We support and engage with our communities.
Enbridge exists to help fuel the quality of life within communities where we work and operate. As part of our work, we support organizations that champion solutions for safety, environmental and social issues. We collaborate with community leaders to support local priorities, and we plan and implement initiatives that help improve the quality of life for residents. We also invest where we believe we can make impactful and sustainable change, and where our employees can contribute to their communities. To see where we have been investing recently in Canada and U.S., please see our Community Investments 2017 Map.
3 performance objectives:
- Investing strategically in communities where we live and operate
- Building meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities and project stakeholders
- Focusing on employee engagement through employee giving and volunteerism
Our approach to community investment is driven by need and outcomes, and reflects the values of the communities in which we operate. We use frameworks that provide us with a consistent focus, process and reporting system to help us evaluate the investments we make. We aim to demonstrate Enbridge’s commitment to: being a good corporate citizen; creating long-term sustainable benefits; supporting local initiatives that build relationship; mitigating project and operational impacts; responding to communities’ concerns; supporting employee engagement; and strengthening quality of life in the communities where we live and work.
We focus our community investments in three core areas:
We look for opportunities for our employees to get involved in community programs and strengthen their relationships with our stakeholders by working together to build shared value with our communities. To encourage employee volunteerism, Enbridge’s Our Community Partners and Helping Hands in Action programs support the organizations that are important to our employees and for which they volunteer.
In 2017, following the merger with Spectra Energy, we began a review of all community investment focus areas and programs to determine their fit with our new business objectives. We began harmonization of our enterprise community investment strategy and program in 2017 and we expect to complete that process in 2018.
Our community investments with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities occur at the corporate, project and operating level. While all community investment reported is included in this section, specific information on our project community investment is included in the Stakeholder Engagement section of this report; and for our Indigenous investments, please see the Indigenous Engagement section of this report.
Our approach to community investment is governed by our Board of Directors and by our Community Investment and Employee Engagement Policy. Our Board of Directors reviews and approves our annual community investment donation and sponsorship budgets, and all investments must comply with our Statement on Business Conduct.
We practice standardized reporting and tracking in alignment with London Benchmarking Group (LBG) Canada and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and with our internal systems. We also use an Enterprise Community Investment Decision Making Tool that provides us with consistent evaluation criteria.
To guide our ongoing relationships with communities and organizations near our projects and operations, we have Community Investment Plans that are responsive to the changing needs of our communities. In 2017, we expanded development of detailed Community Investment plans within our Regional Engagement, Indigenous Engagement and Project Engagement plans. In 2018, we will continue rolling out Community Investment Plans to the whole company.
Investing Strategically in Communities Where We Work and Operate
Our community investment program is strategic and impactful to the communities where we work and operate. We align our community investments with our core values and business strategies, and we believe the most effective social investments are made through strategic relationships with organizations dedicated to serving our communities.
In 2017, we worked closely with community organizations to focus our resources and support. Over the course of our work, we acquired an understanding of their concerns, needs and aspirations through:
- ongoing conversations with community leaders and stakeholders;
- information gathered by Enbridge representatives who live and work in our communities and who regularly meet with community representatives; and
- direct requests from employees and community organizations.
In response to what we heard, we invested more than $23.9 million during the year in Canadian and U.S. organizations that are aligned with our three focus areas: Safety, Environment and Community. The table below summarizes the amounts we invested in each of our focus areas, and some of our investment highlights in 2017.
|What||We invest in local safety initiatives and organizations that are important to communities.||We invest in programs that promote environmental stewardship, conservation, habitat remediation and environmental education.||We invest in programs and projects that make positive and lasting impacts in the communities where we live and operate.|
|Importance||Enhances the safety of our communities.
Supports our local first responders in communities across Canada and the U.S.
|Supports our commitment to environmental stewardship.
Educates communities on the importance of conservation and how they can contribute to improvement.
|Helps make our communities vibrant and attractive places for our employees and neighbors to live and work.
Enhances the culture and identity of our communities.
