Our approach to corporate responsibility
How we do our work at Cenovus is as important as what we do. Our Corporate Responsibility Policy helps guide our approach to operating responsibly.
We put our corporate responsibility commitments into action by:
Our Leadership Team ensures that safety, health, environmental, social, ethical and financial considerations are integrated into our business decisions. Leading by example, they strive to ensure that performance expectations and behaviours across the company are consistent with our corporate responsibility commitments and are communicated to all staff.
Strengthening our governance and business practices
Strong governance is the foundation of our business and is fundamental to delivering long-term value. Our approach to governance is directed at setting the highest standards of integrity, meeting or exceeding applicable laws and regulations, and protecting all our assets – financial, physical, intellectual and reputational – as well as the people who work for us and those in the communities where we operate. Our Board of Directors works with our Leadership Team to oversee our strategy development and risk management.
Creating a safe and healthy organization
Our commitment to health and safety applies to everyone involved directly and indirectly in our activities. We want everyone to focus on being safe, not only at work but also at home. We want to create a workplace where people have a clear understanding of their role, what’s expected of them and how they can leverage expertise to achieve results. They also need to know where their focus should be and that they’re contributing to the company’s objectives and priorities. We want to create a work environment that attracts the best and brightest employees and helps them develop throughout their careers.
Improving our environmental performance
Taking care of the environment is a fundamental part of what we do. That’s why we integrate environmental considerations into how we do business – from how we design our oil sands projects, to the way we operate, to the care we take in restoring the environment when a project is complete. We’re focused on building and operating our projects efficiently, while continuously improving our environmental performance.
Engaging our stakeholders
Whether we’re meeting with community leaders, non-governmental organizations or landowners, working with Aboriginal communities, presenting to investors or government officials, or conducting media interviews, we’re committed to listening to our stakeholders, understanding their perspectives and working together to develop solutions. We work with our stakeholders so we have a better understanding of their concerns about our industry and so they have a better understanding of our company.
Investing in our communities
We’re a company that’s committed to ensuring the communities where we live and work are stronger and better off as a result of us being there. We want these communities to share in the benefits associated with our operations. We look to create shared value by investing in community programs that help address local needs and challenges, supporting local businesses and hiring local residents when possible and encouraging and supporting the volunteer efforts of our employees.
Our company goals
We have a number of goals as a company that help ensure we’re living up to our corporate responsibility commitments.
|Goal||Focus area||Recent performance examples|
|To have an injury-free workplace.||People||
In 2015, we had our strongest year ever for safety performance. One of the ways we evaluate safety performance is by measuring the rate or frequency of total recordable injuries (TRIF). Our rate in 2015 was 0.39. That represents a 40 percent improvement from our 2014 rate of 0.65 and was the lowest TRIF since the company formed in December of 2009.
In May of 2015, we made the precautionary decision to evacuate operations at our Foster Creek oil sands project and our Athabasca natural gas operation in northern Alberta. The facilities were shut down in a safe and orderly manner and nearly 1,800 staff left the sites by vehicle and by helicopter.
|To achieve zero carbon emissions oil along the entire value chain.||Environment||
We have reduced our greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity by 33 percent at our oil sands operations since 2004 and continue to develop technologies that address emissions. For example, we led the Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell joint industry project through Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA). The technology has the potential to reduce the GHG intensity of production at oil sands drilling operations by capturing carbon while generating electricity. We expect to complete the joint industry project study, which will explore the feasibility of the technology to oil sands development, by the end of 2017. After the study is complete we will explore a path forward to continue the development of the technology.
We're continuing to support the advancement of carbon capture and storage through our enhanced oil recovery project at Weyburn, Saskatchewan, where we've safely injected 27 million tonnes of CO2 underground since 2000, the equivalent of taking more than 5.7 million cars off the road for an entire year1.
We're also looking for opportunities to encourage the development of technology to eliminate emissions from the end use of oil.
|To provide shareholders and investors with transparent disclosure on the carbon risks associated with our business.||Environment||
We continue to participate in disclosure programs such as the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, both of which have recognized us for the quality of our disclosure.
We also are committed to preparing our CR report in accordance with the GRI-G4 standard (core) and integrating additional content on GHGs, methane and our management approach where relevant to our key stakeholders.
|To reduce habitat loss and impact on wildlife, particularly the woodland caribou.||Environment||
In 2015, we initiated the 10-year Cenovus Caribou Habitat Restoration Project, which is an unprecedented initiative to help protect caribou near our operations in northeastern Alberta. Over the course of the project, we expect to achieve a more than tenfold expansion of the caribou habitat work we’ve already completed, treating forest fragmentation within an area of approximately 3,900 square kilometres. This is the largest single area of caribou habitat restoration undertaken by a company anywhere in the world.
We also co-led the formation of a group of companies from the oil sands and forestry sectors that will collaborate with the Government of Alberta and other institutions to implement the Regional Industry Caribou Collaboration (RICC).
|To manage our use of water resources efficiently and responsibly.||Environment||
COSIA members aim to reduce their fresh water use intensity by 50 percent by 2022 from 2012 levels for their oil sands operations. The target is a fresh water intensity of 0.20 barrels of fresh water for every barrel of oil produced.
In 2015, our fresh water intensity for oil sands production was 0.075 barrels of fresh water per barrel of oil produced. This was an increase from 2014, however we continued our efforts to utilize technology to maximize water recycling and minimize the use of fresh and saline water.
|To manage our inactive well inventory and improve efficiency around well abandonment and reclamation.||Environment||
In 2015, we submitted reclamation certificates that covered 600 sites.
|To improve spill prevention and respond effectively when spills occur.||Environment||
While our total spill count and volume increased in 2015, our hydrocarbon spill volume decreased year over year.
We worked to better integrate proactive spill management with our process safety and personal safety programs. We also completed work to improve our understanding of spill trends and focus our equipment maintenance activities on the biggest risks.
|To collaboratively accelerate development of technologies with the aim of reducing emissions and resources required for each barrel of oil we produce.||Innovation||
In 2015, we partnered with Suncor and the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance to fund Evok Innovations. Cenovus and Suncor plan to provide up to $50 million each over the next 10 years to be invested in technologies that address environmental and economic challenges.
We also became one of eight COSIA member companies supporting the US$20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. The goal is to develop a means of converting CO2 to a usable material.
In 2015, we continued to invest internally to find innovative solutions to our oil sands environmental and economic challenges.
|To provide opportunities that will benefit both Cenovus and Aboriginal peoples.||Community||
In 2015, we spent $297 million with Aboriginal companies, which is 17 percent of our total company spend, an increased share from previous years. We also awarded 20 scholarships valued at $3,500 each for Aboriginal students pursuing a full-time degree, diploma or certified trade.
Since 2009, we have spent more than $1.8 billion on goods and services supplied by Aboriginal businesses, and have signed nine long-term agreements with Aboriginal communities in our operating areas.
|To treat all communities near our operations fairly and respectfully and to make them better because we’re there.||Community||
In 2015, we donated over $8.4 million to 1,133 organizations and held 65 company-sponsored and team-volunteer events, ranging from cooking dinners and reading to children to packing food hampers.
|To have women make up at least one-third of the independent members of the Board of Directors by 2020.||Governance||
On April 27, 2016 Rhonda Zygocki was elected to our Board of Directors at our annual meeting of shareholders. This increases our percentage of female Directors to 18 percent.
1 Note: 4.75 metric tonnes of CO2 per car per year according to a U.S. EPA GHG Equivalencies Calculator updated March 2014.