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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Bridgitte Backman holds a B Sc. (Chemistry) from the University of Cape Town in South Africa and an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands with an exchange final semester at the Haas Business School, University of California at Berkeley in the USA. She speaks English, German and Afrikaans and has set her next language as Spanish. She has worked across industry sectors and business functions as diverse as Development Finance, Energy (Oil and Gas), FMCG (Food and Beverages), Elections Management, Sustainability, Corporate Affairs and Public Policy, General Management, Innovation, Supply Chain and HR. She serves on the UNGC Network South Africa’s board where she gets to live and breathe sustainability as well as foster cross business collaboration for the greater good at a country level. She previously lectured for Duke Corporate Education via Rhodes University.


Bridgitte has been associated with CISL SA since 2010 when she completed the Sustainability Practitioner (SP) programme whilst working for Sasol. After this she regularly sent delegates from Sasol on SP. When was head of Corporate Affairs at Tiger Brands she sent all of her team to SP and has continued to do so since being at Distell. She herself at last attended BSP in 2019 having tried for a number of years but timing didn’t work. CISL was invited to be present at her strategy session with her team in 2019.

Bridgitte is an influential business leader in South Africa. Sustainability is not just a passion of hers but rather an ethos. She firmly believes that “together is better” and is persistent and consistent in the pursuit of unlocking and synergising effective multi stakeholder partnerships across e.g. government, academia, society and business. Expanding horizons for herself and others is a key tenet of her make-up and hence her focus on the development of young professionals who embrace the ethos of global sustainability as a way of making a difference. 

 Bridgitte    Backman
Senior Associate of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership