Message from our CEO
In a year marked by historic challenges,
I am incredibly proud of our people and how they continued to focus on safety, protect the environment, and support our communities. They did all of this while delivering on our strategy, creating value for our stakeholders, and advancing our vision of energizing a clean-air world.
At Cameco, serving the interests of our stakeholders has always been at the heart of what we do. We do this not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because we recognize it adds significant business value. In this report, I am pleased to share Cameco’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and progress in 2020.
From the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we said “people first, safety first”, and our actions and results have demonstrated our dedication to those values. In 2020, despite the profound disruptions from the pandemic, we achieved our best ever safety performance as measured by Total Recordable Injury Rate and experienced the first calendar year in our history without a lost-time injury.
To protect the health and well-being of our workforce, their families, and our communities, especially the remote ones, we proactively suspended production at several of our operations (both uranium and fuel services) and introduced additional safety protocols. We also restricted business travel and asked employees at our corporate office to work remotely from home. While our operations were suspended, we kept our workforce strong and did not lay off workers. I think we made the right decision consistent with our values. During this time of significant economic uncertainty, we also supported communities by creating a $1 million COVID-19 Relief Fund that benefited 67 projects in Saskatchewan, and another $250,000 relief fund to support communities near our operations in Ontario.
I am impressed with how our people went ‘above and beyond’ to give back through their contributions, donations and volunteer efforts to support others during this difficult time.
We are honoured to call northern Saskatchewan the home of our largest operations, and I am grateful to work alongside many talented Indigenous employees at Cameco. I started in the industry in 1979 as a student, and even then I was amazed by how closely the industry worked with local and Indigenous communities in northern Saskatchewan.
The discoveries of hundreds of unmarked graves this past year at former residential schools were harrowing reminders of Canada’s complex relationship with Indigenous Peoples and are a sad and shameful stain on the history of our country. Cameco stands with the calls for justice, truth, and reconciliation in the months and years ahead. While we unfortunately cannot change the past, we can try to help with the healing and focus on creating a better future together. We are committed to continuing to work with our Indigenous partners to celebrate the rich culture and heritage of Indigenous Peoples and to continue to create opportunities for shared value creation.
Environmental stewardship is embedded in how we operate. We strive to be increasingly efficient in our use of resources and we work to minimize our impacts on land, water and air consistent with the ambition of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise. Across our operations, we comply with strict regulations and have systems in place to monitor and mitigate our impacts. In addition to our own rigorous environmental monitoring, we collaborate with communities around our operations to give confidence to local communities that traditionally harvested foods remain safe to eat and water remains safe to drink. In 2020, the Mining Association of Canada awarded Cameco one of its prestigious Towards Sustainable Mining® Excellence Awards, in recognition of the Community Based Environmental Monitoring Program and its innovative focus on bridging traditional and scientific knowledge. This program engages local residents in water and food sampling, which provides opportunities for employment, training, and business development. We are encouraged by this recognition and motivated to continue supporting this important work.
In everything we do, we are guided by our value of integrity. I am pleased to share that after years of litigation with Canada Revenue Agency, the dispute is fully and finally resolved in our favour as the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the appeal. The Supreme Court of Canada decision means that we are validated in our approach and that Cameco’s marketing structure and behaviour through this period were in full compliance with Canada’s Income Tax Act. We remain committed to continuing to comply with applicable laws while we uphold our values.
Now, more than ever, I am convinced that the future is bright for our industry and for our company. There is higher demand for clean, baseload electricity as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy, and I believe that nuclear power must play a role in this transition. Growing demand for nuclear power means growing demand for uranium.
Cameco is committed to being part of the solution to address climate change. We support climate action that is consistent with the ambition of the Paris Agreement and the Canadian government's commitment to the agreement to limit global temperature rise to less than 2oC and we know that this means the world needs to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. We are actively working to understand how we can decarbonize our business towards our own ambition of net-zero GHG emissions. As a pure-play supplier of the uranium fuel needed to produce carbon-free electricity, we are excited about our vision of energizing a clean-air world and continuing to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Cameco’s journey is one of continual improvement. We published our first sustainability report in 2005 and, since then, have been evolving, learning, and adapting. In this report, we are taking the first steps toward providing information to our investors on climate-related risks and opportunities, and we plan to progress those disclosures in the next few years. We also want to see our workforce better reflect the diversity of the communities in which we work and to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in trades and technical positions. We know that so much is possible if we continually seek opportunities to learn from the past and keep making improvements for the future.
I want to thank our employees who showed incredible resilience, our communities who continued to support us, our investors who remained steadfast in their belief in the role of nuclear, and our leadership team for stepping up and working together seamlessly during a crisis.
President and Chief Executive Officer