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Sustainability Practitioner Programme

Sustainability Practitioner Programme

16–18 March 2015, Diemersfontein, South Africa

Crowd in Africa 

As ecological, social and economic systems come under increasing pressure the role of sustainability management within large organisations is becoming more complex and more central to business success.

The Sustainability Practitioner Programme enables managers in the private or public sector to influence and guide their organisation in the direction of an integrated approach to sustainability across all functions.

The programme has been run by our Cape Town office in South Africa since 2004 and is widely regarded as the most effective of its kind.

Delegates will become members of the international Cambridge Sustainability Network, which engages members through events throughout the year and offers exclusive publications for those wanting to learn more about sustainability and business.


This seminar is designed for managers in organisations from the private or public sector to equip them with a high-level understanding of sustainability. Sustainability is no longer simply a bolt-on to a ‘business-as-usual’ approach, but is something that must become deeply embedded in the day-to-day operations of an organisation.

The seminar will give participants exposure to the critical social and environmental pressures, assessing their impact on organisations, developing systems for responding creatively to them, and how to integrate these systems into their organisation’s operations and strategy. The participants will deepen their thinking with peers and will leave feeling empowered to convey to their executive/line managers the business logic of placing sustainability at the core of strategy.


There will be exposure to cutting-edge thinking and practice from the faculty and guest contributors.

Delegates will also spend valuable time in small group discussions, where they will start to shape and refine their own strategy and sphere of influence for when they return to their organisation.

Each delegate will be allocated to a syndicate group for the duration of the workshop. This syndicate group is facilitated by a member of faculty and is a place where focused reflection on the ideas that emerge in the workshop can take place.

Indicative Seminar Outline

Indicative seminar outline


Delegates and faculty of the Sustainability Practitioner Programme, 2010

The seminar is designed for middle to senior managers in organisations from the private or public sector to equip them with a high-level understanding of sustainability.

Previous Delegates

Download a list of previous delegates from 2006–2013.

Elspeth DonovanElspeth Donovan, Deputy Director, CISL South African Office

Having joined CISL in 2008, Elspeth is also a tutor on the Anglo American Advanced Social Management programme. From 2003–2006 she was the director of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School MBA. She was instrumental in the introduction of the Modular MBA programme and introduced ‘The Role of Business in Society’ as an integrating course on the MBA. From 2006 she was an independent executive education consultant. She designed and directed various leadership programmes for companies through the UCT Graduate School of Business. Elspeth also led the design of the entire curriculum for TSIBA Education, an innovative Cape Town business school for students from impoverished backgrounds and is Chair of the Board of Christel House South Africa, a privately run school for children from impoverished backgrounds. Elspeth has a BSc and an MBA from University of Cape Town.


Accommodation and Facilities


The workshop will be held at Diemersfontein, Wellington, Western Cape. Diemersfontein is known for its beauty, informal elegance, and grace – an idyllic wine estate only 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town and situated near the Cape's famous Wine Routes.

Thokozani Conferences at Diemersfontein offers the perfect setting for conferences. A combination of fresh country air and breathtaking scenery, coupled with well-equipped conference facilities lends itself to renewed inspiration and creativity.

Thokozani's tranquil and rustic setting will positively influence all delegates, taking the day-to-day city life out of the equation and placing them in a relaxed state of mind.

Location and Map

Delegates must make their own travel arrangements to and from the venue. For a map and directions, please visit the Diemersfontein website.

How to Apply

To apply for the Sustainability Practitioner Programme, please provide us with the initial information requested in this form, and a member of our team will then be in touch.

Please note that you will need to complete the online application form in one sitting, so please ensure that you have all required information with you.

Programme Fees

The fees cover seminar materials, accommodation and all meals during the seminar. Fees do not include travel costs.

Diemersfontein, South Africa

The fee for local delegates from Southern Africa is R14 450 +VAT and for overseas delegates is £2,250. 

Cambridge Sustainability Network

The fee also covers membership of the Cambridge Sustainability Network, which now has over 4,000 members globally.

Information for Delegates

Seminar Style

The Seminar has been designed to be highly intensive and participatory, with a minimum of formal lectures and the maximum opportunity for dialogue, debate and analysis.

Plenary Presentations

Plenary presentations are generally limited to between 20 and 30 minutes, leaving ample time for questions and general discussion.

Syndicate Sessions

Delegates gather regularly in small syndicate groups, each facilitated by a Core Faculty member who will work with the group throughout the Seminar. These sessions allow delegates to tackle key issues in greater depth and analyse themes in relation to their own experience. They also prepare delegates for later sessions in the Programme, ensuring that they are in a position to make maximum use of the presentations and discussion that follow.

Each delegate will be asked to introduce themselves in the first syndicate session. You will be asked to describe your role and responsibilities within your organisation, and any key achievements/challenges within the organisation with regard to sustainable development. Discussion will then lead on to each delegate's key expectations of the Seminar.  

Advance Preparation

In advance of each Seminar, delegates are asked to read a small selection of briefing materials. Links to these materials will be provided on your Seminar web page and you will also be sent an email with full details.

Seminar Materials

Seminar papers and presentations, speeches and workshops will be made available on the Programme’s password-protected Alumni Network website after the seminar. Paper copies will not be provided unless specifically requested at the Seminar.

Dress Requirements

In order to encourage a relaxed and informal atmosphere, participants are welcome to wear casual dress rather than formal business attire.

Terms and Conditions

Acceptance on to a Programme

Acceptance on to a programme is by application and selection only. All applications are reviewed by the Selection Committee, which seeks to achieve the optimum balance of participants on each programme in terms of geographical spread, industry sector, gender, and area of expertise.  

Delegate Participation

The CISL seminar/workshop process involves group work which can be disrupted by the absence of a delegate from any part of the event. Participants are therefore required to be in residence on-site throughout the programme and be able to attend all sessions.

Membership of the Cambridge Sustainability Network is also conditional upon full attendance.  

Applying for a Visa for Entering or Studying in the United Kingdom

Please note that all programme participants are responsible for arranging their own visa for entry into the UK, should one be required. CISL can provide an official invitation letter for the programme in order to facilitate the obtaining of a visa specifically for the dates on which the programme takes place. If you will require this, please contact us no less than four weeks prior to the programme date.  


Programme places are to be guaranteed with a purchase order number or credit card details. Invoices are payable within 30 days of invoice date.  


On certain programmes, a limited number of bursaries are available to support the participation of delegates from developing or emerging economies, or from the public sector or NGOs who would otherwise be unable to participate.  


Cancellations are non-refundable, however a 25% discount may be offered on a future or alternative programme. A request to transfer will be subject to the Selection Committee's approval and may not be possible.

Programme places are not transferable to other participants; substitutions will be accepted only at the discretion of the Selection Committee.  

Accompanying Spouses/Wider Participation

Unfortunately it is not possible to cater for accompanying spouses or other guests. The seminars are very intensive, and numbers of participants restricted, thus only delegates and speakers may attend the sessions.  


In the event of non-payment, we reserve the right to refuse admittance to programme events. Within accredited programmes, submitted assignments will not be assessed and the candidate will not be recommended for an award of credit.

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"I thoroughly enjoyed the course. It was well presented and I enjoyed the people – we will definitely stay in touch. I would advise other sustainability managers to attend."   
Discovery Health

Contact Us

For more details, please contact:

Magda de Kok,
Operations Manager,
Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership,
PO Box 313,
Cape Town 8000, South Africa

T: +27 (0)21 469 4765