skip to primary navigationskip to content

Achieving Zero

The transition to zero is underway. The private sector has a critical role in delivering this transition and there is a growing body of evidence to demonstrate that it makes business sense to act.

Forward-looking companies understand this. They are harnessing climate action as a driver of innovation, risk management and competitiveness – recognising that setting a course to net zero can provide a powerful guiding light in turbulent times as well as delivering commercial benefits. Yet, there is no blueprint for change and change is not happening fast enough.

The necessary speed and scale of the transition will require unprecedented co-operation and effort from all companies and sectors. It will require transformation towards a new economy that puts people, nature and the climate at the heart of global value creation.


What we do

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is committed to working with our partners in business, government and the finance system, plus our global leadership network of 16,000 individuals, to accelerate this transition. Developing leadership capacity, both at the individual and organisational level, is where our unique contribution and strength lies. We do this in a variety of ways: by working with hundreds of major organisations to develop transformative strategies and action plans; by accelerating enterprises and collaborative initiatives with potential to offer breakthrough solutions; by building evidence and insight to inform decision-making; and, above all, by shaping the operating context for business in favour of organisations that deliver value to society and the environment. 


Leadership development

Leverage icons cols5Our leadership development programmes help senior leaders to lead their companies to sustainable growth.

Master's-level graduate courses in sustainable business help individuals learn to lead change.

Our flexible online sustainability courses and leadership training empower individuals and organisations to tackle global challenges.  

Transforming organisations

Leverage icons cols3Our advisory services help clients to respond to a future of accelerating change and increasing expectations.

Our tailored strategy programmes for business help companies respond to global trends and achieve commercial impact.


Leverage icons colsOur Accelerator and Sustainability Hub supports small businesses and entrepreneurs to push boundaries.

Our virtual Accelerator to Net Zero supports SMEs with high impact potential for enabling the net zero transition.

We assist our clients in achieving step change innovation across products, process and business models. 

Transforming policy & markets

Leverage icons cols2Our Corporate Leaders Groups bring together business leaders committed to supporting the transition to net zero. 

Our Green Growth Partnership provides a forum for exchange between progressive EU governments and businesses.

Our Centre for Sustainable Finance helps financial institutions to play a leading role in building a net zero economy.


Leverage icons cols4The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme fosters new thinking on net zero, leading to practical insights and tools for decision-makers.

Our publications and practitioner research highlight some of the best examples of climate leadership and explore new ideas to deliver transformational change.

Impact stories

CISL conversationsCISL Conversations: we draw fascinating insights and best practice examples from leaders on approaches they have taken to align with net zero.

Impact stories: we gather insights from the companies we work with that are taking leadership on this agenda.


















Tools for alignment and implementation

We offer practical and strategic guidance, grounded in practitioner insights from exceptional people from business, policy and academia, to help leaders and organisations prepare for a net zero future.















Cambridge Zero harnesses the full range of the University’s research and policy expertise, developing solutions that work for our lives, our society and our economy.

Chapter Zero is building a community of non-executive directors and equipping them to lead crucial UK boardroom discussions on the impacts of climate change.

We Mean Business coalition is a global nonprofit coalition working with the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change.

Climate partners


Resources and research

UK business and policy leadership for net zero: analysis of progress to reduce emissions

May 2021 – A new report from University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership analyses the progress the UK has made towards reducing emissions and meeting its 2030 targets, and looks at the role that policy and clear, sector-specific ambitions have played in supporting the transition.

UK business and policy leadership for net zero: analysis of progress to reduce emissions - Read More…

Why the transition to net zero is business's business

9 April 2021 - CISL Course Convenor Dimitri Zenghelis unpacks the three major climate change-related risks affecting organisations and illustrates the significant opportunities that will be gained from transitioning to a net zero carbon business model.

Why the transition to net zero is business's business - Read More…

Brexit and UK climate leadership: The emerging opportunities and challenges

18 March 2020 – A new report from University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership examines the opportunities and challenges for climate leadership in the context of Brexit. 

Brexit and UK climate leadership: The emerging opportunities and challenges - Read More…