond our current capabilities so we can contribute as constructively as possible to the world we all share.

We are also working towards setting a new long-term goal to extend our commitment to water conservation, based on what we learned from our 2015 water goal and building on the success of our water management strategy. This goal will reflect our water requirements with the need to maintain a clean, safe and plentiful supply of this important natural resource for current and future generations. Find out more about our current work:

Find out more about our sustainability goals:

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Social goal: Strengthening our relationships with Aboriginal Peoples in Canada

While we’ve worked with Aboriginal communities for more than 40 years, we recognize that sometimes our approach has been colonial rather than collaborative – we wanted to ‘do’ or fix things, rather than seek to understand the interests and needs of impacted communities.

Our first social goal is a declaration of our intent to do things differently. We’re choosing a new path that focuses on strengthening relationships, so Aboriginal Peoples can play a larger role in how energy is developed – from project concept through to reclaiming the land back to its original state. For us, this path is about working together and creating more opportunities for greater involvement so that the social and economic benefits from Canada’s resources are shared more fully. It reflects our commitment to change the way we think and act as an organization, and outlines four areas where we can work together to advance greater involvement:

  1. Strengthening relationships between Aboriginal Peoples and all Canadians, starting within Suncor. This is about providing the opportunities for Suncor employees to increase their awareness of the history and experiences of Aboriginal Peoples.
  2. Partnering with Aboriginal youth to develop their leadership potential through meaningful connections within and outside of Suncor.
  3. Significantly improving our Aboriginal workforce development at Suncor through focused efforts on hiring, retention and advancement of Aboriginal employees across our business.
  4. And, increasing revenues to Aboriginal businesses and communities through mutually beneficial marketing arrangements and procurements of materials and services. Find out more about how we’re partnering with Aboriginal businesses and communities.

Learning together

This isn’t work we can do on our own and it’s not something we do ‘to’ or ‘for’ Aboriginal Peoples. We’ll continue to learn from, and with, partners and communities so that we build trusting relationships. Truly collaborative partnerships require humility, honesty and a willingness to learn from one another so that there is a common understanding from which we can uncover where we have mutual interests.

Implementation

Suncor will progress the social goal, through the four performance areas, to 2025 and beyond.

This isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Rather, we’re working together with our businesses and each of the communities where we operate to build implementation plans that consider both community and business needs and capacity.

2016 was a planning year, an opportunity for Suncor business areas to develop their initial plans to progress the goal: from Upstream to Downstream, Legal to Finance, all business units and functions have developed plans. We’ve also spent time to build a developmental evaluation model, to define what we’re going to measure and how we’ll track the outcomes. Some of the social goal metrics are very clear and others less so, such as how will we know we are changing the way we think and act? It is also not just us evaluating our own performance, but taking the opportunity to look for input from our Aboriginal employees, leaders and community partners on how we’re doing and where we can do better. This is a different approach than we’ve taken previously to evaluating our work and we expect it will evolve as we learn more.

We have also worked to embed the goal into our governance and stewardship processes across Suncor, so it is a part of our yearly business and financial planning.

A lot of our engagement to date has focused in Wood Buffalo and areas where our operations are in close proximity to traditional lands. With this goal, we aim to extend our reach beyond these areas. First, we need to learn from communities and seek to understand.Then, by looking at all the opportunities across our business and inspiring our own employees to take everyday actions, we believe we can make a difference and strengthen our relationships with Aboriginal Peoples.

GHG goal: Reducing our GHG intensity

We share in the global challenge to tackle climate change head on by reducing emissions, while providing energy the world needs. That’s why in 2016, we announced a new greenhouse gas goal that aims to reduce the total emission intensity of the production of our oil and petroleum products by 30% by 2030.

This goal stretches us beyond our current competence and technology and ultimately aims to bend the curve on our absolute emissions, with the intent to be a low carbon intensity source of crude. We are taking a full life-cycle approach to ensure that our actions minimize carbon intensity throughout the oil sands value chain – extraction of bitumen to the production of fuel.

