Canadian Natural Resources Ltd (CNRL)

InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
Relationship Score
Calgary, Canada
Official Web Site:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) does not appear to be fully supporting progressive policy to respond to climate change. CNRL maintains support for a high GHG energy mix, especially a long-term role for fossil gas in the future energy mix.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) appears to have a mixed stance on climate policy in its top-line messaging. In June 2021, CNRL and other major Canadian oil sands producers formed an alliance called Oil Sands Pathway to Net-Zero, through which it stated support for the net-zero by 2050 target and the Paris Agreement. As of December 2021, the company’s corporate website recognizes climate change as a “global issue” and supports GHG emissions reductions, although it is unclear if it is aligned with IPCC recommended timelines for emissions reduction. Through its 2020 Stewardship Report published in August 2021, the company has stated support for Canada’s commitments in the Paris Agreement and supported the efforts to limit global warming below 2°C.

CNRL has stated support for government regulation to respond to climate change. For instance, in its website in February 2021, the company supported the need for “strong environmental policy and regulation”. On the contrary, there is evidence to suggest that the company may not fully support ambitious policy. For instance, on its website, when accessed in 2021, the company stated that climate regulations should not compromise the competitiveness of energy intensive, trade exposed industries.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: CNRL appears to have mixed engagement with specific climate regulations. CNRL states on its website that they are “not engaged on aspects of broader climate policy beyond the oil and natural gas industry, including broad-based carbon tax”. However, it appears that CNRL has actively lobbied on elements of climate change policy. For example, in March 2020, President Tim McKay signed an open letter to the federal government calling for the planned increase to the federal carbon tax to be postponed due to COVID-19. Furthermore, while CNRL has maintained support for a carbon pricing scheme such as a carbon tax since 2016, as the 2021 CDP response shows, this support seems contingent on allowances for energy-intensive industries and revenues being directed toward developing technologies. In June 2019, CNRL stated support for the Alberta Climate Leadership Plan, which includes policies to implement GHG emissions standards.

In its 2021 CDP response, CNRL appeared to support methane regulations with major exceptions, calling for regulations to be “implemented in a staged approach” and reflect reductions in emissions already achieved.

Positioning on Energy Transition: CNRL does not appear to be fully supporting the transition of the energy mix. As of December 2021, CNRL maintains support for a growing role for fossil gas in the energy mix without clear conditions related to the deployment of CCS. Its website goes on to claim that as the world’s demand for energy increases, “significant crude oil and natural gas resources will need to be developed”. CNRL’s registration on the Alberta Lobbyist Registry shows from August 2020 to December 2021 it has lobbied policymakers for an ongoing role for fossil gas in the energy mix as part of the phase out of coal. Additionally, over the same period, it has lobbied for new financial subsidies to support the oil and gas industry for the COVID-19 pandemic relief. In August 2019, CNRL called for Canadian voters to pressure politicians to support the Albertan oil sands industry. Through its membership of the Oil Sands Pathway to Net-Zero alliance in 2021, it recognizes the need to reduce emissions from oil sands and the important role played by alternative energy sources. However, in the same source, it also highlights the need for fossil fuels upto 2050 and the continuation of tax credits for oil sands production.

Industry Association Governance: Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) appears to show limited transparency on its membership of industry associations and does not appear to have undertaken an audit of its industry associations’ lobbying on climate change policy. CNRL has disclosed its membership of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the Mining Association of Canada, and Oil & Gas UK, all of which appear to be engaging negatively on climate change policy. However, CNRL has not disclosed further details of each of these organizations’ climate change policy positions or indicated whether CNRL’s climate change policy positions are aligned with the industry associations in question.

Strength of Relationship

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.