VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - July 16, 2014) - Today Suncor released its 2014 Sustainability Report claiming progress on environmental, social, economic and issues. However, Suncor failed to mention its water use has increased, its tailings ponds are leaking toxins and the company has had hundreds of violations of existing regulations.

Recently, launched a hard-hitting campaign calling Suncor out for claiming to be a leader in sustainability while failing to clean up the oil sands and protect the Athabasca River. The website, video and accompanying petition, which has so far been signed by tens of thousands of Canadians, ask tough questions about the company's refusal to take basic measures to protect the Athabasca and all communities downstream.

"Suncor is spending millions to try and tell a pretty rosy story about their operations in Canada's oilsands but the facts speak for themselves," said campaign spokesperson Kevin Grandia. "They are using more and more fresh water and their tailings ponds are leaking. If Suncor is truly committed to looking for solutions they can start by cleaning up their act and supporting new strong regulations that protect the Athabasca River."

The just-released sustainability report ignores the following facts:

  • A report from Global News found over 500 Suncor violations ranging from corrosion to valve and pipe failures. Suncor has been fined for failing to install pollution control equipment, for environmental violations at a wastewater facility, for failing to comply with the Water Act, and for providing false and misleading information to Alberta environment.
  • A 2011 incident at a Suncor facility leaked tailings water so polluted that it failed 39 consecutive toxicity tests.
  • In 2013, waste from a Suncor operation poured into the Athabasca River for ten hours, dumping 350,000 litres of industrial waste water right into the river.
  • In its sustainability report Suncor mentions a goal to reduce freshwater consumption by 12% by 2015. Yet in 2012, Suncor's total water consumption increased by 20% over 2011 levels, and is expected to increase another 47% by 2017 based on the company's current expansion plans. This 20% increase translates to 2,500 Olympic sized swimming pools per year.
  • In 2009, ambitious new rules were unveiled by Alberta's energy regulator to help manage growing volumes of toxic tailings waste from oil sands mining. Directive 74 was intended to demonstrate a commitment to environmental performance by requiring companies to capture and dry 50% of fine tailings particles. By 2013, however, Suncor had captured just 8.5%.
  • In 2010, Suncor claimed it had successfully reclaimed a tailings pond. Instead, it had merely moved liquid tailings elsewhere.

The Alberta Government is proposing new draft rules in the Surface Water Quantity Framework. Those rules would prohibit Suncor from taking water from the river for oil sands extraction during catastrophically low-flow periods, which could damage and destroy portions of the watershed permanently.

Suncor has failed to abide by existing tailings regulations and so far, has not supported new rules that would prohibit releasing polluted water directly into the Athabasca. Industry, First Nations, and government have called for oil sands companies to store "process-affected water" on-site rather than release it directly into the river. Suncor has not yet committed to support this.

Website and video:
Alberta water backgrounder: Water Backgrounder

About is a global movement of over 4.5 million consumers, investors, and workers all around the world, standing together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy.

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Sarbjit Kaur