skip to content

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Cape town

Our work in South Africa reflects our mission to enable individuals and organisations to take leadership to respond to critical economic, social and environmental challenges and opportunities. Capitalising on the world-class knowledge and learning techniques of the University of Cambridge, CISL’s research and thought leadership serves to build leadership capacity, embed sustainability in organisations and create collective action for greater impact at both a local and a global scale.


Building leadership through executive education

CISL’s executive education builds on Cambridge’s leading-edge capabilities, our unparalleled experience in education for sustainability and our commitment to help organisations in every sector improve their performance towards a sustainable future. Through an interactive learning model we help businesses thrive by addressing pressing social, economic and environmental challenges and focusing on successful leadership of change designed to help business reconcile profitability with sustainability.

For sustainability managers

The Sustainability Practitioner Programme is designed for middle to senior managers in organisations from the private or public sector to equip them with a high-level understanding of role of sustainability in future proofing their organisations. Sustainability rests on a simple premise - the inter-connectedness of all things. It requires re-generative thinking. It is something that must become deeply embedded in the day-to-day operations of an organization to guide it for a different future, particularly in a developing world context.

On completion of the programme, participants will receive a certificate of completion and be able to do the following:

  • Evaluate the impact of current global, economic, social and environmental pressures on their organisations.
  • Assess the importance of navigating complexity and system-thinking.
  • Recommend how to align sustainability with the core organisational strategy
  • Assess the opportunities for innovation and collaboration with key stakeholders in their context
  • Reflect on the values, thinking and practices that need to be developed to be an effective change agent
  • Construct a practical action plan (within their sphere of influence) to drive internal change

For senior executives

The Prince of Wales's Business & Sustainability Programme (BSP) helps senior executives understand the complex global trends and implications that are shaping the future of business and to develop business strategies to respond to these challenges in a commercially relevant way. CISL’s flagship programme has over 2,500 alumni from more than 1,000 organisations and provides an opportunity for executives to convene around key sustainability issues, identify solutions and advocate change.

The course boasts an impressive faculty including Will Day (Chair of the Sainsbury’s Foundation Advisory Board and Sustainability Advisor to PwC UK) and international sustainability professional Malcolm Gray. Bringing both a global and a local perspective to the programme are CISL Senior Associates Mashudu Ramano (CEO of Mitochondria Energy Company) and Bongiwe Mbunge (Partner, Mazars).

Read more from Hussein Sefian, Head of Strategy and Strategic Investments at BNP Paribas Global Markets, who recently attended BSP in Cape Town to gain a broader perspective on emerging markets’ challenges.

For junior managers in South Africa

In collaboration with Innovative Shared Services (ISS), CISL South Africa offers junior managers a qualification that is accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and endorsed by Services SETA. Adapted specifically for the South African context, the National Certificate: Generic Management (Sustainability Leadership) has been developed to challenge and inspire upcoming leaders within organisations to balance future economic growth with social and environmental sustainability.

The 12-month course covers concepts such as facilitating a change process, systems-thinking, innovative problem solving, and knowledge management. Upon completion, learners will be issued with a Services SETA Certificate of Competence and Statement of Results for this national qualification at NQF level 5. 

Over and above developing future leaders and their understanding for sustainability principles to underpin the entire business strategy, South African organisations will gain the BBBEE scorecard benefits from having this SAQA accredited management qualification as part of their Workplace Skills Development plan.


Customised programmes

These programmes involve working closely with the sustainability team in the organisation to understand the key aims and objectives of the intervention they would like us to deliver. The CISL team then uses a process of horizon scanning, interviews and assessment of client’s objectives to determine the appropriate content, structure and process to deliver the required outcomes.

The programmes usually consist of a series of half-day workshops, two- to three-day workshops, or one-week engagements with different leadership levels and/or business units in the organisation. This includes facilitated face-to-face learning, thought leadership, online modules and remote tutoring. 

Get in touch to discuss your requirements, and find out more about our education programmes.


Prof Richard Calland, Programme Director, CISL South Africa

Contact the team


“Thank you again for an AMAZING experience last week! Every person I have spoken to post the course this week has talked about how impactful it was for them – thank you for devastating us and then picking us back up. Hopefully we can support this again next year – there are so many people I can think of who need this!”

Sustainability Manager: Africa, Unilever

"This programme is a must for public sector leaders who are entrusted with leadership roles as part of the development state / local government agenda.”

Executive Director: Economic Development and Planning, KwaDukuza Municipality

“The quality of the faculty was outstanding and the speakers were incredibly interesting. The quality of the other participants was also excellent overall and it was amazing for me to meet so many different people, from different backgrounds and industries and engage in such an open and frank manner.”

Executive Head, Nedbank