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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

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Human activity on the planet has deafened us to messages from nature. The pandemic has caused a pause in the noise. But will we listen?

23 June 2020

June 2020 – As Covid-19 recovery plans are developed, Dame Polly Courtice, Director of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), reflects upon the need for a new contract to be negotiated between business, government and society. One that is built not just upon the resilience of our businesses and financial systems, but of the societies and nature upon whom we unequivocally depend.

The Climate Breakthrough

9 October 2019

October 2019 – Dame Polly Courtice, Director of the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, considers how our growing understanding of climate change must translate into an urgent and inclusive transformation of the global economy.

Climate progress is key to reinvigorate European project

22 May 2019

23 May 2019 – If the EU is to regain trust and achieve a renewed social contract, the most progressive response to the climate crisis must be at the core of its new mission, writes Martin Porter, Executive Chair in Brussels, The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Carbon neutrality by 2050 makes sense

10 May 2019

8 May 2019 – To stay within the boundaries of the Paris Agreement, Europe needs to accelerate efforts to achieve a carbon neutral future and put climate change at the top of the EU agenda. Frank van der Vloed highlights five key steps that are critical for businesses to make the transition.

How climate action is transforming the very fabric of business

18 December 2018

18 December 2018 – Karl Henrik Sundström is CEO of StoraEnso, a provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wood construction and paper and member of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group. Here he reflects on the need for governments to publicly commit to net zero carbon emissions to lay down the indicators of success for businesses.

How can companies use their lobbying to drive a net zero future?

11 December 2018

12 December 2018 – Dylan Tanner, Executive Director and Co-Founder of InfluenceMap on the need for the companies to use their lobbying for good and drive change at the pace and scale required for a net zero future.

Will oil and gas companies survive action on climate change?

11 December 2018

12 December 2018 – Paul Gilding, environmental author and CISL Fellow, questions the future of the oil and gas industry in light of the major economic transformations required to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Climate change liability risk vastly underestimated by businesses

11 December 2018

12 December 2018 – This opinion piece is based on a speech Alice Garton, Senior Lawyer and Head of Climate Programme, ClientEarth, gave to the European Refining and Technology Conference in November 2018. It highlights the need for business leaders to understand the full potential of liability risk – alongside the more often discussed ‘physical risks’ and ‘transition risks’ – in driving the transition to a net zero economy.

Only an integrated approach to the global climate and conservation crises will be sufficient

11 December 2018

12 December 2018 – Tony Juniper, Executive Director for Advocacy and Campaigns, WWF-UK and CISL Fellow, reflects on the need to integrate climate action into our approach to food system and conservation efforts in order to achieve net zero by 2050.

Trustees should prioritise climate risk

15 October 2018

15 October 2018 – The facts speak for themselves and must be acted on – trustees need to prioritise climate risk says Andrew Voysey, CISL’s Director for Sustainable Finance.


The world needs to secure a prosperous, resilient and zero carbon economy. Businesses from all sectors all have a role to play as policy, technology and investment trends all need to be geared to deliver an unprecedented economic transformation.

CISL brings together a core set of leadership groups, uniting businesses, policy leaders and academic expertise to help unlock the economic change required to deliver the safe and sustainable economy of the future and achieve the goals of critical international agreements such as the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.



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