Contributes to employee leadership development and engagement.
|2017 Investment||~ $2.8 million||~ $2.8 million||~ $18.3 million|
|Spotlights||Safe Community Program
Miistakis Institute and the Calgary Parks Foundation
South Central Eco Institute
Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority
Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer
STEM Investments (First Robotics; Keystone Science)
*Spectra Energy focus areas differed from Enbridge and all have been included in reporting under the Community focus area.
|Amount invested||Legacy Enbridge||~ $19 million||~ $13.4 million||~ $23.91|
|Legacy Spectra Energy||~ $9.2 million||~ $10.2 million|
1 Data reflects investments by the combined company for corporate, project and operational community investment.
Safe Community Program
One of our key areas for investment in safety is through our signature Safe Community program, which provides grants to firefighters, emergency medical services, emergency management, 9-1-1 operators and other response agencies who would respond to emergency situations in or near our operational communities. The grants help eligible organizations acquire new safety-related equipment, obtain professional training and deliver or receive safety education programs. In 2017, we invested nearly $1.7 million in the Safe Community program and since its inception in 2002, we have invested about $13.3 million.
St. Louis County is Minnesota’s largest county and the country’s largest county east of the Mississippi River, which means a vast expanse in which to live, work and recreate. Emergency aid in the 7200-square-mile area is provided in part by a 60-member Rescue Squad that in 2016 responded to 437 calls involving 144 wilderness operations, 90 water operations and 156 vehicle accidents, and tallied 23,242 hours of donated time. In 2017, the Rescue Squad completed an advanced rope rescue training, which pointed to a priority need for updated rope rescue equipment for wilderness and confined space rescues. The Rescue Squad operates on a small budget and primarily through donations and grants. Enbridge values the safety and emergency response provided within the Midwest Region and granted $10,000 in 2017 to support its mission.
Shelby County provides 9-1-1 services to communities dotting 500-square-miles in Missouri, plus mutual aid to its surrounding counties. The agency initiates storm sirens and shelter information for community safety, alerts to emergency responders and law enforcement, and responses for emergency life-saving calls. When the county was challenged with a six-figure cost to upgrade its faltering 9-1-1 system, it requested financial partnership funds from Enbridge. A grant of about $12,000 funded a new logger for the system, and provided the first step in a much larger upgrade. The improvements will help ensure emergency services continue to provide safety to lives and property.
Sustainable Farm to Feature Renewable Natural Gas
180-year-old ClearWater Farm in Georgina, Ontario already enjoys significant ecological street cred. Its artisanal kitchen uses organically grown produce from local farms to prepare delicious food for those who prefer to buy fresh and local fare. They also train future 'agri-preneurs' in their summer camps, connecting kids to nature and providing a field-to-fork food experience unlike any other.
However, what really caught the attention of Enbridge Gas Distribution (EGD) was ClearWater Farm’s plans for an onsite bio-digester to turn locally generated organics—from local grocery stores, farms, etc.—into renewable natural gas (RNG) that can be used to heat their greenhouses and fuel farm vehicles. Also, the remaining 'digestate' can be used as a nutrient-rich fertilizer for the farm, helping grow more produce that will in turn create more feedstock for the bio-digester.With funding from EGD, camp kids and farm visitors will learn first-hand about this innovative application of RNG through onsite experiential displays showing that organic feedstocks need never be wasted.
"RNG is an important part of the future of our utility," said Anne Creery, EGD’s Director of Public Affairs and Communications. "ClearWater Farm is a great example of how RNG can be part of a sustainable future."
Lower Thames Valley Conservation AuthorityFor over a decade, Union Gas and the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) in Ontario have been partners in environmental education, conservation and restoration. LTVCA’s core values of ‘respect, integrity, commitment, objectivity and collaborative’ are strongly aligned with those of Union Gas and Enbridge. Over the last 10 years, Union Gas has supported numerous LTVCA projects and programs—from biodiversity education to conservation and restoration projects.
In 2017, Union Gas supported the development of the Walter Devereux Conservation Area into a 32-hectare (80-acre) farm-demonstration site. “Visitors can walk the 2.5-kilometer trail to learn about best management practices on their farms, including cover crops, soil management, windbreaks, forest products, selective harvesting, bio fuel and uses for tall grass prairie,” explained Randall Van Wagner, LTVCA’s Manager of Conservation Lands and Services.
