Report on Sustainability 2019

Our perspective and engagement

Our perspective on climate change

Energy remains the backbone of a modern economy and contributes to much of our well-being. It is required to feed us, build and heat our homes, power manufacturing and facilitate transportation. At the same time, the science is clear that the world needs urgent action to reduce our carbon emissions and avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Our energy future will be shaped by a growing population, along with to the continued need to move people out of poverty, improve health and education, grow food production, and meet transportation trends all within an increasingly digital world. All of these benefits require energy. The challenge is how to best deliver that energy affordably while reducing carbon emissions.

As a company, we will continue to do our part by taking steps to reduce our own GHG emissions intensity and by developing and investing in emissions-reducing technology that can be applied to other industries. We also encourage dialogue that considers our collective role as consumers of energy, given that 80% of overall carbon emissions occur at the point of consumption. Our future energy system will require commitments from both industrial emitters and individuals.

Suncor supports the approach outlined in the Paris Agreement, but no one group or industry alone can limit the global average increase to below 2°C, relative to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this objective, there must be significant advances in technology, a shift in consumer choice and behaviour, and the development of new energy systems.

All types of energy will be needed and no single solution will meet the challenge. The pathways to a diversified and robust energy system will require getting the best out of both traditional and new sources of energy.

Leadership in climate policy

Suncor operates in multiple jurisdictions across Canada and internationally, which requires that we work with governments and political parties, Indigenous Peoples, think tanks, universities, and environmental advocacy groups to support the development of smart policies that promote cost and carbon competitiveness. Our support for climate leadership is not tied to any particular government. We seek to contribute to the development of effective government policy in support of moving towards a low-carbon economy.

Good policy instills confidence in the industry, enables continued prosperity, and incents investment in technology and innovation that can lower emissions globally. We continue to advocate for environmental policies and regulations that help us address climate change, including supporting a broad-based price on carbon. If applied broadly across the economy to producers and consumers, it can be one of a suite of effective market and regulatory mechanisms to lower GHG emissions while promoting low-carbon innovation.

We demonstrate our commitment to support effective, practical and cost-efficient policy design by contributing to:

  • The development of national low-carbon policies such as the:
    • Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change
    • Clean Fuels Standard in Canada
    • Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA) which encompasses the development of the consumer fuel tax and the industrial output based pricing system
  • The development of provincial low-carbon policies such as:
    • Alberta’s industrial emissions reduction policy, 100 Mt oil sands emissions limit
    • Quebec’s cap-and-trade program and Energy Transition Action Plan
    • Ontario’s Emission Performance System
    • British Columbia’s CleanBC Climate Action Plan and Low Carbon Fuel Standards
  • Supporting Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission in broadening the discussion of carbon pricing into the realm of practical policy application. The commission brings together economists to inform the critical discussion about the ecofiscal reform that Canada’s future requires.
  • Supporting the World Bank Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC), a voluntary initiative that aspires to catalyze action toward the successful implementation of global carbon pricing.
  • Participating in global energy discussions at the World Economic Forum and the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP).

Stakeholder engagement

Advancing the energy dialogue

Transitioning an energy system is as much a social and cultural shift as it is a technological and economic shift. Through the Suncor Energy Foundation, Suncor supports organizations to engage Canadians in meaningful discussions on the energy system and the linkages between the environment and the economy. We’re also working with our foundation partners to promote an understanding of the changing energy realities of the 21st century and raise awareness among Canadians of the role their choices and lifestyles play in reducing emissions.

For years, we have created spaces for collective dialogue where multiple perspectives, experiences and the best minds may inform Suncor’s approach to sustainable energy development. And while we might not always agree on everything, the conversations help us understand what we have in common – a desire for energy to improve quality of life, a healthy environment and vibrant communities. We do it because we all have a role to play in creating our energy future, we recognize the value of relationships and diverse perspectives, and believe it’s important to listen, understand and learn from other points of view.

Examples of these collaborations include:

  • partnering with the Energy Futures Lab, a multi-sector collaboration designed to help shape the energy future and strengthen Alberta and Canada’s position as a global energy leader
  • working with a number of organizations to support reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples through leadership development and building community capacity including a focus on environmental priorities
  • bringing together social innovators, funding partners, Indigenous leaders and youth, thought leaders, governments and community representatives to explore complex community needs that require collaboration to make progress and see lasting change

We seek to engage with partners in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Our partners are free to publicly criticize our company or industry as they see fit except on specific initiatives in which we’ve agreed to co-operate. We, in turn, are free to counter statements and research by partners if we know it to be contrary to established facts. Simply put, both sides can agree to disagree, while continuing to work together for the greater good.

