Strategic community investment is an essential part of responsible development and plays a significant role in creating value for shareholders. In our first year as a pure-play natural gas producer, we refined our approach to community investment to support our business goals. We proactively designed our community investment programs to address areas of stakeholder importance, especially the environment and education.
Investing in communities where we operate simply makes good business sense. Our community investment programs are strategically aligned to help educate people on the importance of environmental stewardship, boost local economies and enhance the skill sets of the next generation of industry leaders. Our approach to community investment goes hand-in-hand with our business strategy and provides for mutually beneficial relationships with communities and non-government organizations.
What we’ve done
- revised our community investment strategies throughout the company to ensure they align with our new business strategy
- focused more of our community investment on environmental and educational programs
- developed metrics to be applied across the organization to indicate whether grant decisions align with our business strategy and gauge their impact on the community
- rebranded and remarketed employee programs to promote employee participation in community investment programs
Where we’re headed
- improve internal and external communications about our community investment goals, strategies and outcomes
- continue to engage staff in our employee programs
- proactively seek opportunities to support environmental and educational initiatives
MAKING A SPLASH FOR WETLANDS CONSERVATION
In 2010, we partnered with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) on two unique wetlands conservation projects. These two milestone projects were the evolution of a long time environmental partnership which, in 2007, saw Encana earmark $1 million for wetlands restoration, development of best environmental management practices and mapping.
We support Project Webfoot, a program focusing on wetlands education, in some of our key operating areas in northeastern British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia. Thanks to our assistance, DUC announced in May 2010 that it would provide the learning materials from the program to public libraries in northeastern Nova Scotia. This is the first time in Canada that these resources have been available outside of the classroom.
Along with this gift to Nova Scotia libraries, our financial support also ensured a gift for the environment in northeastern British Columbia. On June 1, 2010 we helped unveil the newly restored 30-acre Piper Pond, located near Dawson Creek. The restored pond swiftly saw an influx of birds and other small wildlife exploring this new wetland habitat.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IN ACTION
Educating the next generation about the importance of environmental stewardship also means demonstrating the benefits of natural gas. In 2010, we provided nearly $450,000 in funding for National Energy Education Development programs in Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. National Energy Education Development is a national, non-profit organization that develops and delivers innovative energy curriculum and teacher training materials. Our efforts were recognized in June 2010, when National Energy Education Development awarded Program of the Year honours to the Colorado school system’s energy education curriculum.
In May 2010, we awarded the Global Ozone Project (GO3) Foundation with a $41,960 grant to support the participation of four Colorado high schools and their international sister schools in the Global Ozone Project. The grant provided students from all eight schools with a state-of-the-art ozone monitor and meteorological station. The equipment enables students to measure ground-level ozone outside their schools and upload the data to a global database. The data is uploaded as an overlay for a Google Earth map, giving students detailed visuals of ozone concentrations and variances in air quality.
“Making natural gas the centrepiece of North America’s energy portfolio requires reaching out to students through a number of unique initiatives, both to promote environmental awareness and to educate the next generation about this clean, affordable, abundant resource within North America.”
GETTING INSIDE EDUCATION
As a continuation of a long-standing partnership, we joined with Inside Education as the sole industry sponsor for their Climate & Conservation Education Programming. Inside Education is a non-profit organization providing programs that help Canadian teachers and students understand the science, technology and issues related to our environment and natural resources.
In 2010, with our support, Inside Education was able to deliver innovative, environment-focused educational programs to 73 teachers and more than 6,000 students throughout Alberta and British Columbia. The topics ranged from the importance of managing our water resources to energy conservation.
We also supported the popular Cooperation Action Responsibility Education (CARE) Package learning tool, which contained a variety of hands-on water and energy conservation items. The package was distributed to teachers and provided a variety of simple water and energy conservation activities for students.
2010 Encana Community Investment Grants by
Focus Area (1)
- (1) These numbers do not reflect employee program dollars.