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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

The Board of the Future is one that is well informed about the external context and system pressures so that it can pose the right questions of the company’s executive team, and which has the skills and mindset to enable it to provide the direction and oversight that the company needs to secure its long-term resilience, while contributing purposefully to human well-being and a thriving economy.

Our Board Programmes are designed to enable Board directors to think critically about their role and responsibilities, so that they can provide the strategic leadership that the external context urgently requires of them. We combine deep insight into material social, economic and environmental systemic trends, and clarity about the pace and scale of transformation required across key sectors, markets and regions, with an understanding of commercial imperatives, evolving drivers and enablers of change, and leading practice and thinking.


Customised Board programmes for organisations 

Building on its extensive experience in designing bespoke programmes with corporate leaders, CISL is able to  design a bespoke offering for an individual Board.

In order to ensure that the  engagement is meaningful and impactful, for  both for the company’s Board and for CISL’s mission, which is to contribute to systemic change, we build our Board engagements on the following basis:

  • A preliminary set of bilateral conversation/interviews with a sufficiently representative sample of the Board, so as to gather
    a good sense of where the Board is at, what issues are front of mind, and potential obstacles to progress. 
  • A minimum of 3-4 hour engagement with the full Board and/or sustainability committee of the Board. This would be animated by a senior member of faculty, and include appropriate expert contributors from our stable of fellows and senior associates. The structure of the engagement would, subject to discussion with the Board, be as follows: Context; Organisational Purpose and Strategy; Accountability – legal duties and reporting; Governance & Leadership. 
  • A communique reflection on the engagement from us, including recommendations on issues to think about further or governance reforms to strengthen the Board’s ability to lead. 
  • A follow up session with the Board 6-9 months later. 

Find out more about our Customised Board Programmes.

Open programmes for Board directors (individual application)

Designed in collaboration with Earth on Board, specifically for the needs of Board directors, our open programmes draw on the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s 26 years of experience in building leadership capability. The seminars, which take place in Melbourne, explore the purpose of Boards today, and the specific strategic issues that global challenges pose, providing a safe space for individual learning, expert guidance and exchange among peers. It equips Board directors to challenge and guide management, form strategic responses for their company, and establish priority actions for the Board, in relation to sustainability trends. Find out more about our Board Director Programmes.


Our executive education programmes offer senior leaders insight into innovative, commercially compelling ways to address global trends. They build the leadership capacity and skills to generate action.

Contact us

Interested in finding out more about our executive education and graduate study? Get in touch to arrange a call with a Course Director.