Advocacy & memberships
We regularly participate in policy discussions as part of our membership with business associations and other groups, providing guidance to encourage alignment of these groups' sustainability stances with that of Cenovus. We urge the third-party groups we support to be fact-driven in their public positioning and solutions-oriented. Cenovus supports groups that are generally aligned with our corporate objectives, strategy, targets and ambition, recognizing that industry groups must balance the diverse views of their members and perfect alignment with Cenovus's priorities is not always possible. Where misalignment is encountered, Cenovus works to persuade our peers of the merits of our position as we strive to be a constructive voice in the public policy space. While we might not always be successful in persuading others of our view, we firmly believe that in almost all cases it is better to be present and represent a constructive, diverse view than to be absent from the dialogue.
View a full list of Cenovus advocacy membership and sponsorships in 2022 here.
We comply with the applicable lobbying and election laws and reporting requirements in the jurisdictions where we operate. We have rigorous internal policies and procedures for lobbying and comply with all laws requiring companies to record their lobbying activities with applicable government registries.
All Cenovus lobbying is conducted in alignment with our Code of Business Conduct & Ethics, and Cenovus seeks public policy solutions that preserve shareholder value and align with our corporate objectives, strategy, targets and ambition.
Our position on key issues
- We share the world's concerns about climate change and are continuing to advance initiatives to further reduce Cenovus's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
- Cenovus has a target of reducing our absolute emissions from operations* by 35% by year-end 2035, and an ambition of achieving net zero emissions from operations by 2050. Learn more about our Climate and GHG emissions target here.
- Cenovus is also a founding member of the Pathways Alliance, representing the six largest oil sands producers in Canada, operating 95% of oil sands production. The Alliance includes Cenovus, Canadian Natural Resources, ConocoPhillips Canada, Imperial, MEG Energy and Suncor Energy.
- Pathways Alliance has set a goal, which aligns with Cenovus's own goal, of achieving net zero emissions from oil sands operations by 2050. Learn more about Pathways Alliance here.
*Emissions reductions are in reference to scope 1 and 2 emissions, on a net equity basis. Scope 1 emissions are direct GHG emissions from owned or operated facilities by the reporting company. This includes emissions from fuel combustion, venting, flaring, industrial processes and fugitive leaks from equipment. Cenovus accounts for emissions on a gross operatorship basis. The company also reports its net-equity share of emissions from all of its assets. Scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchase or acquisition of electricity, steam, heat or cooling for use at the owned or operated facility.
The role of oil and natural gas in a low carbon future
- As the world transitions to a lower carbon future, people around the world will continue to need access to a secure, diversified mix of affordable and reliable energy, including responsibly produced oil and natural gas.
- All credible independent forecasts indicate hydrocarbons will continue to be a part of the global energy mix for decades – as both a transportation fuel and a building block for many of the products we use every day.
- The current and future use for hydrocarbons is extensive. Fuel, heat, clothes, asphalt for paved roads, fertilizer to grow food, high-tech plastics used in millions of everyday products such as smartphones, contact lenses and computers, carbon fibre products used to build lighter aircraft and electric vehicles, and other innovative products which will help drive lower emissions.
- In the International Energy Agency (IEA) Net Zero by 2050 scenario, oil production and incremental oil development continues to be required to help meet the world’s growing demand for energy.
- Since oil and gas will continue to play a key role in meeting the world’s growing demand, those barrels should come from jurisdictions like Canada that have a track record for responsible production, transparency and strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
- The risks of taking energy security lightly were underlined by the turmoil in global commodity markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022. The resulting energy shortages and spike in commodity prices also made clear the critical role Canada’s oil and natural gas industry can play in helping ensure Canadians have continued access to affordable, abundant and reliable energy supplies needed to maintain our quality of life in a lower carbon future.
- Canada is uniquely positioned to contribute to global energy security by becoming a preferred supplier of responsibly produced, lower carbon oil and natural gas.
- Our country has large, long-life, low-cost and geographically concentrated reserves, with a strong track record of companies working together on emissions reductions.
- Canada's oil sands are the largest known proven oil reserves in North America, about 170 billion barrels, and the fourth largest in the world (after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran).
