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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Leadership labs


Our two-day Labs are short courses delivering action-based learning, shaped around two key themes: circular economy and leadership.

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:

NEW Collaboration and Partnering for Sustainability Lab: 11-12 October 2021

This immersive two-day professional development programme helps individuals understand what it takes to establish impactful collaborations and partnerships to act towards and address the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing business and society.

Find out more

Duration, format and location

Our two-day Labs are currently delivered virtually.


Discounts may be available for multiple delegates from the same organisation or participants from not-for-profits, developing countries, and self-funded individuals.  Delegates will receive a discount on the standard course fee equivalent to the cost of accommodation and meals.

Please email for information.

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, each workshop will 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.

Future topics will be decided based on emerging trends and delegate demand. We welcome your suggestions and encourage you to get in touch if you would like to recommend course content or discuss further.

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 16,000 global sustainability leaders

Having attended the workshop you will join a network of nearly 16,000 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.

Continue your professional development

We welcome you to join the Lab as a standalone CPD course or sign up for multiple as part of your long-term development. At the end of each Lab delegates will receive a certificate of participation. You can also use your attendance as credit towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Business (PG Dip).

The PG Dip offers a ‘deep dive’ into topical and emergent leadership responses to sustainability in a business context. Equivalent to two-thirds of a Master’s, the PG Dip is worth 120 CATS points and provides an academically rigorous but practically focused alternative route to the full Master’s programme.

Find out more about the Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Business.


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

Apply to attend a Lab here





No. of Labs (b):

Inclusive fee per participant (a)




Corporate/ private sector





CISL alumni or Platform member




Financial need (c)





(NGOs, public sector or academia)





Financial need (d)




Self-funded individual





Based in a developing country





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

b) The discount is available to more than one participant from the same organisation attending a particular Lab, or an individual attending more than one Lab. (Our long history of running professional development courses has shown that there is an increased value to organisations when they send multiple participants to share the learning experience.)

c) For example: consultancy, SME, or based in a developing country.

d) For example: small, recently established, or based in a developing country.

e) Candidates attending virtually will receive a discount equivalent to the cost of accommodation and subsistence. Please email for information.



All non-EEA nationals will require an appropriate visa to attend a Lab, when delivered in Cambridge. The appropriate visa for attendance is the short term study visa – please see our short term study guidance for further information. Once candidates receive an offer of a place on a Lab CISL will provide further details regarding the visa application process. Some candidates may already hold immigration permission for the UK which permits study. CISL will need to see a copy of this to confirm whether it is valid for attendance on the course at Cambridge. Please note a visitor visa does not normally allow for study in the UK.


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

CISL is monitoring the COVID-19 situation and responding accordingly to UK Government and University advice. Labs delivered in the Spring/Summer of 2021 will be offered as online programmes only. Details of Autumn/Winter 2021 workshops will be available in due course.

Blog: First-class graduate education in a Covid-19 world


Labs logo

 Register your interest


Related Links

Previous Labs

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



emma fromberg

Emma Fromberg Programme Manager