Sustainable Development Strategies and Action Plans
As our business units address unique challenges and opportunities, our sustainable development action plans contain multi-year commitments and forward-looking qualitative and quantitative goals to manage key priority issues, and our policies and positions provide consistent governance on a range of issues. This complete management system tracks progress across our operations, guiding process improvements. Since we began using this approach in 2008, we have delivered GHG reductions of almost 7 million tonnes, developed water sourcing alternatives and reuse for hydraulic fracturing, expanded community and global stakeholder mapping and engagement, worked closely in key assets on respecting human rights and took actions to protect biodiversity both near our assets and through our charitable signature programs. Our system for managing performance is formalized in a mandatory, companywide process that includes requirements for risk assessments, action plans, performance reporting and review. Frequency and depth of work are asset- and risk-tailored to be fit-for-purpose and drive the right level of action.
Our action plans are built around five key performance components to provide a complete and comprehensive approach.
We start by mapping and measuring our social and environmental footprint. This includes improving the quality of our environmental metrics and building social performance indicators. Managing our day-to-day operations and projects involves assessing and improving operating conditions and prioritizing and implementing technologies. One example from 2016 is the reduction of fugitive emissions. To manage our risks and opportunities, we prepare for emerging issues and assess potential challenges. This includes periodic risk assessments for assets and at key decision milestones for projects. External engagement is critical to our success and includes listening, sharing best practices and collaborating with a diverse group of stakeholders. This happens within organizations such as Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change or in meetings and town halls with stakeholders in communities close to our operations. Finally, programs such as internal knowledge sharing and human rights training build our capacity as a company to meet current and future challenges. Over time, our intention is to build a culture of sustainability as strong as our safety culture is today.
The companywide plan provides both a “bottoms up” compilation of key actions from business specific action plans and a “top down” view of overall performance on key topics, including water, biodiversity, stakeholder engagement and climate change. Managing our environmental and social performance is integrated into business decisions to provide a holistic understanding of the alternatives. Our action plans outline specific tactics and goals to be completed within a three- to five-year span. Examples of voluntary and regulatory compliance actions, both completed and in-progress, are highlighted throughout our annual report.