Suncor releases tenth anniversary review of climate change action plan achievements
Suncor Energy marked the tenth anniversary of its climate change action plan with the September 7 release of its 2007 Progress Report on Climate Change. In addition to documenting Suncor's progress in managing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as guided by the seven-point action plan, report examines efforts under way to develop new technologies to improve environmental performance. It includes a special section in which company president and CEO Rick George answers the top ten questions the company is asked regarding climate change.
While the action plan has been in place since 1997, Suncor has been reporting its GHG emissions and related activities since 1995. By the end of 2006, its company-wide GHG emissions intensity (emissions per barrel of oil) declined by 26% from the 1990 baseline year, while emissions intensity at Suncor's oil sands operation was reduced by 51% since 1990.
During this period, Suncor recorded a 131% increase in GHG emissions, while total gross production rose by 213%. The company's GHG management efforts prevented a total of 53.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from entering the atmosphere between 1990 and the end of 2006. Its GHG emissions accounted for 1.3% of Canada's total emissions (as of 2005), 4.4% of Alberta's total emissions (as of 2004) and 6.7% of GHG emissions from the Canadian petroleum industry as a whole (as of 2004).
The company also invested approximately $250 million in renewable energy initiatives and was a founding member of the Integrated CO(2) Network (ICO(2)N), a proposed large-scale application of carbon capture and storage technology in Alberta. These, along with new mining technology and possible use of geothermal energy, are among the technological innovations being investigated for their potential to further reduce GHG emissions.
The continuing increase in absolute GHG emissions resulting from ever-rising production levels continues to pose a challenge for Suncor, even though its emissions intensity has declined. The company is among a number of organizations taking advantage of a new analytical tool to demonstrate how scientific, technical and industrial knowledge can be used together to reduce GHG emissions.
This "wedge model," says the report, helps find opportunities for using new and emerging technologies to reduce emissions. The company is in the process of adapting this model to its own operations to determine how renewable energy, carbon capture and other technologies can contribute to its GHG reduction even as production continues to grow.
"Climate change is a challenge requiring determined and collective action," says president and CEO Rick George. "But with a positive vision of what's achievable, I'm confident we can make continued progress."
The full 2007 report may be viewed on-line at www.suncor.com/climatechange.
Coinciding with the release of its report was Suncor's naming to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI) for the ninth consecutive year. The company has been included on the DJSI every year since its inception in 1999, noted Gord Lambert, Suncor's vice president of sustainable development. Suncor is one of only ten Canadian companies named to the 2007 World Index and one of 20 oil and gas companies worldwide.
The DJSI track the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide based on a review of economic, social and environmental criteria. More information is available on the DJSI Web site, www.sustainability-indexes.com.
In July as well, Suncor became the first Canadian energy company to join Ceres, a Boston-based coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change. In approving Suncor as a Ceres company, the Ceres board of directors cited the company's strong focus and attention on sustainability issues for the past ten years.
"From investments in renewable energy to the company's long history of sustainability reporting, Suncor has shown a strong commitment to environmental and social issues," said Ceres president Mindy Lubber. "As a major oil sands company, Suncor presents unique and daunting challenges. We look forward to seeing Suncor's continued progress on energy-efficiency, carbon-capture technology and investments in renewable energy."
Inclusion of a company in the Ceres network of companies reflects a determination by Ceres that the senior executives and board of directors of the designated company have demonstrated a genuine continuing commitment to apply and support Ceres-approved corporate environmental and social objectives/principles and to acknowledge and promote its publicly available sustainability/corporate responsibility missions and values.
Suncor is among more than 70 companies in the Ceres network, including 20 Fortune 500 companies. More information is available on the Ceres Web site, www.ceres.org.