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U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015, provide a global framework for governments, businesses and society to respond to economic, social and environmental challenges by 2030.

At Cenovus, we recognize that businesses have a role to play in providing solutions that can contribute to solving these challenges. We took a closer look at the SDGs to better understand how our activities corporate wide and specifically in relation to our five environmental, social and governance (ESG) focus areas are contributing positively to the SDGs. We will continue to evaluate our role in contributing to this global agenda and how we can further incorporate the SDGs into our business activities over time.

Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Goals 5 Gender equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls


Related Goal 5 targets

5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.

5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision‑making in political, economic and public life.

Our actions:

  • Provide a workplace that fosters inclusivity, respect, a range of thoughts and a safe environment, where human rights are upheld and individual dignity is preserved. We recognize the fundamental importance of human rights for our employees, stakeholders and communities in which we operate.
  • Our inclusion & diversity targets strive to achieve equality for all designated groups.
Sustainable Development Goals 6 Clean water and sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all


Related Goal 6 targets

6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.

6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of fresh water to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

6.5 By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate.

Our actions:

  • Set a target to reduce fresh water intensity by 20% in oil sands and in thermal operations by year-end 2030.
  • Recycle water at our oil sands operations and the Lima Refinery and, where possible, in hydraulic fracturing, enhanced oil recovery and waterflood operations. At our Sunrise oil sands facility, we reuse wastewater from a neighbouring oil sands mine for our operations.
  • Treat process water released back to the environment at our offshore and refining operations to meet stringent water quality requirements.
  • Invest in research to improve our water use efficiency. Where we withdraw fresh water for operations, we meet strict regulations to manage water quantity for all users. We monitor water availability risk in the areas where we operate and ensure our withdrawals are locally sustainable.
  • Support collaborative water management, participating in watershed advisory councils and in regional water monitoring initiatives for our in situ oil sands operations. We take part in multi‑operator water sharing agreements.
Sustainable Development Goals 7 Affordable and clean energy

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all


Related Goal 7 targets

7.1 By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.

7.a By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil‑fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology.

Our actions:

  • We have established targets and plans to achieve them for our five ESG focus areas and maintained our ambition of net zero emissions by 2050 to position us to thrive in a lower carbon future and continue to provide energy the world needs to make people's lives better.
  • In addition to participating in several other collaborations and partnerships that advance clean energy innovation, we jointly founded the Oil Sands Pathways to Net Zero initiative with our largest oil sands peers. Working collectively with government and innovators, Pathways has a vision to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands operations by 2050.
Sustainable Development Goal 8 Decent work and economic growth

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all


Related Goal 8 targets

8.5 By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.

8.8 Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.

Our actions:

  • Ensure individuals are hired based on qualifications, merit and abilities. We encourage applications from everyone. Our work placement program supports university students and new graduates. We provide our employees with competitive compensation, health and insurance benefits, and pension and savings plans.
  • Aspire to have at least 40% representation from designated groups among non-management directors, including at least 30% women by year-end 2025.
  • Ensure our employees, Board of Directors, and other staff engaged in the conduct of Cenovus-operated business activities adhere to our Human Rights Policy.
Sustainable Development Goal 10 Reduce inequality within  and among countries

Reduce inequality within and among countries.


Related Goal 10 targets

10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.

Our actions:

  • Strive to reduce barriers for Indigenous companies and communities and focus on providing more opportunities for social and economic inclusion.
  • Prioritize supporting Indigenous businesses and have spent over $3 billion with Indigenous businesses since 2009. Set a target to achieve a minimum of $1.2 billion of spending with Indigenous businesses between 2019 and year‑end 2025 and attain Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’s gold Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification by year‑end 2025.
  • Provide a work environment where human rights are upheld and individual dignity is preserved. We recognize the fundamental importance of human rights for our employees, stakeholders and communities in which we operate.
Sustainable Development Goal 15 Life on land

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Related Goal 15 targets

15.2 Promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.

15.a Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems.

Our actions:

  • Commit to planting millions of native trees through our tree planting program. We conduct our reclamation and restoration activities efficiently, advancing the reclamation and subsequent restoration of functional terrain and soil system and ecosystem processes. The restoration of larger geographical areas resulting from our area based closure approach can also increase habitat connectivity.
  • Support a cross section of programs and initiatives that promote biodiversity conservation, including Alberta Ecotrust, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), Alberta Conservation Association, Ottawa River Coalition, among others.
  • Partner with the NCC on conservation efforts in Newfoundland and Labrador through the Futures in Conservation program, training the next generation of environmental leaders. Interns with the program are responsible for monitoring and surveying nature reserves through mapping and reporting tasks, helping organize biological inventories that create knowledge or local biodiversity on the lands they are working to conserve.
  • Set targets to reclaim 3,000 decommissioned well sites between 2019 and year‑end 2025 and restore more habitat than we use in the Cold Lake caribou range between 2016 and year‑end 2030.