Sustainability at Suncor

Biodiversity

Suncor is committed to preserving and promoting biodiversity in all areas where we work. Our commitment drives the conservation of high value areas and habitats and reclamation of the sites we disturb.

Our reclamation planning and execution efforts focus on improving the landscape biodiversity outcomes so we can return to the natural diversity of plants and animals at the end of an operating area’s life. Guided by the mitigation hierarchy, a tool which aims to help manage biodiversity risk, we seek to avoid, minimize, restore and/or offset impacts to biodiversity from our operations.

  • Our land use and management planning processes work to identify where disturbances can be avoided throughout our projects.
  • Disturbances are minimized to the extent possible while considering multiple factors, including safety, operation and the environment.
  • We work internally and with industry peers and multi-stakeholder organizations on initiatives to conserve and restore habitat for birds, mammals, fish and other species, including species at risk such as caribou.
Two caribou spotted on a Suncor site.
Two caribou spotted on a Suncor site through our photographic monitoring program.

We reduce the impact of our operations and promote accelerated reclamation through scientific research and best practices. In collaboration with our industry peers, stakeholders and regulatory agencies, we work with organizations such as the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, the Canada-Alberta Oil Sands Monitoring Program and Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance to:

  • mitigate and monitor the impacts of our operations
  • reduce the cumulative effects of industrial development
  • address regional biodiversity risk

Land conservation

Suncor has partnered with Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) Boreal Habitat Conservation Initiative (BCHI) since 2002. This award-winning initiative helps protect intact boreal forest and wetlands, ensuring the larger boreal forest ecosystem remains undisturbed and biodiversity is preserved. Working with ACA, Suncor has secured more than 4,000 hectares (ha) of ecologically sensitive land across 43 different conservation sites.

The BCHI proves win-win scenarios are possible: good for business, good for society and good for biodiversity. Helping to protect intact boreal forest and wetlands is an important example of our commitment to sustainability leadership.

Honouring a colleague through conservation

Family and friends of Peter MacConnachie stand by the MacConnachie Conservation Area sign the day of the dedication.
Family and friends of Peter MacConnachie stand by the MacConnachie Conservation Area sign the day of the dedication.

In May 2019, ACA dedicated a 125 hectare parcel of land in memory of a beloved Suncor colleague, Peter MacConnachie who passed away in 2017. A self-professed boreal forest fan, Peter combined his work in sustainability with a love of the outdoors. Through his participation in the Suncor Boreal Habitat Conservation Initiative, ecologically-sensitive areas of the boreal forest have been conserved in partnership with ACA and the Alberta Fish and Game Association.

The dedication marked an important milestone in the 15-year partnership the Suncor Energy Foundation and Suncor have had with the ACA.

“Dedicated in his memory, may the MacConnachie Conservation Area exist not just as a place on the map but also serve as a destination to enjoy Alberta’s boreal forest that Peter so appreciated and helped to conserve.”

Biodiversity monitoring

Canadian toad spotted at Suncor's Base Plant site
A Canadian toad spotted at Suncor's Base Plant site, heard in the audio recording below.
Audio recordings of birds and amphibians near our MacKay River site.

Suncor monitors biodiversity in and around our oil sands in situ and mining operations and reclaimed sites as per our regulatory commitments and in support of broader regional initiatives.

In 2019, cameras at reclaimed sites in northern Alberta recorded more than 6,100 sightings of 13 wildlife species. In the same reclaimed areas, acoustic recording units recorded seven species of bats and wildlife surveys identified more than 59 species of birds and 14 species of small mammals.

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Read more in the Report on Sustainability

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