skip to content

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

10 September 2020 – The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) have announced a continuation of their long-standing Strategic Partnership, which aims to further their mutual interests in supporting and leading the transition to a sustainable economy.

CISL and LBG have worked together for over ten years, in which time corporate action on sustainability issues, such as climate change, has entered the mainstream.  During this time LBG has moved into a position where it is independently recognised as a leader in its sector. It became the first major UK bank to make a commitment to reducing the carbon emissions it finances by more than 50 per cent by 2030 and has risen from last place in ShareAction’s 2017 Banking on a Low Carbon Future ranking, to second place in the ‘leader’ category.

The refreshed partnership spans a range of bespoke and collaborative initiatives supporting the bank’s leadership on key social and environmental issues in pursuit of its purpose to ‘Help Britain Prosper’.

As well as supporting alignment of the bank’s own activities with the transition to a sustainable economy, CISL is helping Lloyds deliver its commitment  to support the UK’s delivery of a net zero carbon economy, by shaping the wider operating environment through pro-active policy engagement, and participation in banking- and multi-sector collaborations.

On renewing the strategic partnership Dame Polly Courtice, Director of CISL, said:

“The critical decade to 2030, earmarked for getting our climate on track for net zero by 2050, will require transformation of the financial system as its leaders wrestle with the implications of global sustainability. I’m pleased to welcome back Lloyds Banking Group, a long-standing partner of CISL that has shown great commitment to strengthening its leadership on sustainability issues, as well as supporting the UK’s transition to a zero carbon economy.”

Fiona Cannon, Group Sustainable Business Director at Lloyds Banking Group, said:

“Greening the financial system will be a fundamental enabler of the transition to a Net Zero economy, and Lloyds Banking Group is dedicated to playing a leading role in championing change. Our partnership with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership has helped us to up-skill our colleagues across the business to understand better the risks and opportunities presented by factors like climate change.”

LBG has been an active member of CISL’s Banking Environment Initiative (BEI), the sustainability leadership group for the global banking sector, since its founding in 2010. In collaboration with fellow banking members, LBG contributed to the recent Bank 2030 study, to assess and show how banks can accelerate the financing of the low carbon economy, and to develop a vision for what a climate progressive bank should look like. The BEI continues to pioneer sustainable finance research and stakeholder engagement in the areas of biodiversity risk, anti-deforestation policies and client engagement for net zero carbon transition.

LBG is also a member of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), and was a high profile supporter of its recent letter calling for a Covid-19 recovery plan to ‘build back better’, for a more inclusive, stronger and resilient economy. The letter attracted over 200 corporate signatories, helping ensure the UK government understands the strength of support for a green recovery in the business community.  Since then the CLG and its members have been actively liaising with government on the shape of economic recovery measures.

A major focus of CISL’s work with Lloyds in the past three years has been supporting the bank as it renewed its strategy and governance relating to climate change and sustainability.  CISL worked closely with Group Sustainable Business Director, Fiona Cannon, to lead a series of strategy workshops for the leadership teams of key divisions and the Board Sub-Committee on Responsible Business.

Read our interview with Fiona Cannon to find out how LBG assessed the strategic implications of sustainability and what it has taken to achieve such rapid progress and alignment of ambition.

Subsequently CISL and LBG worked together on the approach to operationalise the refreshed strategy by embedding sustainability skills, knowledge and capacity across the Group. This included the Retail Bank, Insurance & Wealth, Group Risk, Group Brands & Marketing, People & Productivity, Group Transformation, Group Property and Group Sourcing. Alongside this, CISL has worked extensively with the Commercial Bank, to equip over 640 senior relationship managers to integrate sustainability into their client engagements.

Lloyds recently became the first major UK bank to make a commitment to reducing the Carbon emissions it finances by more than 50% by 2030. The Bank has risen from last place in ShareAction’s 2017 Banking on a Low Carbon Future ranking, to second place in the ‘leader’ category in the 2020 edition. In addition, LBG has launched a number of innovative products including a £2bn Clean Growth Finance Initiative and the £1m Electric Vehicle 1000 product, providing £1,000 cashback on the purchase of an electric vehicle.

The renewed partnership underscores a joint commitment by CISL and Lloyds to support the UK transition to a net zero carbon economy, in a way that protects and enhances both nature and society. A task that will only become more urgent in a post-pandemic world.   


Zoe Kalus, Head of Media  

Email | +44 (0) 7845652839