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The Prince of Wales's Business & Sustainability Programme

The Prince of Wales's Business & Sustainability Programme (BSP)

Delegates from the April 2014 seminar discuss the programme

This year marks the 20th anniversary of The Prince of Wales’s Business and Sustainability Programme (BSP). Launched shortly after the first Rio Earth Summit as the Business and Environment Programme, this ground-breaking initiative recognised that the contribution from the business community to the sustainability debate was critical. Since then the programme has influenced over 2,200 leaders representing some 1,000 organisations from more than 75 countries.

BSP is a unique forum, established in 1994 by The Prince of Wales and the University of Cambridge. It provides a strategic forum for senior decision makers and key executives to explore innovative and pragmatic approaches to reconciling profitability and sustainability. The Programme has established a reputation as the leading international, cross-industry and cross-sector forum for sustainable business.

BSP seminars address the successful management of change. The primary audience of the seminars, which are delivered internationally, comprises corporate senior leaders and senior decision makers from government, international agencies and non-governmental organisations who interact closely with businesses.

Delegates will be led by an expert Faculty composed of practitioners and academics to develop an understanding of global trends, enabling delegates to find strategic and practical ways to integrate social and environmental solutions into their decision-making processes.

Apply Now

To apply for the seminar please complete the application form.

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.

The Prince of Wales's Business & Sustainability Programme

Where Are the Seminars Run?

Individual seminars are run in Cape Town, South Africa, Cambridge, UKSão Paulo, BrazilMelbourne, Australia.

Frequently asked questions.

BSP 20th Anniversary Global Map

Map of our seminars over the last 20 years

"Journey – context – solutions. Great way to take us through it."
Mary Sharrock, Nestlé Purina

Each seminar begins with a rapid but deep immersion in the key challenges of unsustainability, material risks and opportunities these pose, as well as key trends in response. It then explores the actions that companies can take to enhance their competitive advantage, as well as opportunities for system-level interventions that will create an enabling context for long-term corporate sustainability and profitability.

Indicative seminar outline

The Challenge and Need for Change The Response Taking Action
Framing the context: Current state of play

• Climate and energy
• Resource security
• Poverty and equity
External pressures and expectations:

• Civil Society
• Regulators
• Investors
Mechanisms for change:

• Innovation and collaboration
• Sectoral responses
Drivers, Interconnections and system flaws Trends in the business response Leadership for sustainability
Mapping risks and opportunities Case study focus on strategy and action Strategies for breakthrough
Material challenges for businesses:

• Resource and energy prospects
• Consumption and lifestyle
• Inclusive business
Ethics, values and sustainability Shaping the Next Economy: priorities for corporate action
The evolving policy context Business in a sustainable future Supportive policy frameworks

The BSP learning approach is based on a journey from challenge to opportunity, facilitated by the knowledge provided by our expert contributors and Faculty. Sessions are collaborative, offering multiple opportunities for interaction, exchange of ideas and debate and discussion. In addition to plenary sessions, small syndicate groups, each led by a member of the Core Faculty, allow delegates to deepen their understanding of the issues and explore the implications for themselves and their organisations.

Attending the senior executives’ seminar will enable you to:  

  • Deepen your understanding of the social, political and environmental context in which you operate and be better equipped to anticipate future trends and opportunities;

  • Reassess current business models to take account of sustainable development issues and leverage innovation created by prime movers in this field;

  • Identify strategic priorities for your organisation to ensure its long-term sustainability and gain insight, inspiration, new ideas, relationships and resources to support future action;

  • Join a valuable network consisting of a richly diverse group of senior leaders from business, government and civil society.

Where Are the Seminars Run?

Read further details about the individual seminars:

Cape Town, South Africa, Cambridge, UKSão Paulo, BrazilMelbourne, Australia.

Frequently asked questions.

"I obtained immediate benefit in terms of refreshed ideas, affirmation and a heightened sense of urgency from excellent inspirational speakers and participants."
Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Government of South Australia

To ensure a real-life atmosphere and enhance peer-learning and collaboration, each seminar includes a mix of carefully selected individuals from different backgrounds.

Download a list of recent participants' profiles.

Business leaders The Prince of Wales's Business & Sustainability Programme seminars are primarily intended for business leaders and corporate senior executives who operate at a strategic level within their organisation. Business delegates are typically company directors and senior unit leaders. A few places may be allocated to experienced sustainability leaders.
Public sector and local government Senior representatives from central and local government and public sector agencies, including directors from the Department for International Development (DFID), DEFRA, the Treasury, Environment Protection Agencies and senior officials from cities such as Johannesburg, London, and São Paulo.
International agencies
Directors and regional heads from organisations such as the European Investment Bank, United Nation Development Programme, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation and others.
NGOs A small number of places are reserved for select NGO leaders at each seminar, including heads of regions and programmes from Oxfam, Conservation International, and Friends of the Earth.


Approximately 30–35 delegates are selected to attend each of the annual seminars, usually nominated by senior colleagues. All nominations are carefully vetted to achieve a balance on each seminar between industry sectors and between business, government and NGOs.

Application requirements

Applicants will be required to demonstrate:

  • Appropriate seniority of position;

  • Typically more than 10 years' experience

  • Fluency in the English language;

  • Ability to pay the fees, or to identify a sponsoring institution.


