The environmental performance of oil sands development in Canada is under
intense public scrutiny. The prevailing narrative positions industry development with an essential contribution to Canada's economy and energy security against potential
environmental damage and negative impacts on communities. This research paper
studies whether the range of current corporate social responsibility (CSR) indicators used by oil sands companies effectively addresses the main environmental externalities associated with oil sands development. This research finds that, while improvements have been made, there are still significant gaps in reporting methods. This paper then explores ways to both improve these CSR reports and suggests drivers (policy or other) that will help incentivize a more consistent release of information on environmental externalities by corporations. The suggestions for improvement are placed in the context of communicating more effectively with a broad range of multiple stakeholders. Finally, this paper concludes by discussing how improved environmental CSR reporting in the oil sands will not only help enhance the industry's "social license to operate," but will also contribute to our understanding and advancement of the political and socio-economic setting in which oil sands development occurs.
Gacek, Keith. (2012). Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting in the Oil Sands: New Directions ( Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.