The trust and support of stakeholders are foundational to successful energy development. Learn more:

The trust and support of stakeholders are foundational to successful energy development. Learn more:

The trust and support of stakeholders are foundational to successful energy development. Learn more:

The trust and support of stakeholders are foundational to successful energy development. Learn more:

View the latest Report on Sustainability

Suncor works hard to build and maintain relationships with local communities and stakeholders as they are foundational to successful energy development.

Social responsibility

The trust and support of stakeholders are foundational to successful energy development. We work hard to build and maintain relationships with local communities and stakeholders, to meaningfully consider their issues and concerns about the effect of proposed development and operations on the land and resources – including working together to mitigate potential environmental and social impacts, and ensuring that local communities benefit from development.

Suncor's corporate social responsibility infographic
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Our strategy

We believe that those affected by Suncor’s business have a right to be informed about our activities, participate in a transparent engagement process and be involved in the issues and opportunities affecting them. We actively seek stakeholders’ input and feedback on our activities and decisions, and encourage stakeholders to define how they wish to be consulted.

Often, it’s simply an informal discussion, at other times it’s through more formal engagement or consultation processes. For example, we regularly participate in community advisory meetings with several Aboriginal communities and in multi-stakeholder forums with groups including Ceres and the Boreal Leadership Council.

We also engage on issues of national interest with stakeholders, through multiple forums. Our president and CEO Steve Williams is a member of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission which aims to shape policy to encourage economic activities that support mutual benefits such as job creation, investment and innovation. We also provided feedback through Alberta’s Climate Change Advisory Panel in support of the Climate Leadership Plan.

Read more about Suncor’s engagement on public policy issues

As part of Suncor’s operational excellence management system, the Stakeholder Relations Framework ensures that we have a consistent approach to relationships with stakeholders and Aboriginal communities, whether it is local engagement or involvement in national forums. The framework outlines Suncor’s responsibilities and commitments, and provides a mechanism to consider stakeholders needs, interests and concerns, and incorporate this into our business decisions on a day-to-day basis. It is implemented via standards and guidelines, and is supported by procedures, practices and tools.


Our stakeholders are the individuals and groups who could be affected by our operations or who could, through their actions, affect our business. Examples include:

  • landowners and community residents
  • Aboriginal communities
  • trappers
  • governments and regulators
  • non-government organizations and environmental groups
  • community investment partners
  • business groups
  • customers and suppliers
  • employees

Our Human Rights, Stakeholder Relations and Canadian Aboriginal Relations policies outline our commitments and key beliefs with respect to stakeholders and communities where we operate. Related policies include:

Suncor's Stakeholder Relations and Canadian Aboriginal Relations policies are reviewed every three years. We are continuing on work that began in 2015 to ensure that the policies reflect changing societal expectations and external context, like the government’s commitment to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).


All Suncor employees and contractors engaged in activities under our operational control are responsible for applying these policies. Managers are also responsible for promoting our beliefs and principles underlying these policies in joint ventures not operated by Suncor.

Suncor’s president and chief executive officer is accountable to the Board of Directors for ensuring that Suncor’s Stakeholder Relations and Canadian Aboriginal Relations policies are implemented.


Our Stakeholder Relations and Canadian Aboriginal Relations policies outline our commitment to developing and maintaining positive, meaningful relationships with our stakeholders and to working closely with Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples and communities to build and maintain effective, long-term and mutually beneficial relationships.

Community agreements

More broadly, we define a “commitment” as a formal pledge made by the organization to a regulator or other authority, including communities and stakeholders. Beyond those commitments outlined in the policies, we also have agreements with Aboriginal communities. These agreements address how we work together on matters like project consultation, and ways to realize the benefits from our industry such as commercial and business opportunities, and skills/ employment and training opportunities.

Learn more about recent community agreements

Goals, targets and actions

Relationships are best maintained through regular effort and engagement. This means being involved and part of the community, so that we can listen and actively engage with local stakeholders and Aboriginal communities. Some examples of how we do this include:

Culturally significant wetland plants study

Through ongoing engagement and consultation with Aboriginal communities in the Wood Buffalo region, we heard that Suncor’s site reclamation and closure plans should better result in an environment that can support traditional activities such as hunting, fishing, gathering and trapping.

To respond to this feedback, Suncor’s Reclamation and Stakeholder and Aboriginal Relations teams jointly developed an engagement approach that sought input from the five First Nations and one Métis Local in the region to better understand what wetland plant species are important to these communities. Suncor invited five Elders from each of the participating communities to jointly develop the wetland plant species project. In 2016, at the request of one of the local Métis groups, Elders from that community also joined the team.

