Sustainability at Suncor

Risk management

Risk management is fundamental to achieving our business goals and requires a culture of operational discipline.

We make risk-informed decisions that reflect our culture of embedding sustainability considerations and are governed by our guiding principles for risk management. This requires ongoing identification, assessment, treatment and monitoring of risks inherent to our assets, activities and operations. Some risks are common to operations, while some are unique to Suncor.

Two workers at the permit office at Extraction Plant 86

Our risk management program is aligned with the International Organization for Standardization guidelines (the ISO 31000 Risk management – Guidelines). The guidelines provide principles, a framework and a process for managing risk.

Our risk management practice is governed by our risk management policy, and supported through processes and tools. This policy and supporting tools drives a culture of being:

  • Proactive
  • Transparent
  • Consistent

Identifying principal risks

Principal risks are risks that have the potential to materially impact our strategic objectives. New risks can emerge and established risks can take on new forms or orders of magnitude. These risks are outlined in our Management’s Discussion and Analysis.

All levels of our organization are engaged and play a role in our enterprise risk management (ERM) program – from Suncor’s Board of Directors and Audit committee to individual business units and functions. This coordinated approach fosters a culture of risk governance throughout the enterprise.

Principle risks

Our 2019 Annual Information Form (dated Feb. 26, 2020) (100 pp., 1.2 MB) provides a comprehensive overview of significant risks applicable to Suncor and its businesses. Since 2016, carbon risk has been included in these principal risks and subsequently undergoes an annual board review. The environment, health, safety and sustainable development committee of the board also oversees this risk.

Risk assessment and evaluation

Risks are assessed and evaluated in terms of magnitude of impact and likelihood using an internal risk matrix tool. A single risk matrix tool allows employees to consistently assess risks and evaluate the consequence and likelihood of risk events. The consequence is based on the following five receptors on the risk matrix:

  • Health and safety
  • Environmental
  • Regulatory
  • Reputation
  • Financial impact

Operational Excellence Management System

Operational excellence is a disciplined framework to conduct our business using consistent practices and requirements. This enables Suncor to operate in a way that is safe, reliable, cost-efficient and aligned with our purpose to continually improve our performance. It further promotes:

  • systematic management of operation risk
  • achievement of our operational objectives
  • prevention and mitigation of environmental and social impacts
  • development and sharing of best practices

The management review cycle, with leadership engagement and support, ensures continual improvement and identification of material opportunities to progress. Our ISO 14001 and 9001 certified facilities are also subject to regular external audits.

Sustainability considerations in project development

When initiating new projects, our governance framework ensures we continually raise the bar by systematically embedding sustainability considerations into planning and decision-making. This process is consistent with our purpose and commitment to strong environmental performance, thoughtful collaboration and meaningful stakeholder relationships.

We have a long history of building and maintaining relationships, listening to community needs and concerns, and working together to mitigate potential impacts while seeking opportunities.

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Read more in the Report on Sustainability

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