skip to content

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

We help Boards to:

  • Understand how sustainability impacts their company’s commercial strategy and long-term performance.

  • Reach sufficient consensus on the scale of the challenge and the need for action.

  • Identify emerging challenges, risks and opportunities so as to provide strategic direction. 

  • Oversee senior management in executing strategy and delivering on organisational purpose.

  • Prepare for new disclosure requirements and ESG reporting standards.

  • Think self-critically about their leadership and governance role.


Our approach

We will work with you to co-curate a bespoke programme to meet your Board’s needs. Typically, this would encompass:

  • A set of preliminary diagnostic interviews with a representative sample of the board’s members to understand current thinking, future ambitions and any blind spots or blockages 
  • A minimum half-day face-to-face session with the full Board
  • A post-programme memorandum with recommendations and priority actions
  • A short follow-up session (online) 6-9 months later

Programmes are led by Professor Richard Calland and include short briefings and facilitated discussions to build alignment and establish priority actions. Topics are agreed jointly but are likely to include:

  1. Context – Global systems, pressures and trends and the urgent need for concerted action at scale
  2. Legal duties – The Board’s fiduciary role; shifts in corporate law and public interest litigation; ESG reporting and disclosure requirements
  3. Organisational strategy and purpose – Aligning profitability with positive social and environmental outcomes
  4. Leadership and governance – An interactive concluding session to answer the questions: Is the board fit for future purpose? How can it strengthen its ability to direct, oversee and be accountable for achieving the defined purpose of the organisation?

Sessions are delivered by expert contributors, hand-selected from our faculty and international network of business leaders, regulators, lawyers, investors and academics.


Our track record

CISL has over 30 years’ experience supporting organisations to take leadership, catalyse change and accelerate the path towards a sustainable economy. We have a deep understanding of the changing global context and access to a wealth of world-leading research into sustainable business. 

We have worked with Boards across a range of sectors and geographies. View some recent case studies and testimonials.   


Who we work with

We work with organisations and individuals that are committed to achieving positive impact.    

In deciding which Boards to engage, we will evaluate the organisation's commitment to sustainability, their openness to change and the potential role they could play in unlocking wider systemic impact. Read more information on who we work with and why.


Open Programme for Board Directors (Melbourne, Australia)

CISL also runs an open programme for Board directors. Designed in collaboration with Earth on Board, this 24-hour programme explores the purpose of Boards today, their fiduciary responsibilities and the strategic issues that global challenges pose. It equips Board directors to challenge and guide management and form strategic responses in relation to sustainability trends.

Find out more.