Sustainability at Suncor

Indigenous relations

Partnering with Indigenous communities is foundational to successful energy development.

We engage to build and maintain relationships with Indigenous communities where we operate by listening to concerns about our operations and the effects of proposed development. This includes working together to mitigate potential social and environmental impacts and ensuring local communities share in the benefits of energy development.

Our approach

Guided by our purpose and policies we work to maintain mutually beneficial relationships. We are committed to authentic, meaningful relationships with stakeholders and Indigenous Peoples and communities in Canada.

Beyond commitments outlined in the policies, we also have agreements with Indigenous communities near our operations. These agreements address how we work together on a range of matters from project consultation to realizing the benefits of commercial and business opportunities, as well as supporting skills/employment and training programs.

Our Board of Directors has included Indigenous representation since 2000.

Mel Benson, a member of our Board of Directors, at FORGE.
Mel Benson, a member of our Board of Directors, at FORGE, a two-day forum bringing together Suncor leaders, our suppliers and industry partners.

Relationships

We are committed to learn about our shared history and mutually seek collaboration and partnerships with Indigenous Peoples. To get us there, we’ve learned that we must build an inclusive workplace and develop the skills to appropriately engage. Increasing the awareness of our staff to Indigenous cultures, history and rights and having Indigenous views reflected in the composition of Suncor staff and policies are vital. This includes seeking to apply Indigenous knowledge in planning, operations, reclamation and monitoring activity. Journeys is one of Suncor’s employee networks that supports Indigenous inclusion at Suncor.

We understand that we need to get to know communities first by listening and seeking to develop relationships – relationships based on the principles of respect and reciprocity. To create mutually beneficial partnerships and outcomes, we look to external influencers and Indigenous thought leaders to regularly calibrate where we are and where we need to go. We’re learning from traditional Indigenous ways and are evolving our business practices to incorporate and honour this.

Results

In 2016, we released our first social goal: building greater mutual trust and respect with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Since then we’ve been focused on implementing this goal meaningfully, which is aspirational, bold and designed to challenge and stretch our organization, culture and behaviour.

The Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification process is a chance for us to reflect on our strengths and look for areas of improvement. We are continuing to evolve our partnerships with Indigenous communities and we are learning about new ways of knowing and being.
Sheila Innes
general manager, Indigenous and Community Relations

We believe that partnering and learning with Indigenous Peoples is a way of improving environmental, economic and social outcomes. One way we measure the effectiveness of our efforts is through the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program. PAR is Canada’s only certification program focused on best practices in Aboriginal relations. In 2017, Suncor became certified at a gold level; our renewal application was submitted for review in April 2020.

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Read more in the Report on Sustainability

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