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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Why innovation matters


Digital technologies, from blockchain to big data, are transforming financial services. There is a growing appreciation of the transformative potential of harnessing this digital revolution to support broader efforts to direct capital to sustainable business models. 

Pockets of promising innovation are evident around the world. But these are the exception, not the rule.

 

What is CISL is doing about it?


Cambridge produces world-renowned research in this area, ranging from its Big Data Strategic Research Initiative to the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, which Cambridge hosts. 

Cambridge is also Europe’s most successful technology cluster. Underpinned by world-leading science, there are over 4,300 companies in the Cambridge Cluster including 16 $1bn firms. 

Against this backdrop, CISL leads finance and business collaborations to prove sustainable fintech concepts in practice. We also work with governments and industry groups to embed what we learn into broader innovation processes.

 

Our work and thought leadership


Bank 2030: Accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy

6 July 2021

30 January 2020 – This report authored by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s (CISL) Banking Environment Initative (BEI) highlights the need for banks to develop an ‘active mindset’ in order to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.

Trado: New technologies to fund fairer, more transparent supply chains

19 August 2019

17 September 2019 – There is a growing understanding of the transformative potential of harnessing digital innovation and financial technologies to improve the sustainability of global supply chains. This report details the learnings and methodology of the collaborative project Trado, convened by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

Multi-sector collaboration between blue chips, start-ups and banks delivers new model to improve the sustainability of global supply chains without increasing production costs

19 August 2019

17 September 2019 – A successful experiment by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), bringing together Sainsbury's, BNP Paribas, Unilever, Barclays, Standard Chartered and Rabobank, has shown how a new model of blockchain and other data sharing technologies can enhance the sustainability of global supply chains without increasing production costs.

Understanding investments’ sustainability performance to enable more sustainable investment choices

12 October 2018

October 2018 – The concept note proposes a new approach that would help pension beneficiaries make better decisions regarding the sustainability performance of their pensions.

Blue chips and startups launch new fintech pilot for more sustainable supply chains at the One Planet Summit

5 December 2017

12 December 2017 – Six international companies and banks and four fintech startups today announced a pioneering new initiative that will test whether blockchain and other technologies can help unlock financial incentives that reward sustainability in supply chains.

Why it's time for banks to take a fresh look at fintechs

14 November 2017

14 November 2017 – Andrew Voysey, Director of Sustainable Finance at CISL discusses why it's time for banks to take a fresh look at fintechs.

Catalysing Fintech for Sustainability: Lessons from multi-sector innovation

18 October 2017

October 2017 – This report presents recommendations on how to design collaboration between multinationals, financial institutions and start-ups in order to better harness fintech to help solve sustainability challenges in the real economy.

Rewiring the Economy

This work is a powerful example of putting into practice Rewiring the Economy, CISL's ten-year plan to lay the foundations for a sustainable economy.

Task 6: Innovate financial structures to better serve sustainable business.