- Canadian companies, including Cenovus, are top sustainability performers among global peers when it comes to environmental, social and governance (ESG) scores (see slide below).
- Canada has a stable democracy and strong regulatory system.
- By working together with industry peers and government, we can support Canada’s climate commitments, help ensure energy security for Canadians and protect the tens of billions of dollars the oil and gas sector contributes to the Canadian economy each year. That includes hundreds of thousands of good-paying direct and indirect oil and gas jobs across the country. Learn more about how we’re working together with peers to support Canada’s climate commitments through Pathways Alliance.
- Cenovus supports carbon pricing provided the international competitiveness of heavily trade-exposed sectors, including oil and natural gas, isn’t compromised.
- Canadian oil producers are in competition with global producers, most of whom operate in jurisdictions with no price on carbon. If carbon pricing regulations become overly onerous it could undermine our international competitiveness and lead to carbon leakage as investment dollars and production capacity simply move to jurisdictions with less punitive environmental regulations.
- Cenovus’s top-tier assets and best-in-class steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operating expertise make us a leader in oil sands GHG intensity performance. Learn about SAGD here.
- We recognize our responsibility to support reconciliation with Indigenous people. Our approach to working with Indigenous communities focuses on engagement and consultation, relationships built on trust, business and employment opportunities and investment in social programs. We also believe one of the most important ways we can support reconciliation is through economic inclusion. Learn more here.
- One of our environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets is to spend a minimum of $1.2 billion with Indigenous businesses by year-end 2025 (from 2019) and attain gold Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business by year-end 2025.
- In the first quarter of 2023, we surpassed $1.2 billion of spending, and while we've met our minimum, we will continue looking for additional opportunities to work with Indigenous businesses.
- Since 2009, we’ve spent more than $4 billion on goods and services with Indigenous businesses – ranging from camp services to earthworks.
- Our Indigenous Housing Initiative, the largest community investment in Cenovus’s history, indirectly supports our Indigenous reconciliation targets, and is helping to address one of the most pressing issues facing Indigenous communities in Canada – inadequate housing that forces many families to live in overcrowded and sometimes unsafe conditions. Learn more about the initiative here.
Governance of memberships and sponsorships
At Cenovus we are committed to maintaining, promoting and enforcing the highest standards of integrity and corporate governance practices in all aspects of our business. Memberships and sponsorships, including where indirect political advocacy could occur, are managed by teams reporting to the Chief Sustainability Officer & Executive Vice-President, Stakeholder Engagement.
Opportunities for membership and sponsorship are reviewed within relevant teams. The level of management involvement in the decision-making process for memberships and sponsorships, through either consultation or final approval, depends on either the financial cost or the level of importance of the issues involved. In some cases, a sponsorship may include review and approval by members of our leadership team. We consider sponsorship opportunities that directly support a Cenovus business objective. Our eligibility requirements specify that sponsorships cannot support political fundraising events. While not all initiatives we sponsor have a policy element, some sponsorships may support some type of advocacy, such as communicating a policy position broadly or facilitating cross-sector dialogue in which government officials may participate.
Cenovus shall not participate in improper intervention in political processes and, as of March 1, 2017, nor shall it make financial contributions or contributions in kind to political parties, committees or their representatives. Illicit or improper payments to public officials are strictly prohibited. Our employees, contractors and Board directors may choose to become involved in political activities as long as they undertake these activities on their own behalf and may, on a personal level, give to any political party or candidate. Reimbursement by the company is prohibited.
Conflicts of interest
Our employees, contractors and Board directors are also required to avoid where possible, and otherwise declare to the company and take steps to manage, situations where personal interests could conflict, or appear to conflict, with duties and responsibilities or the interests of Cenovus. This would include any situation involving a public official or individuals employed by any membership or sponsorship organizations we are associated with. Conflict of Interest Declaration forms must be completed and filed on a timely basis and include mitigation approved by a supervisor and vice-president.
Reporting violations of the Code
Cenovus Board directors, employees and contractors are strongly encouraged to report business conduct concerns or violations of the Code to the appropriate Cenovus authorities, or through the company’s anonymous Integrity Helpline.