This September marks 55 years of Suncor oil sands operations and given our resource base we see ourselves operating in the Wood Buffalo region for many more. This was part of the message Sandy Martin, SVP Regional Services, shared with Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association (NAABA) members at last week’s Aboriginal Business Showcase in Fort McMurray. 

Sandy says his goal was to update members on the integration with Syncrude as well as Suncor’s overall approach to Indigenous business development in a rapidly changing world.

He explained how, over time, we’ve evolved the way we work with Indigenous businesses. 

“When a company has a clear purpose and the right processes and systems in place, consideration of Indigenous business development becomes part of our DNA,” says Sandy. “We now see several successful Indigenous businesses that are core to our operations.”

For the many entrepreneurs in the audience, he reiterated the importance of diversification.

“We now see healthy competition across our supply chain,” says Sandy. “With a lot of duplicate supply and saturation, we encourage businesses to diversify and watch emerging trends - understanding market needs is important to ensure small and large businesses set themselves up for success.”

To that end, as entrepreneurs look for new opportunities to participate in resource development, we’re seeing businesses develop in spaces for the first time like a variety of IT support, engineering services and clean energy. 

Sandy encouraged NAABA members to continue finding niche opportunities and working with us to find ways to improve efficiencies and help lower costs. 

“With Syncrude now part of our regional suite of assets, we remain committed to working with and advancing business with Indigenous suppliers so we all can grow and thrive,” says Sandy. 

Interesting facts:

  • In 2021, Suncor and Syncrude’s combined spend with Indigenous businesses across Canada was $2.4 billion.
  • We collectively work with over 100 Indigenous suppliers in the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo area.