Suncor Energy releases 2013 Report on Sustainability


GLOBE-Net, July 17, 2013 – Suncor Energy has released its 2013 Report on Sustainability, that highlights the company’s environmental, social and economic performance.

“Is it possible to have a prosperous economy and a vibrant society, while maintaining a healthy planet for our grandchildren? I believe the answer is yes,” said Steve Williams, president and chief executive officer. “To do this, we need to take collaboration to the next level and engage citizens in an informed discussion about the path forward. Our Report on Sustainability is intended to help kick-start that conversation.”

In addition to reporting on the company’s economic contribution and social impact, the Report on Sustainability specifically highlights Suncor’s progress towards its beyond-compliance environmental performance goals.

“Taking sustainability to the next level is about solutions-driven collaboration – with industry peers, governments, non-government organizations, communities and other stakeholders”, said Arlene Strom, vice president, Sustainability and Communications. “Together, we need to look at the cumulative impacts of how we produce and use energy and try to find common ground in shaping a more sustainable energy future.”

On environmental issues Suncor has made significant progress on several fronts, including:

  • Oil Sands Water Management Strategy. Suncor’s goal is to reduce freshwater consumption by 12 per cent by 2015 (from 2007 levels). In February 2013, Suncor began sending treated tailings water from its oil sands base plant to its Firebag in situ facility for reuse as makeup water. As part of the oil sands water management strategy, around 10,000 cubic metres per day of tailings water is now used as in situ makeup water instead of being stored in tailings ponds. An equivalent amount of water will be recycled at the mining site, reducing the amount of fresh water Suncor needs to withdraw from the Athabasca River. 
  • Land and Biodiversity. Suncor has a goal to increase reclamation* of disturbed land area by 100% by 2015 (from 2007 levels). By the end of 2012, Suncor had planted nearly six million trees on our oil sands site – including 900,000 trees in the previous 12 months alone. Reclaimed lands have not been certified as such by government regulators, notes the report.
  • Air Quality. Suncor’s environmental performance goal for air emissions seeks a 10 per cent reduction by 2015, compared to 2007 levels. Overall, total reported air emissions in 2012 decreased by 8.7 per cent compared to 2011 levels. This decrease was primarily due to a significant reduction in the Refining and Marketing business unit. Emissions were also reduced as a result of improved performance from our Oil Sands and Exploration and Production business units. 
  • Energy Intensity and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Suncor has a goal of improving energy efficiency by 10 per cent by 2015. Currently, the company is working to implement an Energy Management System (EMS) at all of its major facilities. The system will improve the measurement, control and governance of energy and is expected to result in a two to three per cent improvement in energy/GHG intensity through better operational control. 

 Aboriginal Engagement Strategy

In terms of its social responsibility agenda in 2012, Suncor and the Suncor Energy Foundation have contributed over $22 million in community investments. As part of its community investment program, Suncor works collaboratively with Aboriginal businesses and communities.

In 2012, Suncor implemented a new Aboriginal Economic Collaboration Strategy with a goal to increase partnerships with Aboriginal businesses across Canada. At the same time, the Suncor Energy Foundation made investments that support improved education and leadership opportunities for Aboriginal Peoples through a number of partnerships and contributed $1.7 million to support excellence in indigenous education.

Since 1992 Suncor has spent more than $2 billion on goods and services from Aboriginal businesses – $1 billion of that amount has been spent since 2009. 

“When I talk to our people about the work we do, it comes back to living up to Suncor’s mission, vision and values. We need to be all about strong community engagement, respect, and living up to our commitments. That’s the best way to secure and retain our social licence to operate,” commented Bonnie Veness, manager, Stakeholder and Aboriginal Relations


Economic Impact

On the economic front, Suncor reports expenditures of more than $11.2 billion on goods and services in 2012. Of the company’s 10,000-plus suppliers, 8,000 are Canadian and span all 10 provinces as well as the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. 

One area of significant progress relates to Suncor’s technology development activities. Suncor continues to invest in incremental and game-changing technology improvements that will reduce environmental impact while still allowing higher production and enhanced profitability. 

The Report on Sustainability highlights some of the key technologies the company expects expect will help reduce GHG emissions. For example, a pilot plant is testing a new technology with the potential to use 85 per cent less energy during in situ extraction.

Gord Lambert, Suncor’s executive advisor, Sustainability and Innovation noted “We’re an industry committed to continuous improvement in environmental performance. We do this through investment in technology and innovation and, increasingly, through collaboration with industry peers and others. While there’s still a lot of work to be done, we’ve made real progress, as a company and an industry, on many environmental challenges.”

The full report is available for download here

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