A new take on biodiversity impact at Shell Scotford
As a trusted voice of industry in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) supports their member companies in protecting air, land and water, but also helps foster value alignment and positive company cultures that make the co-existence of biodiversity in and around industry operations a priority. In recent years, member company Shell Scotford has undertaken an inclusive approach to reduce their impact on local biodiversity, making the birds and bees an essential part of their operations.
Along the banks of the North Saskatchewan river, the Scotford complex is home to a wide range of wildlife, including birds, mammals and bees. While the company uses deterrents to reduce safety risks to wildlife around some industry operations, they have also engaged in new ways to reduce disruption to the natural rhythms of the ecosystem. Scotford’s Powering Progress Strategy includes integrating better timing of certain activities, avoiding certain areas of the site, as well as paying close attention to operations design. It also includes investing in conversation and taking steps to safeguard, and where possible, enhance local environments.
One of their most successful programs has been the Peregrine Falcon nesting box. Peregrines are considered an at-risk species in Canada, with approximately 60-75 breeding pairs in Alberta. The first falcons chose Scotford as home in 2017. Following that, the company partnered with the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) to erect a nesting box for the falcon pair and their young to nest safely on the site in Spring 2022. A falcon web cam has been a huge source of interest, allowing anyone to monitor the raptors’ activity. Being able to watch the birds in action has also been key in building awareness and involving the workforce in a growing company-wide culture built on environmental stewardship. Biodiversity is not seen as a “nuisance” but as a gift that is essential to the well-being of the ecosystem, as well as the ongoing operations of the company.
Watch the live Falcon cam here.
A new sense of collective responsibility has also grown with the honeybee projects. Local beekeepers who work at Scotford manage the hives and harvest the honey, which was sold locally in 2022, with proceeds donated to United Way. The trickle-down effect of getting creative with symbiotic relationships has also invited in external organizations and expertise, such as the ACA and Alberta Environment & Protected Areas. This multi-disciplinary approach to the ongoing operations at Scotford is not only about co-existence with wildlife, but also contributes to research and education of these important migratory birds, and other species.