Suncor is one of a number of energy companies involved in harvesting oil from Alberta’s oil sands – a controversial process that has become the focus of campaigns by a number of environmental pressure groups.

It is possibly the most sensitive area for the company’s reputation from a sustainability point of view.

Rick George, Suncor’s president and chief executive officer, said: “This report highlights not only our continued investment in innovation and growth as we responsibly develop Canada’s oil sands, but also addresses some of the challenges we face.

“As a company, we will continue to lead by example, be candid about our sustainability challenges and be forthright about potential solutions.”

The company’s 2010 Report on Sustainability examines the company’s environmental, social and economic performance in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative G3 Guidelines – an internationally recognized standard in sustainability reporting.

And independent third party verified a number of performance indicators. Suncor also used Ceres, a network of investors, environmental groups and other public interest groups, to develop the report.

It sets a number of targets for 2015 including:

·improving energy efficiency

·cutting air pollution emissions by 10% over the next five years

·doubling the reclamation of disturbed land area

·reducing fresh water consumption by 12%.

The report reveals how water management has improved showing that in 2009, Suncor’s mining operations achieved an 11% cut in fresh water abstraction compared to 2008.

This amounts to a total reduction of 27.5% since 2004.

Improvements in how the company manages tailings (waste) at oil sands mining operations, are also highlighted in the report.

Finally, it shows some progress on tackling climate change.

It says: “Our climate change action plan has contributed to a 53% decrease in mine-able oil sands greenhouse gas emission intensity from 1990 levels.”

For the full reportclick here.

David Gibbs

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie