skip to content

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Sustainability Essentials for your Startup

22 February 2023 - Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is running a free programme for businesses in the local area who want to learn how to improve their sustainability credentials. 

The in-person workshop, Sustainability essentials for your SME/Startup will include keynote speakers, case studies, networking opportunities, and a dinner reception at Downing College, Cambridge. Experts in the field will educate participants on how to take practical steps to implement sustainability into their businesses.

Viola Jardon, Senior Programme Manager for CISL’s Accelerator team at the Canopy:

“Startups and SMEs often feel overwhelmed about sustainability because they feel they don’t have enough time or resources to do something about it. However, we all have a role to play to achieve a sustainable and just society - and this programme is designed particularly for startups and SMEs with very practical steps they can take. We want participants to finish the programme feeling positive and knowing what their next actions are.”

SMEs account for 99% of the world’s businesses and account for 60% of global industrial emissions. It’s clear they need help transitioning to net zero but, the question is, where does that assistance come from? CISL’s recent report, highlights the need for more resources and funding to be provided by corporations and banks to ensure a smoother green transition. 

This free programme centres around why sustainability is essential to a business, not just a “nice to have”.

The 1.5 day event is in collaboration with Cambridge Enterprise and free for selected participants, thanks to funding by the European Union's European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Day one will focus on understanding why sustainability is essential to a business, navigating different areas of impact (environmentally and socially), incorporating the circular model into product design and operations, and practical steps to decarbonise.

Day two will centre around understanding the pressure for impact from funding upstream, and learning how other successful startups report their impact.

To sign up, participants must meet the criteria of being an SME or startup (based on the European definition: under 250 employees and an annual turnover not exceeding €50m and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43m). Businesses don’t need to be sustainability focused already. It’s an entry-level opportunity for Cambridge’s local enterprises to learn the basics and implement actions from the get-go.

Throughout the duration of the programme, participants will also have the opportunity to take a tour of The Canopy, CISL’s sustainable business hub. The Canopy is a community of entrepreneurs working on solutions to global sustainability challenges and is housed in CISL’s Entopia Building HQ, an energy efficient, sustainable retrofit.

There will be opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs – and participants will join CISL’s Global Network consisting of 27,000 sustainability professionals.

Anne Dobrée, Director of Programming at Cambridge Enterprise said:

“Cambridge Enterprise is so excited to be partnering with Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership on this programme.  It will give start-ups access to knowledge that can really help their company to transform our world, with sustainability at the heart of their business.”

Sustainability essentials for your SME/Startup will be held on Thursday and Friday, 2nd and 3rd of March 2023 at the CISL Entopia Building in Cambridge.

There are 51 spots available in total, sign up here.


Zoe Kalus, Head of Media  

Email | +44 (0) 7845652839