skip to primary navigationskip to content

Graduate research

During the second year of the Master’s in Sustainability Leadership students complete a 15,000-word research dissertation. Below is a selection of papers and articles based on this research.

Articles written by alumni of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) do not necessarily represent the views of, or endorsement by, the Institute or the wider University of Cambridge.


Carmen Chan (Cohort 8),  Senior Sustainability and Fabric Manager, Tesco, Hong Kong

Research based on Carmen’s dissertation into microplastic fibre releases from industrial wastewater has been published in the journal Environmental Chemistry.

Abigail Herron (Cohort 8),  Global Head of Responsible Investment, Aviva Investors

At the FIR-PRI Finance & Sustainability 2020 Awards Abigail received the award for the best Master’s thesis for her research into “antibiotic resistance as a frontier topic in responsible and sustainable investment”

Alastair Marke, Carmen Chan and Gozde Taskin (Cohort 8)

Research based on their group project into the application of the innovative circular business models to reduce e-waste in China’s mobile electronics industry has been published in the journal of Asian Education and Development Studies.

Jessica Osikominu (Cohort 7), Manager Corporate Culture, Covestro

Jessica’s research into the adoption of “voluntary simplicity lifestyle” (VSL) has been published in the open-source MDPI journal. This study defines the VSL as a voluntary reduction of income and consumption in exchange for more free time and the study contributes to a clearer understanding of the concept and its potential to contribute toward reducing unsustainable consumption patterns

Andrew Phillips (Cohort 7), Rural Director of Finance, Duchy of Cornwall

The UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner has taken an interest in Andrew's research and along with the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham, has published a paper based on his findings. Andrew has also sent written evidence to a recently announced Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into Modern Slavery.

Ambika Jindal (Cohort 6), ING Bank, Netherlands

Ambika's article Banking on Water - the role of commercial banks in water solutions has been published in Environmental Finance.

Julian Proctor (Cohort 5), Tiger Group Investments, Hong Kong

Julian’s dissertation research on whether the access to, and use of, informal and formal credit is associated with a higher quality of life amongst the poor in Hong Kong has been published in Progress in Development Studies (Volume 17, Issue 4). 

Michael James Bowes (Cohort 5), Solicitor with Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

Michael’s dissertation research on Sustainability in the English Water Industry has been published in the Journal of Water Law, in two parts. The first part, evaluating how the introduction of the 2004 Environmental Information Regulations into the water industry have improved sustainable provision, is available here. The second part, summarising the data collection and findings, is available here.

Tom Barnett, Senior Account Director at Trucost, Michael James Bowes, Lawyer at Berwin Leighton Paisner, Jerry White, Marketing Executive for Northam Platinum Limited and Anwar Zaib, Finance Director and Head of Compliance at Berkeley Energy (Cohort 5)

Tom, Michael, Jerry and Anwar have published their Master’s Group Project Research in Vision: The Journal of Business Perspective. The article explores the findings from their research project investigating the concept of long-term thinking in business organisations.

Steven Greenfield (Cohort 4), Corporate Sustainability - Operations Lead, Ernst and Young LLP

Steven has had an article published by the Social Marketing Quarterly journal. The article To What Extent Is Social Marketing Used in Demand Reduction Campaigns for Illegal Wildlife Products? Insights From Elephant Ivory and Rhino Horn is based on the research Steven undertook for his Master’s in Sustainability Leadership.

Angus Yip, Master’s (Cohort 4) and Dr Nancy Bocken, CISL Fellow

Angus has had a paper accepted by the Journal of Cleaner Production. The paper, Sustainable Business Model Archetypes for the Banking Industry, is based on the research Angus undertook for his Master’s in Sustainability Leadership.

Hanmin Huang (Cohort 4), senior management consultant in China

Hanmin's article is based on his dissertation, entitled 'Dynamic Mechanism Leading to the Formation and Development of Industrial Symbioses: An Empirical Study on Industrial Symbioses of the Sugar Industry in Chongzuo City, China'.

Lorna Tweedie (Cohort 4), Executive Manager, Colonial First State Global Asset Management

This research paper entitled 'Climate change: Implications for superannuation funds in Australia' was co-authored by Lorna and Jake Reynolds and was originally published by Colonial First State Global Asset Management.

Roger Ponting (Cohort 4), Group Director of Finance and Business Support, the Energy Saving Trust

Roger's article Will mandatory carbon reporting drive change? based on his dissertation research appears on the Environmental Finance website.

