Gord Lambert believes today’s graduates are owed a more collaborative playing field, if we expect them to solve tomorrow’s problems.
“I see these young people who have a passion for the environment, a passion for their communities and they want to make a difference. In that regard, our universities are producing fantastic young people,” Lambert said. “But we need to work on our public discourse. We are defaulting to polarizing views on a lot of daunting challenges versus convening as diverse interests with diverse perspectives to try and solve tough problems.
“For students today, they must resist the temptation to follow that polarizing path and be willing to move to a collaborative model and harness that diversity for positive outcomes.”
Lambert will have an opportunity to help prepare tomorrow’s leaders for that challenge, as he was recently named Suncor Sustainability Executive-in-Residence (EIR) at the Ivey Business School. As the former Suncor VP-Sustainability, Lambert brings 36 years of experience in the oil and gas sector and sustainable development strategy to the position.
During his three-year appointment as Sustainability Executive-in-Residence, Lambert will support both the Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre and Ivey’s Centre for Building Sustainable Value. Sponsored by the Suncor Energy Foundation (SEF), the role will include guest speaking in the classroom, writing cases or white papers, participating in panels and conferences and being involved in community outreach initiatives.
Lambert traces his connections to sustainability back to the landmark Brundtland Commission in 1983, as well as his later direct involvement in the Rio Earth Summit and related events in the early 1990s.
“Those moments formalized my curiosity in how the environment and the economy are very much linked,” he said.
Lambert has a strong relationship with Ivey. He is a graduate of the school’s Executive Program, an advisory board member for the Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre and Network for Business Sustainability, and has participated in Ivey events as a guest speaker.
“We are excited about Gord Lambert’s appointment at Ivey. Not only has he led Suncor’s sustainability policy for the last decade, he is also a leader in collaborations and innovations in the oil sands sector,” said Ivey professor Tima Bansal, director of Ivey’s Centre for Building Sustainable Value and executive director of the Network for Business Sustainability. “I am confident his experiences will help to inspire Ivey students and companies throughout Canada.”
After a 17-year career at Suncor, Lambert recently retired from his role as executive advisor, sustainability and innovation. Currently, he is the president and chief collaboration officer of GRL Collaboration for Sustainability Incorporated.