The seminars are not designed for corporate environmental experts or technical specialists in the field of sustainable development or corporate social responsibility. However, applications from senior practitioners will be considered.

"This was a fantastic experience. Great programme, great staff and great fellowship."
President, manufacturing company

The Programme is designed by CISL, which has 25 years' experience of designing and delivering leadership programmes on sustainability. The CISL team is responsible for all elements of the leadership, development, management, governance and administration of BSP.

Programme Director

Photograph of Aris VrettosAris Vrettos, Director, Open Programmes

Aris is responsible for CISL’s open executive education programmes. He specialises in corporate sustainability and helps companies understand the implications and possibilities that sustainability creates for business. He is the global Director for The Prince of Wales's Business & Sustainability Programme that runs seminars in Cambridge, Brussels, Cape Town, Sydney and São Paulo and leads CISL’s programmes on sustainable health and climate innovation. He was previously a senior advisor at the NGO think-tank, AccountAbility where he advised global organisations on leadership and sustainability. He helped General Electric and Merck design and implement their global sustainability and stakeholder engagement strategies and worked with the IFC and the UN Global Compact to promote sustainable finance and business innovation in emerging markets. He is a trained economist and journalist and holds an MSc in international money and banking from the University of Birmingham.

Senior Project Manager

Photograph of Jemma CobboldJemma Cobbold, Senior Project Manager

Jemma Cobbold joined CISL in 2000 having worked previously in the retail and software industries. She has provided programme and event management support on a number of CISL's programmes and is currently a Senior Project Manager working on The Prince of Wales's Business & Sustainability Programme. Jemma holds a degree in Psychology and Drama.

Project Manager

Sarah HaywardSarah Hayward, Project Manager

Sarah joined CISL in July 2013 to work within the Executive Programmes team, including on The Prince of Wales's Business & Sustainability Programme. Prior to joining CISL she worked at Carbon Leapfrog, a business-led charity, as Corporate Development Manager, developing relationships with the professional services sector, including FTSE100 companies, to create programmes and broker pro bono support into community-based low carbon projects. Previously, Sarah worked as Project Manager at the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges developing and delivering an international mechanism for embedding corporate social responsibility and behaviour change across the sector. Sarah holds a BSc (Hons) degree in Environmental Science from the University of Manchester and has published articles in the Times Higher Education, the Environmentalist and University Business.

Project Co-ordinator

Janna Tweed 161x168Janna Tweed, Project Manager

Janna works on The Prince of Wales’s Business & Sustainability Programme, the Climate Innovation Programme and the Leadership Programme for Sustainable Development in the Health and Care Sector. Prior to this, Janna worked for China–Britain Business Council on special projects and events, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as Deputy Team Leader of the China Bilateral / Internal Team, working on policy development with regard to the UK’s diplomatic relationship with China. She holds a BA (Hons) in Tourism Business Management from the University of Birmingham.

Regional Director

Peter_Willis_161x168Peter Willis

Having set up the South African office of CISL in Cape Town in 2002 and run it until 2014, Peter remains South African Seminar Director for the The Prince of Wales's Business & Sustainability Programme. He also works as an independent facilitator, advisor and mentor based in Cape Town. He has been in the field of sustainability and leadership since moving to South Africa in the mid-1990’s. In the 1980s and early 1990s in the UK he created and ran several small businesses in the field of fine art publishing and marketing. He has degrees in History (Oxford) and Education (London).

"Excellent, courageous and inspiring speakers who gave a clear framework to develop a business sustainability strategy and plan."

The Programme’s international Faculty consists of over 40 prominent business leaders, academics and sustainability practitioners. All faculty members have a distinguished track record in their field of expertise and have strong experience working with business and other organisations to support change.

Faculty in recent years includes:

Enos Ned BandaFounder and CEO, Freetel Group; Senior Associate, CISL
Richard BurrettPartner, Earth Capital Partners and Co-Chair, UNEP FI; Fellow, CISL
Professor Richard Calland, Director (interim), CISL South African OfficeExecutive Director, Open Democracy Advice Centre (IDASA)
Will DaySustainability Advisor to PwC; Chairman of Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor; Fellow, CISL
Dr Jack FrostDirector, Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells
Paul GildingIndependent Writer and Corporate Adviser; BSP Core Faculty
Professor Thomas N. GladwinMax McGraw Professor of Sustainable Enterprise; Associate Director, Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan
Philippe JoubertFormer President of Alstom
Professor Melissa LaneProfessor of Politics, Princeton University; Senior Associate, CISL
Ylva LindbergFounder and Managing Director, SIGLA
Professor Edgar PieterseDirector, African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Jonathon PorrittCo-Founder, Forum for the Future
Professor Jorgen RandersProfessor of Climate Strategy, Norwegian School of Management
David RiceFellow, CISL
Dr Bob ScholesSystems Ecologist and Fellow, South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
Professor Will SteffenEarth System scientist, Australia National University; Senior Associate, CISL
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Forthcoming Seminars

Cambridge: 28 Apr–1 May 2015; 9–12 Nov 2015
São Paulo: date tbc
Melbourne: 1–4 Mar 2015
Cape Town: 12–15 April 2015

Apply Now

BSP Brochure

Professor Will Steffen: The Great Acceleration


The Prince of Wales


Contact Us

Sarah Hayward, Project Manager

T: +44 (0)1223 768832