Beth Knight (Cohort 4), Strategy & Operations for EY's Beacon Institute

This report entitled 'A Behavioural Competency Model for Sustainability Leaders' is a summary of Beth’s dissertation research. It examines the critical competencies found in past qualitative reviews and proposes a model for effective sustainability leaders.

Zoë Arden (cohort 3), CISL Senior Associate

This article Making It Personal: Developing Sustainability Leaders in Business, based on Zoë's Master's dissertation was published in the journal Organisation and Environment.

Graham Burr (Cohort 2), Executive Advisor at Parthenon EY 

This article draws on Graham's research dissertation entitled 'Understanding and Communicating Pressures on Future Food Security through Development of Quantified Scenarios – West Africa Case Study'.

Majd Aboul Hosn (Cohort 2), Africa and Middle East Research at Pyramid Research

Majd's article draws on his research dissertation which focused on on Lebanon’s power sector, in particular the country’s recent pledge to provide 12 per cent of power from renewable sources by 2020. The commitment demanded the strength of a successful public-private partnership (PPP). By establishing a framework to assess the identity and strength of a partnership, this research aimed at analysing the potential effectiveness of a PPP in Lebanon’s power sector. 

Gerry Mattios (Cohort 2), a principal in Bain & Company's Beijing office

Gerry's article draws on his research dissertation entitled 'An Assessment of the Challenges and Opportunities in Developing a Sustainable and Low-emissions Aviation Industry in the Asia Pacific Region'.

Sean Ansett (Cohort 1), Corporate Sustainability Officer, Fairphone

Sean is quoted in Campaigns: NGOs get handy with stick and carrot, Financial Times, 2013 (£). Sean is also author of Raise the Curtain: Human Rights in Retail Supply Chains, Shift, 2013.

Karen Goldberg (Cohort 1), Project Manager, Environmental Monitoring Group

Sustaining Response-Ability of Change Agents, Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Volume 2013, Number 49, March 2013

Jemma Green (Cohort 1), Councillor at City of Perth and Board Director, Future Super

Jemma's current research at Curtin University is quoted in an ABC Perth news report.  She is also interviewed by a community radio station in Perth about the Australian government’s decision to abolish the Climate Commission.

Dr Rodney Irwin (Cohort 1), Program Director Reporting and Investment, World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Rodney’s research on tackling the spread of HIV/AIDS by African truckers, was featured in the University of Cambridge Research Horizons, 2013. Rodney is also lead author of Reporting Matters, WBCSD, 2013.

Sören Stöber (Cohort 1), Senior Business Manager, Travelife

Parts of Sören's dissertation have been published in Progress in Responsible Tourism (pdf).

Michael Chen (Cohort 1), Head of Sustainability, Westpac

Michael is co-author of Interconnectedness: The root of sustainability, St James Ethics Centre, 2013.

Other publications by alumni of our Graduate Programmes

Group Project on the Efficacy of Finance and Accounting Qualifications in Preparing Professionals to Drive Sustainable Business (PCSB Cohort 18)

This Executive Perspective summarises the collaborative research performed by authors Aila Aho (Head of Sustainable Financing, Wholesale Banking, Nordea); Beverley Cornaby (Programme Manager, University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership); Shari Littan (Editor, GAAP Reporter, Thomson Reuters); Shanna Pedersen (Head of Customer Experience, Corporate, BT); Andrew Phillips (Rural Director of Finance, Duchy of Cornwall); Robert Rosenberg (Senior Consultant Sustainable Investments, South Pole Group); and Philippa Stone (Head of Sustainability, ISG).

Robert Rosenberg (PCSB Cohort 18, and current Master’s student), Senior Consultant Sustainable Investment, South Pole Group

This paper, adapted from Robert's Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Business research, discusses the business case for corporate pension funds to consider sustainability, and specifically ESG, in their business models and investment decisions.

Aila Aho (PCSB Cohort 18), Head of Sustainable Financing for Wholesale Banking at Nordea in Finland

Aila shares her white paper on Understanding Green Bond Financing.


Strengthen your leadership skills, embed sustainability in your organisation, and further your career.

Study a part-time graduate course via a combination of workshops and e-modules.


Ready to make a change download

Meet the Directors

Join a webinar session hosted by the Directors of our part-time graduate courses as they give you an overview of our programmes and admissions process for 2021 applications and can answer your questions.

Share this

Recent organisations represented

Alumni logos