Our focus this past year has been to examine the data and processes from every part of our business and identify high-opportunity areas, one of which is oil sands intensity and establishing targets for all major facilities and business units.

We are focusing our GHG intensity reductions in these key areas:

Energy efficiency and continuous improvements of our base assets

We continue to drive energy efficiency at all of our facilities, and switching to lower carbon fuels, such as natural gas. Our ongoing work includes:

  • Sustainment of Suncor’s Energy Management System (EMS) at our refineries and oil sands facilities will continue to identify and execute cost-effective energy efficiency project opportunities, resulting in potential energy savings in the range of 3% to 5%, and energy use is the main source of our GHG emissions. EMS was a key enabler in Suncor’s 2015 energy efficiency goal and it will maintain a principle focus area for driving emissions reductions in our new goal.
  • Establishing our governance structure to progress Environmental Excellence by sharing knowledge and best practices across our organization.
  • Advancing a significant emissions reduction opportunity to replace the legacy petroleum coke-fired boilers from our Base Plant. We are currently evaluating the investment of replacing the coke-fired boilers with natural gas boilers which would result in significant emissions reductions estimated at one megatonne a year. Another option we are evaluating is the potential to install highly efficient natural gas cogeneration units in place of natural gas boilers.

Strategic technology implementation to reduce extraction and upgrading emissions

Our goal will require us to go beyond today’s capabilities and technologies so we are aggressively working on technologies and taking an innovative approach to set us on a transformational path. In particular, one of our four strategic technology development programs at Suncor involves improving the cost competitiveness and carbon competitiveness of in situ bitumen production.

  • To accomplish this, we have a basket of technologies that can be implemented in the near term to techniques that will take 10 years or more to develop.  In the short term, our focus is on a simpler steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) design that uses less metal, is more efficient and creates a smaller footprint. Through that we expect to see reduced emissions, water usage and costs.

    Learn more about our approach
  • Further out, we are examining how we can develop our resource base through the creation of the next generation of in situ recovery. To accomplish this, we’re pursuing a portfolio of technologies that use less or no steam, and a combination of solvents, surfactants, and radio frequency heating. In our view, a likely solution will be a hybrid of many of the innovative approaches and technologies we’re testing.

    Learn more about in situ technologies we’re progressing

If we are successful in scaling up and deploying some of these approaches and technologies in some of our next phases of in situ development, we see the potential to reducing emissions towards achieving our goal.

Greening the electricity grid through investments in low carbon power such as cogeneration and renewables

Our GHG goal is also driving us to seek and evaluate new business opportunities in the evolving future energy system.

  • Natural gas power generation technologies only convert 30-50% of the fuel energy into electricity and the rest of the energy is lost as heat. Alberta’s oil sands industry, through the use of cogeneration, has the potential to achieve efficiencies as high as 80% as a result of the otherwise wasted heat which is captured and repurposed.
  • All of Suncor’s oil sands facilities use cogeneration, rather than drawing power from Alberta’s electricity grid. The excess power from our cogeneration facility combined with our wind energy, have already reduced the overall grid intensity of Alberta’s electricity grid.
  • However, if we consider the incremental investment of installing highly efficient natural gas cogeneration units in place of natural gas boilers for future oil sands developments, our facilities could result in substantial surplus power that could be exported to the local power grid. This would not only lower the average provincial grid intensity, but it would also provide the needed base load for the increasing amounts of intermittent renewable energy.
  • Continuing to evaluate investment opportunities for renewables as the Government of Alberta provides details on the next phase of its Climate Leadership Plan for renewable projects.

Other focused efforts in 2016 in support of our GHG goal included:

  • Support for carbon pricing and advocate for strong policy development that ensures cost and carbon competitiveness through efforts such as ongoing participation in Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan, the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, and Canada’s Eco-Fiscal Commission.
  • Amplify our climate actions through technology collaboration efforts such as Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance  and focused technology investments such as Evok Innovations.
  • Embed climate risk and performance into our strategy and decision-making as evident in our Climate Report: Resilience Through Strategy.