Speaking at the Second Australasian Emissions Trading Industry Forum in Sydney, Australia, last March, P. Hopkins of Suncor Energy Australia summarized the company’s plan for sustainable development. "Some would advocate ending the development of hydrocarbon energy and adopting renewable resources to generate energy," Hopkins said. "But Suncor favors pursuing a parallel path approach for managing change--promoting the development of alternative energy sources while continuing to develop hydrocarbon resources responsibly to meet the growing global need for energy."

Over the long term, renewable and alternative sources of energy offer important potential as alternatives to traditional hydrocarbon energy. Some industry experts even predict that the contribution of renewable energy sources globally could become significant over the next 20 to 30 years, as they become more competitive.

Suncor is participating in the Stuart Project, an oil shale development project in Queensland that could lead to a new industry in Australia. At the same time, the company is actively developing opportunities in alternative and renewable energy. As examples, Hopkins cited the following:

Hopkins concludes by saying, "As an energy producer, we are vital contributors to the economic and social well-being of Canada and North America. With the Stuart Project, Suncor’s goal is to play a valuable role in the economic future of Australia. Fossil fuels and Australia’s oil shale resources are a fundamental element of our society’s economic strength now, and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future--especially if we pursue their development from the context of sustainable development."

Hopkins notes that Suncor has learned a lot in a short period of time. The principles for action, which Suncor believes are fundamental to the path forward on sustainable development, include:

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