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


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


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


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


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

Our work engages individuals and entrepreneurs alongside businesses, governments, financial institutions and civil society representatives, with shared potential to reshape economic, social and environmental systems.  

Delivering systems change at scale is complex. Most organisations and individuals today operate within deeply unsustainable business and economic models and practices.  In order to lead transformation, organisations and individuals need to change their own actions, rethink their purpose and performance, and work to change the system itself.  

Read more about Who we work with and why including how we drive systems change and how we make choices about the organisations we work with.


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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

Our global community for action includes over 30,000 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.  

Our impact: Who we work with and why 

30 years driving transformative change

Latest news

The King breaks ground on University of Cambridge's New Whittle Laboratory

10 May 2023

10 May 2023 - His Majesty The King yesterday broke ground on the New Whittle Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, as the first public engagement following Their Majesties’ Coronation.

A close association: CISL celebrates the Coronation of The King and The Queen and his work to drive transformative change

6 May 2023

6 May 2023 - His Majesty has inspired and supported many of CISL's initiatives that we spotlight on the occasion of his Coronation.