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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

CISL about us

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is a globally influential Institute developing leadership and solutions for a sustainable economy.

Our Rewiring the Economy framework shows how the economy can be ‘rewired’, through focused collaboration between business, government and finance institutions, to deliver positive outcomes for people and environment in pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For over three decades we have built individual and organisational leadership capacity and capabilities, and created industry-leading collaborations, to catalyse change and accelerate the path to a sustainable economy. Our Rewiring Leadership framework sets out our model for the leadership needed to achieve this.

Our interdisciplinary research engagement builds the evidence base for practical action, through a focus on six cross-cutting themes critical to the delivery of the SDGs: sustainable finance, economic innovation, inclusive development, natural capital, future cities and leadership.  


What we do

Build the leadership capacity

Build the leadership capacity of individuals to create the future we want through executive and graduate education.

Catalyse innovation 

Catalyse innovation and solutions through our business and policy leaders groups, and working with individual organisations.

Develop the capability

Develop the capability of organisations and regions to lead this transition through our advisory services and customised programmes

Facilitate collaboration

Facilitate collaboration and dialogue across conventional boundaries through our business and policy leaders groups.

work is underpinned

Our work is underpinned by multidisciplinary research and grounded in practitioner insights from exceptional people from business, policy, civil society and academia.




Who we work with

Each year we work with business, government and finance leaders in over 250 organisations including consumer brands, global banks and national governments, attracting more than 1,200 delegates into our programmes.


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Our core activities are supported by our Strategic Partners, a small group of leading businesses who commit funds and advice to ensure our work is focused on the most material challenges and on the areas of greatest potential impact.

 Strategic partners

If you have an interest in working with us, do get in touch


A global Network for change

We have a leadership Network of over 27,000 senior leaders and practitioners from business, government and civil society who have an impact in every sector and on every continent.

Our work also draws upon an expert group of Fellows and Senior Associates, comprised of business leaders, academics and other influential thinkers who have direct experience of working to address sustainability challenges.

The former HRH The Prince of Wales was Royal Founding Patron of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and has been actively involved in a range of our work. 

To learn more about our work, please contact us.


Where we work

We operate in countries across six global regions – UK and Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. We have offices in CambridgeBrussels and Cape Town, with delivery partners in Beijing, Chile, Melbourne and the UAE.  

30 years driving transformative change

Latest news

ClimateWise Principles Review 2022 indicates steady progress and highlights need for insurers, reinsurers and brokers to become long-term partners to the real economy 

20 January 2023

23 January 2023 - The ClimateWise Principles Independent Review 2022 shows member insurance industry firms have made progress in disclosing their preparedness and response to climate change.  

CISL report reveals how banks and corporations can better support SMEs on the path to net zero 

13 January 2023

17 January 2023 - A new report by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)​, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), the We Mean Business Coalition and the SME Climate Hub highlights the role of commercial banks and multi-national corporations in helping small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) reach net zero.