Sustainable development means continued economic growth for all nations. To achieve this the petroleum industry needs to be viewed as part of the solution instead of part of the problem. Thomas Knudsen, senior vice president government affairs and communications at ConocoPhillips, told participants at the Offshore Technology Conference to treat sustainable development as an opportunity instead of a threat. Working toward sustainable development is not altruism, it's a necessity, he said.
The challenge for industry is to develop resources to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The world cannot flourish if a large number of people remain poor, he said.
Knudsen explained that sustainable development is achieved through commitment, creativity, and cooperation. The industry needs to work to find creative ways of multiplying nature's resources, he said. Knudsen pointed to nature as a model. "In nature, every output (waste) is input for another process," he said.
The winners in this century will be the companies that achieve sustainable development, Knudsen said.