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Value Chain stream Curriculum


Value chains are an integral part of strategic planning for many businesses today. Within leading companies there may be many ‘islands’ of good practice, including, for example, responsible sourcing, cleaner production, and developing new ‘green’ products; however, to achieve an interconnected perspective, a systems approach is needed. PCSB value chains stream is designed to go beyond themes such as 'sustainable supply chains' and 'green procurement', and empower leaders to bring about systemic, collaborative change across value chains.

The content is explored through two workshops, supported by E-learning, essential reading, and practical assignments:

  • Workshop 1 builds the awareness of key sustainability risks and opportunities, exploring the strategic business case for building resilient value chains.
  • Workshop 2 develops an appreciation for the variety of institutional responses to the risks and opportunities identified, and builds capacity to apply ‘best practice’ tools and techniques to achieve sustainable value chains.

Crosscutting themes such as innovation and leadership are embedded within and/or interspersed between the main sessions.


“There are many sustainability courses, but PCSB value chains stream is unique. The Cambridge setting, the faculty's knowledge, the people you meet, the social and personal experience. This programme will remain a highlight in my educational career.”

Sascha Reimann, Postgraduate Certificate, Value Chains Stream, 2016


Indicative themes for value chain stream workshops

Workshop 1

Understanding the global risks and opportunities, and what
needs to change

Workshop 2

Catalysing change in and beyond the organisation

Workshop themes 

  • Environmental, social and economic pressures and drivers
    • Sustainability risks and opportunities
    • Climate science
    • Poverty and inequality
    • Biodiversity and ecosystems
    • Human rights
  • System approach to sustainable value chains
    • Understanding sustainable value chains
    • Taking a ‘systems’ approach
    • Rethinking the economic system
  • Building the business case for sustainable value chains
  • Critique of existing tools and enablers
  • Business leadership for sustainability
  • Developing a critical and analytical mind
  • Sustainable value creation
    • Sustainable industrial processes
    • Business model innovation
  • Leveraging change across the value chain
    • Collaborations and partnerships for change
    • Auditing, Compliance & Certification
    • Identifying and managing risks
    • Sustainable design
  • Communication and influence
    • Communication and influencing strategies
    • Sustainable consumption & influencing the consumer
    • Influencing middle management and employee engagement
    • Trust in value chains
  • Leadership for change
    • Leading organisational change
    • Understanding your sphere of influence
    • Championing change and achieving internal buy-in
    • Leading for sustainability
    • Values, ethics and leadership

Assignment tasks

Group Project theme scoping

Analysis Paper preparation

Group Project research and drafting

Strategic Action Plan preparation 

Build knowledge and confidence to lead change in your organisation and across value chains. 

Study a 9-month part-time Postgraduate Certificate course via online learning and residential workshops.

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2019 workshop dates

Workshop 1: 15-18 July 2019
Workshop 2: 18-21 November 2019

2020 workshop dates

Workshop 1: 13-16 July 2020
Workshop 2: 23-26 November 2020

Contact the Course Director