July 3, 2015

Real-time Progress on Sustainability – Cameco Environmental Leadership Awards

While my day job is Vice-President at Delphi, I also act (on behalf of Delphi) as the Secretariat for the EXCEL Partnership, a peer learning forum for major Canadian corporations that are committed to sustainability leadership through continual improvement of environmental and social performance.

I was asked by EXCEL Partnership member, Cameco, to participate as a judge in their annual Cameco Environmental Leadership Awards (CELA). Cameco is one of the world’s largest uranium producers and a leading provider of nuclear fuel processing services.  The company believes strongly in the sustainability benefits of nuclear energy, including the carbon reduction benefits relative to other thermal sources of electricity. They also believe that their environmental performance in sourcing uranium is an important piece of the puzzle to demonstrate the sustainability of the fuel source.

Sustainable development and safety are key tenets at Cameco, and the awards program is one of the ways in which they engage their employees on issues of safety, health and the environment.. Cameco employees submit initiatives and describe how they:

  1. Demonstrated leading environmental performance in relation to Cameco’s SHEQ Policy.
  2. Achieved or would achieve a demonstrated improvement in environmental performance, such as through reduction or prevention of pollution, increased environmental awareness and understanding, and/or improved environmental management.
  3. Demonstrated or would demonstrate best practice within the nuclear industry through demonstrating compliance with and moving beyond legal and other requirements.
  4. Demonstrated or would demonstrate business value.

The submissions had a fantastic variety to them – covering engineering improvements to Cameco’s industrial processes, mining-related environmental impact reductions, employee engagement change management concepts, and legacy waste reduction initiatives. The pride shown by employees was energizing. The most impressive feature of the awards overall was the feeling that you were witnessing progress on sustainability in real time.

On the judging panel I was joined by Neil McMillan, Chair of the Board for Cameco, and Dr. John Barrett, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association. There were a lot of great projects to choose from but there were two winners that stood out:

  • Winning Project: A uranium emission reduction project from Cameco’s Port Hope facility, with the project reducing emissions well below regulatory limits.
  • Winning Idea: The company’s Smith Ranch facility is seeking to significantly reduce the water required for site remediation in what is a water-scarce region.

Congratulations to Cameco for showing leadership on innovation for environmental progress!

Written By: Ted Ferguson – Senior Vice President (tferguson@delphi.ca)

Edited By: Alex Carr – Senior Associate (acarr@delphi.ca)

For more information on the EXCEL Partnership, visit the website www.excelpartnership.ca or contact Ted Ferguson.