This study is a collaborative approach from start to finish between Suncor and local Aboriginal communities to build a list of wetland plant species that reflects and respects the traditional knowledge of communities and enhances Suncor’s reclamation activities. After the three-year workplan is accomplished, Suncor will work to incorporate the inclusion of the plant species into our reclamation and closure activities.

Engagement with our neighbours in Sarnia

The Aamjiwnaang First Nation is the closest neighbour to our Sarnia refinery and our relationship with the community is an important priority for us. We recognize our activities have an impact on Aamjiwnaang First Nation and we’ve worked to minimize these impacts, while demonstrating our commitment to being a safe and environmentally responsible operator.

Over the past few years, we’ve worked to address issues of concern, while further strengthening our relationship with this Nation. We are doing this by focusing on operational improvements, better communication and meaningful engagement. We have made progress in our communications, incident notification and alerts. We also participate in regular meetings with the Aamjiwnaang Environment Committee as well as host meetings that give community members an opportunity to learn about the work at the Sarnia refinery, ask questions and talk to us about what is on their mind.

Through respectful, two-way dialogue, we’re growing our relationship. While we’ll continue to look for ways to improve, constructive conversations are helping us to better understand the priorities and concerns identified by the Aamjiwnaang Fist Nation – and how we can work together to address them.

Supporting processes

Beyond direct consultation and engagement activities, several internal processes ensure that we are aware of and understand stakeholders’ interest and concerns, and are considering those views in operations and business planning.

  • Our Strategic Issues Management Process (SIMP) works to proactively identify, monitor and manage key environmental, economic and social issues considered most critical to Suncor, stakeholders, First Nations and Aboriginal communities.
  • Through Asset Development and Execution Model (ADEM), consideration for stakeholders, First Nations and Aboriginal communities’ concerns, and potential impacts are integrated into early project planning stages, before engagement occurs and/or final business decisions are made.
  • Our annual materiality review identifies key issues of concern for stakeholders, First Nations and Aboriginal communities, and includes information learned from ongoing engagement and feedback from Suncor’s annual multi-stakeholder forum with Ceres.



As part of our Operational Excellence Management System, the Stakeholder Relations Framework includes:

  • Guidelines and processes to ensure that engagement planning and practice is annually reviewed and measured against performance metrics, and that those learnings are applied to future engagement.
  • A grievance mechanism that enables us to receive, investigate and respond to complaints from stakeholders that may arise from direct and/or indirect impacts associated with Suncor’s operations or activities in a timely and consistent manner.

Beyond our policies and management system, the ongoing effectiveness of our stakeholder relations activities are monitored through several processes, including the Aboriginal Relations Governance structure and the Strategic Issues Management Process.


The way the world views energy development has fundamentally changed. Stakeholder expectations are increasing, the legal and regulatory context continues to evolve and become more complex. We believe our social performance has become as important as our environmental performance. Last year, we built on the learnings from the strategic environmental performance goals established in 2009 and released our first social goal. This year, we’re focused on implementation of that goal. The new goal is aspirational, bold and designed to challenge and stretch our organization.

What we are doing differently

Social Goal: We’ve learned that setting goals can incent us to look at how we do business and work with others. In 2017, we continue to implement the social goal. It will not be the work of a small group at Suncor; it will be the work of all of us. You can learn more about how we’re working across the entire business, and giving every employee the opportunity to take part, in our Goals and Progress page.

Expanding Partnerships: In 2016, Suncor announced that it had entered into participation agreements with Fort McKay First Nation (FMFN) and Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) for ownership in the East Tank Farm, a strategic infrastructure asset in the Wood Buffalo region. The combined equity interest by FMFN and MCFN in Suncor’s East Tank Farm Development will be 49% upon completion. This will be the largest investment by First Nations in this industry to date.

Integrated Governance: To meet increasing stakeholder expectations, we recognize the need to embed our approach to stakeholder and Aboriginal relations across the organization. One of the ways we’re doing this is through the Aboriginal Relations Governance structure. The governance includes a VP forum, network and multidisciplinary teams that work across the organization to ensure that Suncor’s activities are strategic, coordinated and advancing strong, mutually beneficial relationships. We’re also leveraging other internal processes such as the Strategic Issues Management Process and the Asset Development and Execution Model to ensure we’re considering the social context of our activities as early as possible.

Beyond Wood Buffalo:Suncor has been operating in the Wood Buffalo region of Alberta since 1967. We’ve been part of the community and building relationships for a long time. While we’ll continue to do so, we know that we need to broaden our focus to our other operating areas. As we implement our social goal, we’ll look to increase opportunities with communities and our key partners though the Suncor Energy Foundation.