In addition to financial support, Union Gas employees, retirees, family and friends have invested hours of ‘sweat equity ‘in environmentally focused community projects. Through the Helping Hands in Action program, Union Gas volunteers planted trees and a prairie garden at the LTVCA’s C.M. Wilson Conservation Area to help restore the area and to showcase nature and wildlife for the local community.
Enbridge Riverwatch Program with the South Central Eco Institute
At Enbridge, we place great importance on environmental stewardship and investing in the communities where we live and work. In 2017, as part of our partnership with the South Central Eco Institute in Manitoba, we were proud to fund Riverwatch, an international river-monitoring program.
“The Riverwatch Program gives students a chance to work alongside conservation professionals to learn about the protection of our ecosystems," said Lyle Meena, Enbridge’s General Manager, Central Region. “It’s important for younger generations to learn about our water sources so they’re there for generations to come.” In June, Meena joined junior-high-school students and teachers from Nellie McClung Collegiate in Manitou, Manitoba as they tested out the program at sites along the Pembina River and learned about river monitoring and the importance of protecting our water sources.
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
Union Gas is a proud Gold Sponsor of the FIRST Robotics Competition, which challenges teams of high school students to design and build robots for competition. One of the teams we sponsored was the C.K. Cyber Pack, a new team from Kent County, Ontario that in their first year of competition in 2015 won the Rookie All-Star Award at the Windsor-Essex Great Lakes Regional competition, qualifying them to compete in the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri. The team has since gone on to compete at several regional events in Ontario in 2016 and 2017.
Eighty-five percent of the students who participated on a FIRST Robotics team across Ontario said they plan to study or pursue a career in a field involving science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Seventy percent of the students who plan to study or pursue a career in STEM attribute their decision to participating in FIRST Robotics. These students are poised to contribute to the economic well-being of society and perhaps even Union Gas and Enbridge employees of the future.
Keystone Science School
For the past 15 years, Enbridge has partnered with the Keystone Science School (KSS) educator programs to address Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning by training teachers through the students’ perspective. In 2017, Enbridge sponsored nine teachers from Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Oklahoma and Illinois to attend an all-expenses-paid, week-long session. The training provides the potential to reach thousands of students each year with innovative STEM education. The KSS educator series aligns with our commitment to environmental education and stewardship. The partnership helps us maintain social license by contributing to citizens becoming better informed about science.
For more information on our environment investments and partnerships, please see the Environmental Management Systems section.
Building Meaningful Relationships with Indigenous Communities
In 2017, Enbridge continued its long-standing support for educational, safety and cultural initiatives with Indigenous communities, investing more than $1.7 million. We foster long-term relationships built on trust and respect. In 2017, we also supported environmental and sustainable energy initiatives in their communities.
Some examples of our Indigenous community investment include:
- Through the Energy Futures Lab, we supported the Iron and Earth Solar Skills Program, providing solar installation skills training to energy workers and Indigenous community members. This pilot program supported the installation of a solar system at a community daycare at the Louis Bull Tribe in Alberta.
- Enbridge Aboriginal Home Program in partnership with Habitat for Humanity supported building homes for Indigenous families as part of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, as well as supporting the building of homes with the Tyendinaga Mohawk Community in Ontario.
- We supported a transformational reading incentive program at Tsi Snaihne School, which is governed by the Ahkwesãhsne Mohawk Board of Education in Ontario.
For more information about our Indigenous investments, please see the Indigenous Engagement section of this report.
Focusing on Employee Engagement through Employee Giving and Volunteerism
Volunteerism is a vital part of who we are as an organization. Giving back to the community provides our employees with the opportunity to work with other employees they may not engage with on a regular basis, provides a great deal of personal satisfaction and allows our employees to gain valuable leadership skills.
Enbridge’s Our Community Partners and Helping Hands in Action employee engagement programs provide support to employees who wish to contribute their time and dollars to local charitable organizations and programs. These important programs help employees to make a difference in our communities and further improve quality of life. In 2017, these volunteer programs were run separately, but they will be integrated in 2018.
- More than 700 employees participated in the Our Community Partners program, volunteering over 12,000 hours for causes they care about, and the company supported their efforts with over $212,000 in volunteer grants.
