It may seem paradoxical for a sustainability award to recognize improved performance by an oil company. But that position ignores two things: first, Canada is and will remain dependent upon oil for a variety of purposes for years to come: Oil will be extracted, shipped and consumed; and second, how that happens is critical to our overall environmental performance not only for Canada but for the world.
Which is why Gary’s work is critical. He is helping oil companies in general, and Suncor in particular, innovate their innovation process – aiming to extract oil from Alberta’s oil sands in a less harmful fashion, and remediate existing environmental contamination more rapidly and effectively. Through his and his team’s efforts, they have developed a new way to handle past and future tailings in a significantly shorter time frame, that results in a lake capable of supporting a freshwater ecosystem. And Suncor is pioneering testing of new technologies for extraction that dramatically reduce water and energy use, which in turn reduces the environmental impacts of every barrel produced and consumed. The work he’s doing will help advance Canada’s innovation pipeline with the aim to see transformational change in the energy sector. And that matters.