Report on Sustainability 2019


We all have a role to play in creating our energy future.

Moving forward requires deep conversations – with stakeholders, governments, community members and industry partners, among others. 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.

Community partnerships

Through the Suncor Energy Foundation we work deeply with partners and communities to provide investments that create value for society, and for our business, by addressing community issues of mutual interest in a way that seeks solutions and benefits everyone. Our vision is to create a better world with the communities in which Suncor operates, and with those who are courageously seeking solutions and making a positive difference in society.

Examples of these collaborations include:

  • 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 through leadership development, building community development capacity and taking a systems approach
  • Ringing social innovators, funding partners, thought leaders, government and community representatives, and Indigenous youth together for events like The Gathering, which provide a forum to explore complex community needs that require collaboration to make progress and see lasting change

Environmental non-government organizations (ENGO) partnerships

We engage with a wide variety of groups and individuals to seek input. Some of the relationships we form are with those who are openly critical of oil sands development. We have these conversations because we think it’s important to listen and understand other perspectives and share knowledge and insights. We find value in thinking about things differently and this often leads to new ideas, joint problem-solving or different ways of working with our stakeholders.

Environment of mutual respect

We seek to engage with ENGOs in an atmosphere of mutual respect, although this does not mean either side is co-opted by the other. Our ENGO 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 ENGO 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.

We have entered into several successful partnerships with ENGOs in recent years. These organizations include:


Ceres mobilizes a network of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy. Suncor has been a Ceres member company since 2007. We have worked closely with a diverse stakeholder group assembled by Ceres to discuss our overall sustainability strategy, including reporting, risk analysis and issues management. This Ceres stakeholder panel encouraged us to develop our first set of environmental performance goals.

  • In 2015, Ceres reviewed our draft sustainability goals and provided feedback.
  • In 2017, Ceres reviewed and provided feedback for Suncor’s 2017 Climate Report: Resilience Through Strategy.
  • In 2018, Suncor hosted a Ceres-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 Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations.

Boreal Leadership Council (BLC)

Boreal Leadership Council (BLC) is composed of leading conservation groups, First Nations, resource companies and financial institutions, all of which have a stake in the future of Canada’s boreal forest. As a member of the BLC, we are a signatory to the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework. We are committed to implementing this national vision through our own sphere of activity and have submitted an action plan to council members outlining our priorities and focus areas.

Suncor sponsored a BLC project to look at how Indigenous Peoples are working to protect the woodland caribou. The review looked at tools, data, practices and governance structures used by Indigenous Peoples, including:

  • Indigenous knowledge
  • habitat identification
  • populations monitoring
  • other aspects of caribou conservation

Suncor also participated in a working group looking at understanding and implementing free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in Canada. We continue to work closely with the BLC on this important issue.

Environmental multi-stakeholder working groups

We believe working with stakeholders to understand their environmental concerns is the best way to develop programs to monitor the environment and to develop a better understanding of environmental limits. We are a member of:

Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA)

The Wood Buffalo Environmental Association is a collaboration of communities, environmental groups, industry, governments and Indigenous representatives that has developed and implemented an integrated and intensive program on air and terrestrial monitoring in the region. Through the Environmental Science and Monitoring Division of Alberta Environment and Parks, the WBEA monitors air quality in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and shares the information collected with stakeholders and the public.

Alberta Association of Conservation Offsets (AACO)

Suncor is a member of the Alberta Association of Conservation Offsets which is a non-governmental collaboration among a number of diverse entities and interests sharing an interest or expertise in the field of conservation and biodiversity. This group is working on a provincial offsetting policy.

Athabasca Watershed Council (AWC)

The Athabasca Watershed Council is a multi-stakeholder, not-for-profit watershed planning and advisory council (WPAC) that was formed in August 2009. To provide timely credible information about the Athabasca Watershed, the council works with:

  • academia
  • industry
  • environmental and stewardship groups
  • various levels of government
  • communities and citizens

The AWC-WPAC actively promotes, fosters respect, and plans for an ecologically healthy watershed by building relationships, sharing information, and informing planning and policy decisions that affect the Athabasca River watershed.

Industry collaborations

We also participate in industry organizations that work to improve the industry’s environmental, social and economic performance. These organizations include:

Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA)

COSIA is an alliance of oil sands producers focused on accelerating the pace of improvement in environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands through collaborative action and innovation. Through COSIA, participating companies capture, develop and share innovative approaches and best thinking to improve environmental performance in the oil sands. COSIA represents 90% of oil sands production in Canada, focusing on five environmental priority areas:

  • tailings
  • water
  • land
  • greenhouse gases
  • monitoring

COSIA is accelerating innovation and environmental performance through a continued focus on collaboration and transparent exchange.

Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN)

The Clean Resource Innovation Network is a group of forward-thinking oil and gas industry professionals, innovators, financiers, policy-makers, incubators and accelerators, academics and students committed to the success of the hydrocarbon energy sector, the people and communities it touches, and a strong, carbon-competitive and diversified Canadian economy.

Oil Sands Community Alliance (OSCA)

Building on the work of the predecessor Oil Sands Developers Group, the Oil Sands Community Alliance aims to help communities in the oil sands region thrive economically and socially. OSCA’s collaborative approach facilitates engagement, builds relationships and creates measurable socio-economic benefits in the focus areas of Indigenous communities, community well-being, infrastructure and workforce planning.

Industry associations

We are a member of several industry associations. There is strength in having forums for creating alignment and discussing issues. For a list of certain industry associations, please refer to Lobbying and Disclosure.

Advocacy coalitions

We value and advocate reaching out to diverse stakeholders to generate constructive dialogue about energy development. Since 2013, we have continued to work with Resource Works, a multi-stakeholder coalition to encourage broad dialogue on energy and resource development in Canada. Through this partnership, we hope to encourage Canadians from coast-to-coast to learn more about the value that our national resource sector brings to their daily lives and the Canadian economy.

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Recommended readings
GHG performance
Community investment
Partnering with Indigenous businesses