Message from our CEO
I am pleased to share with you Cameco’s performance data for 2019 on environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. What follows is an update on how we’re performing against key indicators that measure our environmental, social and economic impacts in areas that matter to our stakeholders.
Why is sustainable development important to Cameco?
Simply put, sustainability is at the heart of our business. The world is counting on us to provide the fuel that will help solve the clean-air crisis. Our Vision – Energizing a clean-air world – has a direct impact on the present and future health of our planet. As a large uranium fuel producer, we play an important role in bringing the multiple benefits of clean, safe and reliable nuclear energy to the world. We want nothing to impede our ability to achieve that.
And so, we are committed to delivering our products responsibly. This is why we integrate sustainability principles and practices into all stages of our activities, from exploration to decommissioning. We factor them into every aspect of our business, from our objectives and approach to compensation, to our overall corporate strategy and day-to-day operations. For more information, I encourage you to review our Sustainability Policy and other policies and programs that support our sustainable practices.
Sustainable development and ESG have been part of our DNA since our first uranium deposits were discovered in northern Saskatchewan. The long-term sustainability of our business is dependent upon our ability to effectively build relationships with, work with, and add value for our stakeholders.
From community liaison groups and industry associations, to registered charities, regulators, customers, our employees, and suppliers as well as the investment community, we recognize the value of maintaining many long-term relationships that help us succeed together. All are important but none more so than the relationships we hold with our employees and Indigenous people working and living near our operations.
Informed by best practices, we set standards for the ways we meaningfully engage with and are involved with our stakeholders to ensure we fulfil our obligations to them.
Our People Policy describes our commitment to developing and supporting a flexible, skilled, stable and diverse workforce. I encourage you to review it. Supportive Communities is one of our key measures of success, and we set standards for the ways we meaningfully engage with our stakeholders, including our Indigenous stakeholders, that are informed by best practices and our membership in leading organizations including Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Mining Association of Canada.
Cameco is a large employer of First Nations and Métis people. Indigenous employees, most of whom who are Residents of Saskatchewan’s north (RSNs), make up more than 45% of the workforce at our northern Saskatchewan operations. Our talent acquisition and development practices are designed to position northerners to succeed. These practices are supported through collaboration and participation agreements with northern communities and through our community liaisons located in northern Saskatchewan. We have dedicated teams within our sustainability and stakeholder relations department at head office and human resources representatives at each of our four northern Saskatchewan operations and corporate office, who focus efforts on supporting our RSN employees.
Our investor relations objective is to provide clear, consistent, accurate, and transparent communications with the investment community to facilitate knowledgeable investment decisions. We communicate regularly with members of the investment community in various forums. As part of our long-standing objective of open communications, the board invites investors and other stakeholders to engage with board representatives by contacting the corporate secretary at email@example.com, or by writing to us at our head office.
COVID-19 and Cameco
The COVID-19 pandemic brought substantial change to the world in 2020, including how we can continue to work safely together. What hasn’t changed at Cameco is our commitment to the communities where we live, work and play. With safety as our overriding priority, we began taking rapid actions to protect employees, their families and surrounding communities as the virus gained a foothold in Canada in the first quarter of 2020.
To prevent potential community spread of the virus, the majority of our corporate workforce quickly transitioned to physically distanced, work-from-home arrangements. Our remote Cigar Lake operation in northern Saskatchewan was temporarily transitioned into safe care and maintenance and, at our Fuel Services division in Ontario, the refinery in Blind River and UF6 plant in Port Hope were also temporarily transitioned into safe care and maintenance. These measures ensured there were far fewer people on sites, physical distancing could be maximized, and new COVID-19 safety measures could be put in place. All affected employees were on paid leave during this time.
Consulting closely with health authorities and experts, and under the guidance of provincial re-opening plans, we implemented extensive new screening and protective measures at all our facilities. We continued to focus on protecting employees and our neighbouring communities as we gradually restarted production at our Ontario and Cigar Lake operations.
These COVID-19 screening and safety measures will remain in place for the foreseeable future and we continue to work closely with public health officials, particularly in the remote northern Saskatchewan area where we operate fly-in fly-out facilities.
While we developed and completed these protective measures, we also initiated two COVID-19 Response Funds for Saskatoon/northern Saskatchewan and Blind River/Northumberland County in Ontario. $1.25 million was provided for 102 local COVID-19 projects led by First Nations, charitable, and community-based organizations in Saskatchewan and Ontario.
This support included significant volumes of personal protective equipment (PPE) for northern Saskatchewan communities and First Nations – 10,000 masks, 7,000 pairs of gloves and 7,000 litres of hand sanitizer. In Ontario, we donated surplus PPE respirators and cartridges, N95 masks, respirator wipes, goggles and goggle-style safety glasses to Northumberland Hills Hospital, safety glasses to the Port Hope Police Services, and P100 masks and sanitizer to Children’s Aid and to the local hospital in Blind River.
We know COVID-19 is not going to disappear overnight. We’ve taken extensive actions to protect our people, our communities and our business and we are prepared to adjust future actions as may be needed to ensure the long-term safety and health of the people touched by Cameco’s business.
Energizing a clean-air world
Our uranium is used around the world in the generation of safe, carbon-free, affordable, base-load nuclear energy.
We believe that nuclear power is part of the climate change solution in the reduction of carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Part of our challenge is to communicate about nuclear energy, our industry and our company in a way that is accessible to all our stakeholders and answers the questions they have.
As one of the world’s largest producers of the uranium fuel needed to fuel nuclear reactors, we believe there is a significant opportunity for us to be part of the solution to combating climate change, and that we are well positioned to deliver significant long-term business value.
There is growing recognition from key global agencies, such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Union of Concerned Scientists that uranium is the cleanest energy fuel in the world, and of the role nuclear power must play in ensuring safe, reliable and affordable carbon-free electricity generation.
The International Energy Agency released a report on nuclear energy in the hopes of bringing it back into the global energy debate. The report highlighted that a steep decline in nuclear power would threaten energy security and climate change goals and result in four billion tonnes of additional carbon emissions by 2040.
We are proud that the high-grade uranium ores in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin result in Canadian uranium having among the lowest life cycle GHG emission intensity internationally, despite the constraints related to our geographic location. Nuclear power is a proven low carbon technology that can achieve vast reductions in global GHG emissions and support low carbon electrification.
Although historically not a regulatory requirement, we have tracked and reported GHG emissions for more than two decades. We continue to be focused on improving energy management and the visibility of energy consumption within our organization, with the overall goal of improving the energy intensity of our operations to create business value.
Thank you for taking an interest in Cameco’s sustainable practices. As we continue to pursue our vision of energizing a clean-air world, sustainability remains at the heart of everything we do at Cameco.
President and CEO