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Building sustainability leadership capacity with executive education

Our executive education sustainability programmes offer insight into innovative, commercially relevant ways to address global trends that impact business such as climate change, technology disruption and urbanisation. We help decision-makers identify material risks and opportunities, formulate effective responses and inspire them to take action to lead transformational change.

For organisations who want to thrive in today’s context, our executive education programmes help build the knowledge, capacity and skills at all levels from chief executives and boards, through to middle managers and across entire organisations.


What is executive education for sustainability?

Today’s business decisions are made in a world that is more volatile, complex and uncertain than ever before. Many organisations are recognising the need to respond to and, where possible, inform the changing context in which they operate.

Forward-looking organisations are aligning their strategy and innovation efforts to address issues such as inequality, climate change and finite natural resources. Businesses are increasingly factoring global commitments such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals into their decision-making. They are looking for ways to grow a zero carbon economy in order to mitigate risk, attract and retain talent and seize new market opportunities. To achieve these goals, organisations need to equip their people with the knowledge and skills to be successful.

Find the right programme for you or your organisation. 


Who do we work with?

To date, we have worked with 8,000 individuals across 1,000 organisations around the world. Many of our relationships are multi-year engagements where we work with different teams and divisions across major businesses, to help organisations achieve their learning objectives and embed sustainability leadership.

Read more about our clients.


Our approach to executive education

We make use of Cambridge’s extensive research capabilities and our unparalleled experience in executive education for sustainability

Underlying all our work is the desire to help organisations in every sector grow effective individual and collective leadership that advances their own organisation’s development and builds the foundations for a sustainable economy.

Find out more about sustainability leadership.

We deliver bespoke programmes

Our programmes are customised for companies to address specific learning and development needs. We work closely with clients to define objectives and the right structure for learning, based on our extensive knowledge of how individuals learn.

Our design teams work through a process that includes needs analysis, horizon scanning and assessment of participant profiles to determine the right content and structure. This could be a series of half-day seminars, three-day workshops, or modules delivered over consecutive years. Often, our programmes combine face-to-face learning with online modules if required, delivered in Cambridge or elsewhere in the world.

Find out how you can deliver commercial success with a customised education programme.

We take a collaborative approach to leadership and change

We create an effective, safe learning environment for constructive dialogue, challenging assumptions and engaging with diverse perspectives, equipping participants to shape strategic interventions that will deliver impact and long-term value within their organisations. We look for practical actions that individuals and groups can take in order to deliver change.

Find out how we’ve helped improve organisational performance.

Our faculty and contributors are leaders in their fields

For each programme, we hand-pick the faculty team from our exceptional range of Fellows and Senior Associates, and from business and academia, drawing on experts in business strategy, innovation, collaboration, leadership and organisational change, often engaging with people who lead the change themselves in their businesses. 

In practical terms, we utilise the latest evidence, diverse perspectives and cross-disciplinary thinking, new business models and innovations, analytical decision-making tools and scenarios. Teaching formats include roundtable discussions, plenary sessions, debates, case study analysis, site visits and working in small groups. Programmes take place globally or at residential events in the historic University colleges of Cambridge.

Read more about our global sustainability network.


About us

At the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), we focus on building the capacity to effectively tackle the world’s most critical social and environmental challenges.

For nearly 30 years, we have worked with business, government and finance leaders globally to shape their leadership journey.

We operate within the 800-year old University of Cambridge, providing world-class research and teaching that business can apply to solving today’s problems.

Find out more about the Institute.


Thought leadership on sustainability

Our publications and knowledge hubs highlight some of the best examples of leadership that have emerged over the past few years and explore new ideas and approaches that have the potential to deliver transformational change.

Access our sustainability resources.