- Helping Hands in Action awarded $334,670 in grants, $821,000 in matching gifts and completed 356 projects focused on improving quality of life in communities.
Energy poverty is an issue facing developing countries around the world. Access to basic needs, including electricity, can be difficult due to remote areas and a lack of infrastructure and funding.
Our energy4everyone (e4e) program helps bring light to areas of the world that need it the most. Enbridge partners with Light Up the World for the e4e program to provide Enbridge employees with the opportunity to install solar photovoltaic systems in remote locations.
In 2017, 20 of our employees contributed two weeks of their time on Energy4Everyone volunteer assignments in Peru, designing and installing 10 solar projects that brought light and power to numerous families and schools in remote villages that are not connected to the energy grid.
A Conversation with Kent Lewarne, Program Coordinator, South Central Eco Institute
1) Please tell us about your organization?
The South Central Eco Institute (the Institute) was formed soon after a Partners Forum in 2009 that brought together school representatives and other organizations, including three conservation districts, in south-central Manitoba. Forum participants expressed a strong interest in water quality in the Lake Winnipeg Basin.
The Institute’s primary focus is water-resource management, and our members include representatives from the academic community, local government, eco-environmental trades and agencies, and interested community members. Enbridge stepped up as a lead sponsor in 2010 and has been a strong, supportive partner ever since.
The Institute’s main goal is to affirm both the importance of water to our lives and the important role played by the experts who manage water resources. Another goal is to foster local ownership of water stewardship. In support of these goals, we link up schools with our regional conservation districts so that they can work together. Our primary educational initiative is the Enbridge Riverwatch Program, which to-date has seen hundreds of students track water-quality information from the Lake Winnipeg watershed.
Through Riverwatch, students work alongside conservation professionals to collect water samples using field-grade equipment and analyze the samples for various water-quality parameters—dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, water temperature, orthophosphates, etc. These data are then uploaded to the Institute’s website where, once approved, are publicly accessible. We now have in the range of 1,000 data sets; but, more importantly, each data set represents the students who have been in the field, learning about water quality in the Lake Winnipeg Basin.
2) How has the partnership with Enbridge advanced your programs/goals?
To put it bluntly, the Riverwatch program would not have been possible without the support of Enbridge. In our original grant application, we set out 10 primary goals and we’ve gone a long way to achieving all of them.
I’ll speak directly to our first goal, and that is we’ve improved our students’ awareness of both surface and ground-water resources, our sustainable use of water and the quality of the water supply. They’ve worked on high-level research projects, including phosphorus in a local lake, the suitability of a local reservoir for fishing and land management around sloughs. And because our students work closely with our conservation-district partners, our students are also learning about career options in water-related and environmental fields.
3) What are some of the highlights of the 2017 program, and why were they particularly successful?
One actually happened in early 2018, but I still consider it part of the 2017 program. The Institute was invited to participate in the International Water Institute's River Watch Forum held in Grand Forks, North Dakota. A contingent of 15 students and four teachers representing four Manitoba high schools attended the conference of 300+ like-minded students and teachers. Our attendees learned a lot, and we now have many new ideas we want work on with our Riverwatch groups.
Also in 2017, representatives of the Institute attended a roundtable hosted by the International Peace Garden, which is located adjacent to the International Peace Garden Border Crossing between North Dakota and Manitoba. Many like-minded organizations discussed the collaboration and direction of student watershed education in Canada and the U.S. It was an amazing discussion, which led the Institute to form a partnership with the Fort Whyte Alive nature centre and wildlife refuge in Winnipeg that is now offering the Riverwatch program inside the perimeter of Winnipeg.
And finally, I have to say that you cannot imagine the feeling when you’re out in the field with a group of students and seeing them realize they are part of a huge watershed! Many students arrive not even knowing the name of the river they’re studying, but they leave with a concept of the entire Lake Winnipeg watershed—from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the four U.S. states in the south and north to Hudson Bay. That’s why I love every minute of this job—seeing great teachers and great students not only sharing a memorable learning experience, but also gaining a greater understanding of their relationship with the environment and the importance of respecting and protecting our water resources.