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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

In July 2015, CISL launched Rewiring the Economy, its ten-year plan to lay the foundations for a sustainable economy. The plan sets out ten interconnected tasks requiring collaborative action from the three key economic actors: business, government and finance. The success of the plan can be stated very simply: economic alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


rewiring the economy 4 5 6

The role of the finance system in ‘rewiring the economy’ is to steer capital towards economic activities that support the future we want rather than one we do not. Its purpose is to incentivise and reward long-term thinking. The Rewiring the Economy plan sets out three tasks to achieve this: ‘Task 4: Ensure capital acts for the long term’; Task 5: Value the true cost of business activities; and Task 6: Innovate financial structures.

The Centre is developing a research, engagement and capacity building programme around three core areas of expertise: risk and resilience, positive impact and innovation. The first two themes relate directly to implementing Tasks 4 and 5. The third is a powerful example of putting Task 6 into practice.


Rewiring the Economy tasks for finance

Task 4: Ensure capital acts for the long term

Investors of capital should demand more from their money, using their influence to drive long-term, socially useful value creation in the economy in the interests of their beneficiaries.

Task 5: Price capital according to the true costs of business activities

Capital providers, and those who regulate them, should jointly consider how to reflect social and environmental risk factors in the cost of capital.

Task 6: Innovate financial structures to better serve sustainable business

Financial intermediaries in particular should apply their influence and creativity to ramping up the flow of capital into business models that serve society’s interests.