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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

James has spent over 15 years working at the intersection of business, sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship. As part of CISL’s senior leadership team he works across business policy and finance initiatives building the capacity of leaders, and leading institutions, to drive systemic change for global sustainability. In 2022 he launched The Canopy - CISL’s incubator, accelerator and workspace in central Cambridge, to activate an international community of impact-led startups, entrepreneurs, investors and innovators.  

Prior to CISL he worked at Friends of the Earth developing innovative products, business partnerships and alliances to support environmental campaigns. He previously founded a digital media startup, held various senior commercial partnership development roles at Vodafone UK, and set up sustainable agriculture projects in the Peruvian Andes. James is a Non-Executive Director and Trustee of international partnership building NGO, The Partnering Initiative, and of regional sustainability charity, PECT - The Peterborough Environment City Trust. James holds a first degree in Rural Estate Management and a Masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development from Forum for the Future & Middlesex University.


James Cole
Executive Director, Chief Innovation Officer