COSIA Challenges

In 2014, the members of the Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and Water Environmental Priority Areas (EPAs) identified a series of COSIA Challenges, to help mobilize the minds and resources of external stakeholders and global solutions providers.

COSIA has developed a planning framework that helps define members’ collective priorities and highlights a path forward based on COSIA’s vision, to enable responsible and sustainable growth of Canada’s oil sands while delivering accelerated improvement in environmental performance through collaborative action and innovation. The planning framework consists of:

Planning Framework Diagram - Challenges

Challenges sit below Gaps and Opportunity areas in COSIA’s Planning Framework.

  • Aspirations: bold statements, aimed at communicating members’ direction and ambition.
  • Performance Goals: quantitative time-bound Performance Goals that provide a way to measure improvements in environmental performance.
  • Opportunity Areas: areas of focus that if fully utilized have the potential to significantly contribute to achieving COSIA’s related Performance Goals.
  • Gaps: Innovation and knowledge gaps within each Opportunity Area that if filled will ultimately support the achievement of the Performance Goals.

“Challenges are detailed, positive statements of gaps,” says Peter Beaudoin, COSIA’s Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive. “These provide focused descriptions of the innovation requirements needed to fill gaps in knowledge and/or technology.”

The Challenges are written in such a way that innovators don’t need in-depth knowledge of the oil sands sector to understand them – or act on them. They were originally created in order to help guide more specific submissions to COSIA’s Environmental Technology Assessment Portal (E-TAP) – the mechanism through which innovators can submit non-confidential technology ideas to COSIA – but as Peter explains, they have become useful in many other ways as well.

COSIA has started to use the Challenges to engage innovation hubs similar to COSIA in other industries and disciplines.

“Providing hubs with our Challenges allows them to assess their inventory of companies and reach out to the ones that have the solutions we are looking for,” Peter says.

They have also been used to help engage with both COSIA member companies and Associate Members (AM) on specific technology needs. The Challenges have proved to be effective in providing AMs with a detailed overview of COSIA’s knowledge and innovation needs. This has helped them determine what areas they are best suited to help COSIA members address, as they developed their 2014 technology offerings.

“The Challenges were also circulated to the R&D departments of some of the COSIA member companies with global operations. This allowed them to dig deeper into their technology portfolios to bring forward additional technologies to contribute,” Peter explains. “By using the Challenges across members, AMs, and external innovators and technology providers, we can fill our technology funnel with solutions that are fit for purpose.”

The four COSIA Challenges developed by the Water EPA and six developed by the GHG EPA have proven so useful that both EPAs intend to develop more this year. The Land EPA will also be developing its own Challenges.

To learn more about the COSIA Challenges visit