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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)


The combination of high-calibre research, deep industry engagement through CISL’s leadership groups, and exceptional educational programmes is unusual, if not unique. This combination drives our ability to deliver transformational research to enable organisations that we work with lead in the field of sustainability.


Commissioned research

Our ten-year plan to rewire the economy to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) guides our research strategy. Our programme of research ranges from shorter commissioned assignments (typically six to eighteen months) through to multi-year business research programmes and world leading academic research collaborations.

Further, we have recently secured funding to host the first cohort of Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellows, who will conduct academic research into pressing sustainability questions.

The main output of our own research is business-relevant thought leadership containing analysis of global evidence, theories and frameworks, academic working papers, case examples and lessons for practice. 

Within the CISL’s Centre for Sustainable Finance we explore the complex, long-term and systemic challenges to the financial system presented by social and environmental trends. Its aim is to inform, educate and ultimately adjust the behaviour of financial markets to catalyse progress towards a sustainable financial system.

Contact us to find out how we can help you.


Case studies

Enabling regulatory assessment of financial stability

We have critically engaged with the research team of a European central bank to support the production of a pioneering study to quantify the impact of a disruptive energy transition on the financial stability of a particular European country.

The business case for biodiversity

CISL worked with a multinational food company, in conjunction with leading academics and conservation organisations, to assess the vulnerability of commodities in their supply chain to global pollinator declines. The risk of pollination deficiencies and the implications for the resilience of supply were identified. CISL led on bringing the research into a business-relevant context, informing the case for ‘pollinator positive’ action.

Inspiring leadership through business insight reports

The Corporate Leaders Group, convened by CISL, has published a series of ‘business conversation’ reports on EU-relevant climate policy topics including renewable energy, resource productivity, transport, and building renovation. These reports combine policy evidence and inspiring examples of business innovation to provide confidence to decision-makers to accelerate action in the areas explored.