skip to content

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Leadership labs

Our two-day Labs are short courses delivering action-based learning.

The workshops are collaborative and innovative with a strong emphasis on real-life experiences and case studies so you can return to your organisation with clear direction and actionable plans.

Upcoming topics include:

Duration, format and location

Our two-day Labs are delivered in person in Cambridge.


Discounts may be available for multiple delegates from the same organisation or participants from not-for-profits, developing countries, and self-funded individuals.  

See fee table

How to apply

Submit your application or find out more about the selection criteria.


Responding to topical sustainability trends in a practical way

These two-day immersive workshops will help you tackle emerging opportunities for a more sustainable business. With access to cutting-edge insight and best practice, you will continue your professional development, collaborate with practitioners and network with peers – with real application to your organisation.

Shaped primarily around two key themes; circular economy and leadership, Labs provide a deep dive into topics such as life cycle analysis, big data, sustainable investment, employee buy-in and vision, environmental impact assessment and frugal innovation.

Download our Sustainability Leadership Lab brochures or to find out more.

Why should I apply?

Deliver business impact

The workshop is committed to delivering action-based learning. Participants are invited to submit a case study about their organisation which may be discussed during workshop exercises. The course will also include structured planning sessions for all participants to reflect on their learning, develop an action plan and articulate this plan to peers for constructive feedback. As a result, you will return to your organisation with a clear direction of how to create leading-edge responses to sustainability opportunities and challenges.

Find out how other attendees have used the workshop to deliver business impact.

Network with over 40,000 global sustainability leaders

Having attended the workshop you will join a network of around 40,000 global sustainability leaders and benefit from access the latest thinking and action, the space to debate ideas and share experience, and the chance to collaborate and influence change.

Benefit from our actionable learning approach

The workshops use a collaborative and innovative learning approach with a strong emphasis on sharing real-life experiences and best-practice case studies. Attendees are encouraged to co-create sustainability solutions using creative problem-solving techniques and develop action plans to become effective change agents. There will be ample opportunities for discussion and debate, building on the knowledge and expertise of peers, academics and expert practitioners.


To apply for a Lab, please complete the online application form. If you have any questions, please .

Selection criteria

Applicants should be committed to using learning from the Labs to lead or influence change within the business context and should been proficient in the English language.

We also ask that applicants have either completed a previous programme at CISL or hold a sustainability position with significant work experience in sustainability. In some cases non-alumni who are not in sustainability roles will be accepted on a Lab at the discretion of the Lab Director and dependent on the applicant’s experience, interests and motivation for attending. If you are unsure whether you meet the entry requirements please contact us

Apply to attend a Lab here



Corporate/ Private sector


CISL alumni or Platform member




NGOs, public sector or academia, developing countries £1,925


a) Includes accommodation and subsistence during the Lab, but excludes travel costs.



Candidates who do not hold a UK or Irish passport will need immigration permission in order to come to the UK and attend the Lab. Some candidates may already hold immigration permission for the UK, if not they can apply for/enter the UK on a visitor visa. Details of the relevant visitor visa can be found here. Once candidates accept an offer of a place on a Lab, and pay the course fee, CISL can provide a letter of confirmation to support a visa application, if required. Candidates must also ensure they comply with measures in place when travelling to the UK to help against the spread of coronavirus, information available here.


Want to discuss your eligibility for an upcoming Lab? to find out more.

Related Links

Resource: A handbook for nature-related financial risks: key concepts and a framework for identification

Report: Rewiring leadership: The future we want, the leadership we need

Blog by Dame Polly Courtice: Reflections on stakeholder governance: catalysing sustainable value creation

Blog from Alasdair Marks, Corporate Adviser at Business in the Community about the Lab he attended on sustainable innovation

Blog from Simon Davis, Agriculture and Sustainability Development Manager, NSF International about his experience of a Lab

CISL Network


Sustainable Innovation Lab

"This Lab built well on the previous Lab that I completed, and has really given me much food for thought and ideas for action."

Head of Sustainability, Pret A Manger

Business Model Innovation Lab

"A great two-day course that surpassed my expectations, using practical tools to challenge the way we think about our own business and challenge how bold we are being in our approach and role in tackling the sustainability issues in our own supply chains."

Agriculture and Sustainability Development Manager, NSF International

Embedding Natural Capital Lab

"Very informative, stimulating and an excellent networking opportunity."

Principal Geoscientist & Operations Geologist, Energy Geoscience

Embedding Natural Capital Lab & Sustainable Innovation Lab

“The Sustainability Leadership Labs enabled me to gain a global perspective on material issues that are impacting businesses today. I left the Labs with practical tools and knowledge that could be used immediately when I returned to the office… Every lab is unique but also consistent in providing a learning experience with other practitioners that prepares you for the volatile and uncertain environment we all operate in.”

Manager, Responsible Business, Old Mutual Emerging Markets 

Sustainability Leadership, Sustainable Innovation, & Business Model Innovation Labs

"The Leadership Labs at Cambridge have been a key way for me to gain direct insights from a broad range of academic and business thought leaders, on how organisations need to adapt in order to respond to the challenges and opportunities that sustainability poses. They also provided a forum to gain wide input from a range of other organisations how my company could respond to the opportunities and challenges. These insights have been crucial to allow me to more confidently influence internally, build business case and drive meaningful  change… and these Labs have offered an effective and flexible way to build and maintain my knowledge."

Fabrics Sustainability, W.L.Gore & Associates



Dr Tom Norton, Programme Manager