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Satellites take sustainability to new heights
Date:3/25/2008

Shell Canada has incorporated Earth Observation data into its Sustainable Development Report, demonstrating the potential of satellites to provide a global and cost-effective way to measure objectively the sustainability of business activities.

Companies that aim to create wealth while also contributing to the long-term quality of life and respect for the environment regularly issue environmental audits of their Corporate Sustainable Development (CSD) activities and report on the 'triple bottom line' of economic, social and environmental impacts. In order to quantify sustainability, accurate and timely information on the state of the environment is needed, which Earth Observation (EO) from space can provide.

"Unbiased, timed satellite images help build stakeholder trust because they clearly illustrate the activities taking place in our oil sands mine leases," Ashley Nixon, Sustainable Development Integration Manager at Shell Canada, said.

"They present clear, accessible visuals, provide objective information on development and eventual reclamation of our oil sands leases and help us in our reporting on environmental performance."

In 2005, ESA began working with large multinational companies as part of its Earth Observation Support for Corporate Sustainable Development Reporting (EO-CSD) project to integrate satellite data into CSD reporting practices across a wide variety of industrial sectors.

Under the project, Hatfield Consultants, an environmental consultancy firm based in Canada, led a team working with Shell Canada and Albian Sands Energy to provide EO-based geo-information to support environmental management and monitoring related to the exploitation of their Athabasca oil sands located in the north of the province of Alberta. Occupying some 141 000 sq km, the Athabasca oil sands are estimated to be the second largest known oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia.

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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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