COSIA’s Vision: To enable responsible and sustainable development of Canada’s oil sands while delivering accelerated improvement in environmental performance through collaborative action and innovation.
Performance Goals sit below Aspirations in COSIA’s Planning Framework. They describe concrete improvements in environmental performance to be achieved within a 3- to 10-year time frame.
COSIA’s Vision is shared amongst the 13 member companies who are committed to making positive environmental improvements in each of the Environmental Priority Areas (EPAs): tailings, water, land and greenhouse gases. But in order to turn that vision into a reality, COSIA needs goals to work towards and measure performance against. That is the idea behind COSIA’s Performance Goals, which sit below Aspirations in COSIA’s Planning Framework.
Performance Goals are innovation tools designed to measure and track environmental performance over a 3- to 10-year time frame.
COSIA Chief Executive Dan Wicklum explains that Performance Goals are quantitative, time-bound and measured against a baseline in order to provide a primary means of assessing COSIA achievements.
“Performance Goals are innovation tools that drive co-ordinated and concerted effort in critical environmental performance areas,” says Dan. “They are the mechanism our member companies will use to communicate their ambition and progress in improving environmental performance.”
The Performance Goals are structured broadly in order to enable all members to participate and contribute to goal attainment. They are measures of oil sands companies’ aggregate performance across the oil sands region. The cumulative average, which will be reported upon annually, will show continuous improvement as companies develop and implement new technologies that address identified environmental issues.
Additional considerations were taken into account in developing the Performance Goals. The goals:
- Address key drivers and risks to the sustainable development of the oil sands.
- Drive the strategic planning process and company behaviour.
- Help drive and calibrate the amount of collaboration and innovation required.
- Help each EPA identify the type and level of ambition of projects in the project portfolio.
COSIA’s members are taking the goal-setting process very seriously, using comprehensive historical data, future predicted performance and a robust analysis methodology.
“Our member companies have approved the first Performance Goals for the Water EPA and are currently working on goals for the other EPAs,” says Dan. “The release of the first COSIA Water Performance Goal marks the realization of a commitment made at the launch of the organization in March 2012 to report publicly on its members’ efforts to improve their environmental performance.”
The in situ Performance Goal states that COSIA members with in situ operations will stive to “Reduce freshwater use intensity by 50 per cent by 2022.”
COSIA’s Water EPA Director John Brogly explains that the oil sands sector is already a leader in water management, recycling 80 per cent to 95 per cent of water used in the bitumen extraction process.
“This Performance Goal marks a continued commitment by COSIA members to further improve and fulfil their Aspiration. The critical areas of focus in the In Situ Water Performance Goal are focused on reducing fresh water use intensity in the oil sands,” says John. “It is important to stress this Performance Goal reflects just one component of the Water EPA’s in situ project portfolio and complements the other COSIA work being conducted.”
The in situ Performance Goal is focused on improvement to water treatment processes, steam generation efficiency and reductions in boiler waste/blowdown. For the mining Performance Goal, the focus areas include maximizing reuse and recycle opportunities, taking a regional approach to water use, and understanding and managing the cumulative effects on the Athabasca River watershed.