Integrating Earth observation into corporate sustainable development reporting in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada
Jan 19, 2006
In January 2006, Hatfield was awarded a contract from the European Space Agency ‘s (ESA’s) Earth Observation and Market Development (EOMD) program for the project entitled ‘Integrating Earth Observation Services into Corporate Sustainable Development Reporting in the Oil Sands Region of Alberta, Canada’ (EO-CSD Project). The goal of the project is to foster operational use of Earth observation-based information and data within corporate sustainability development and reporting practises undertaken by the oil sands industry sector in Canada.
To implement this project, the prime contractor Hatfield, has included a number of remote sensing, environmental auditing and corporate sustainable development specialists, including: ACRI-ST (France), Apolloni Virtual Studios (AVS), RTL Consulting Ltd. (Canada), PricewaterhouseCoopers (Canada/global) and Sustainable Asset Management (SAM; Switzerland). The Business Leader in Sustainable Development (BLSD) and downstream target for the project is Shell Canada Ltd. and their affiliated company Albian Sands Energy Inc. (Shell/Albian). Companies like Shell play a major role in oil sands development in northern Alberta, Canada and are destined to become a primary source of oil products, especially given the global trends in the oil and gas industry.
Shell has grown to become a recognized world leader in their commitment to corporate sustainable development, with sophisticated reporting practices that conform to international standards and criteria. Arising out of discussions with Shell/Albian, four potential trials were identified where EO-based services could significantly compliment Shell’s priorities for sustainable development reporting: 1) Muskeg River basin/wetland integrity; 2) habitat change/fragmentation; 3) Athabasca River minimum environmental flows; and 4) traditional ecological knowledge mapping. These trials correspond to three of the ESA targeted themes including freshwater, biodiversity and forests and are sufficiently general in scope as to have applicability to other business markets, either within Shell or other multi-national corporations.
Each trial service will undergo a formal independent audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Sustainability Asset Management Group so that the benefits can be more objectively quantified, particularly with respect to the potential incorporation into indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
Full story: http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEM1LDNZCIE_index_0.html
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