COSIA is a one-of-a-kind innovation hub. It has put globally precedent-setting legal and governance structures in place that allow its members, normally competitors in all aspects, to collaborate on environmental improvement like never before. But, when you get right down to it, COSIA is all about its member company employees. People who are keen about technology; people who are inspired by collaboration; and people who are dedicated to aggressively accelerate environmental performance improvement (EPI) in Canada’s oil sands.
At Shell, these people are the ‘geeks and gurus’ bringing COSIA to life within the company. Kim Code, Shell’s VP, In Situ for Heavy Oil, and COSIA Shareholder Steering Committee member, believes they are the key to ensuring EPI success both within COSIA and Shell.
In order to fully operationalize COSIA you need three things, says Kim.
A framework that allows otherwise fierce competitors to work collaboratively on environmental technologies to achieve environmental performance improvement across the industry; you need an internal structure that integrates the environmental performance focus into every level of the business; and most importantly you need employees who want to make a difference.
For Shell, COSIA’s collaborative model integrated well into their oil sands business structure, which already had a centralized group of experts working on performance improvement in areas that align with COSIA’s Environmental Priority Areas (EPAs) of Land, Water, Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and Tailings. The role of these people is to provide support and expertise to the business to ensure decisions are made with these priorities in mind.
Shell built on that original model, adding a full-time person whose primary accountability is integrating COSIA into Shell. And that small group of experts – Shell’s ‘geeks and gurus’ - are now dedicated leaders for each of the EPA areas, each tasked with assisting the business and in supporting decisions around environmental performance improvements.
In many cases, these leads sit on COSIA’s EPA steering committees, which allow them to be part of the collective knowledge and expertise sharing among the 13 member companies who make up COSIA, and to put that expertise to work in Shell.
We truly believe that COSIA is a vehicle that will allow us to accelerate our environmental performance improvement, says Kim.
We also believe we can share our knowledge and support our fellow companies to assist them in their environmental efforts.
Kim and her team wanted to make sure that knowledge didn’t just sit with the EPI Leads, but wove its way through every aspect of the business. They kick-started this process by profiling the individuals leading in each of the EPAs, focusing on their passion for environmental improvement and for sharing that knowledge with their peers. The result was Shell’s internal ‘Geeks and Gurus’ campaign.
We call ourselves geeks, others might call us gurus, but the main point is we want the rest of our Shell Canada Heavy Oil team to know that there are experts in these areas who not only care about solving our environmental challenges, but that in Shell we are empowering them to do that, says Kim (Guru campaign alias ‘Live Wire’).
So our ‘Geeks and Gurus’ campaign was born.
The resulting campaign has provided a way for Shell to get its thousands of employees in Canada involved in EPI. Aimed at everyone from the Country Chair to newest intern, the ‘Geeks and Gurus’ internal campaign is intended as a fun and engaging way to help employees understand Shell’s relationship with COSIA and how they can contribute to environmental performance improvement at an individual level.
Kim says while the COSIA vision of improving environmental performance through collaboration and innovation is in line with Shell’s values, it is also important for employees to understand how they help achieve that vision.
Like any big change, I think we are only part way through this journey. I’m so proud of our industry for forming COSIA, says Kim.
The environment is important to all Canadians. COSIA has allowed us to put structures in place both between and within companies to enable each of us to ‘do the right thing’ as we strive to accelerate environmental performance improvement in Canada’s oil sands.