We are proud to be part of the communities where we live and work, which is why Suncor, and the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF) are working with community partners, like the Energy Futures Lab (EFL).
EFL is an Alberta-based coalition, of innovators and leading organizations contributing to a shift in culture and thinking in relation to energy. Established in 2015, EFL has since become one of the leading social innovation labs in Canada, that is shaping provincial and federal thinking, as well as our own thinking at Suncor.
“At EFL, we’ve been able to explore transformative solutions for the energy sector and it’s been exciting to see the pace of acceleration in the last year,” says Alison Cretney, EFL Managing Director. “What have felt like fringe ideas for so long, are now becoming mainstream.
To continue being leaders in the energy transition space, we collaborate, connect and work with many organizations that are working towards the same goal, which is outlined in our updated strategy.
EFL has individuals known as ‘fellows’ who represent a diversity of views on the energy system, coming from the government, the energy sector, Indigenous communities and environmental groups. Bringing together these different perspectives through their fellowship program, contributes to diversifying the conversation.
“There is value in staying connected with influential leaders in the energy transition space,” says Gary Millard, Senior Advisor Energy and Climate Change with Suncor and an EFL fellow. “This allows us to learn from others, contribute our own knowledge and strengths, and ultimately ensure we are part of a strong future energy system that’s recognized as a leader nationally and globally.”
Taking the conversation on the road
EFL recognizes that for the energy transition to be a success, people need to understand it and be part of the discussions. So, EFL took to the road and had conversations (virtually and in-person) with communities across Alberta.
During one of the community sessions, an Indigenous community member shared his vision for reconciliation through reclamation – allowing Indigenous Peoples to heal themselves by healing the land. He is now leasing sites to communities to transform disturbed land into land that can grow food and generate low-emission energy.
“We’re visiting each of the communities to work together to identify their strengths, create space for understanding, find common ground and, lately, help them overcome any feelings of alienation while generating a sense of belonging, and hope,” says Alison.
With the support of community members and EFL fellows, progress is being made to continue these open conversations while seeing real and tangible change.