And while we might not always agree on everything, we do have a common goal – produce energy to improve quality of life and do so in a sustainable way.

Over the past year, we have engaged with stakeholders directly, through consultations, meetings, workshops, and conferences. We will continue these activities as we develop improved climate disclosure and risk management approaches. Highlights from 2018 and early 2019 include:

  • Hosted a Ceres1-facilitated stakeholder panel to review our sustainability progress. The stakeholders were asked to provide us with critical feedback on our approach and progress toward our sustainability goals, including our GHG goal. We also asked them for ideas to improve Suncor’s disclosure in line with the TCFD recommendations.
    • The feedback recognized that, while we’ve made progress, we still have work to do to clearly define and disclose our approach to meeting our GHG goal. To that end, we have included more information in this report on our GHG goal methodology and pathways to reducing our emissions intensity by 30% by 2030.
  • Met with investor network, Climate Action 100+, to discuss Suncor’s governance approach and board oversight, commitment to the Paris Agreement, as well as disclosure in line with the TCFD.
  • Hosted an Energy Transition Day of Learning workshop in partnership with Aviso Capital/NEI Investments, the Royal Bank of Canada, and Teck Resources. The workshop, attended by investors and industry leaders, shared the latest information on the energy transition and was designed to reduce polarization and promote dialogue on a lower-carbon economy in Canada.
  • Participated in a number of events to advance climate policy and sustainable energy development such as the Energy Disruptors conference, Clean Energy Ministerial Meeting, and sustainable finance expert panel roundtables.

Over the next year, we expect to host another Ceres-facilitated stakeholder workshop and increase engagement with investors, including the Climate Action 100+ initiative. We look forward to these opportunities to build mutual understanding on the best approaches for Suncor to meet its business objectives and address stakeholder expectations.

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

Since mid-2017, the TCFD has worked to improve standards for carbon disclosure. Suncor supports these activities as a way to improve communication and promote learning with our investors on carbon reduction initiatives and performance. We believe the global context is required to provide a complete picture of operational performance, strategic planning and risk management.

We support the desire for consistency and transparency embodied in the TCFD recommendations and see them as a way to build on our two decades of sustainability reporting and environment, social, and governance (ESG) investor engagement. The recommendations provide a useful framework to describe how businesses are managing climate risk and ensuring corporate strategies remain resilient in a low-carbon future.

There are still many details to work out, particularly around the appropriate disclosure channels to ensure we can provide a transparent and fulsome discussion on our climate strategy over the long term while recognizing the challenges of providing forward-looking information within regulatory financial disclosure requirements. We look forward to working with the task force on this journey to shape and evolve climate risk disclosure so it meets the needs of both companies and investors and leads to better understanding of what’s required to transition to a low carbon future.

We have provided a table showing the sections of this report that are aligned, fully or in part, with the TCFD recommendations. Improvements made in this report include additional information on our GHG goal methodology and our engagement with our supply chain. We have also begun developing a 2°C scenario looking beyond 2040 that we will use to test our business strategy.

Governance

Disclose the organization’s governance around climate-related risks and opportunities.

TCFD recommendation

  • Describe the board’s oversight of climate-related risks and opportunities.
  • Describe management’s role in assessing and managing climate-related risks and opportunities.

Strategy

Disclose the actual and potential impacts of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organization’s businesses, strategy, and financial planning where such information is material.

TCFD recommendation

  • Describe the climate-related risks and opportunities the organization has identified over the short, medium, and long term.
  • Describe the impact of climate-related risks and opportunities on the organization’s businesses, strategy, and financial planning.
  • Describe the resilience of the organization’s strategy, taking into consideration different climate-related scenarios, including a 2°C or lower scenario.

Risk management

Disclose how the organization identifies, assesses, and manages climate-related risks.

TCFD recommendation

  • Describe the organization’s processes for identifying and assessing climate-related risks.
  • Describe the organization’s processes for managing climate-related risks.
  • Describe how processes for identifying, assessing, and managing climate-related risks are integrated into the organization’s overall risk management.

Metrics and targets

Disclose the metrics and targets used to assess and manage relevant climate-related risks and opportunities where such information is material.

TCFD recommendation

  • Disclose the metrics used by the organization to assess climate-related risks and opportunities in line with its strategy and risk management process.
  • Disclose Scope 1, Scope 2, and, if appropriate, Scope 3 GHG emissions, and the related risks.
  • Describe the targets used by the organization to manage climate-related risks and opportunities and performance against targets.

1 Ceres is non-profit organization that works with investors and companies to build sustainability leadership and drive solutions for a health global economy.

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Recommended readings
GHG performance
GHG goal
Low-carbon innovation
Policy engagement