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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)


Businesses can use their influence to engage communities, and build public and government appetite for sustainable business.

Given the significant business opportunities and risks in the transition to a sustainable economy, this is no time for greenwash, complacency or ‘basic compliance’ approaches. Business is expected to lead. Using corporate influence for constructive community engagement, positive policy dialogue and behaviour change is an essential characteristic of a sustainable business.

Accelerating progress towards a sustainable economy will require businesses to enter new collaborations with their value chains, customers, communities, competitors and peers, to harness and deploy new innovations.

Businesses can engage external stakeholders in ways that mitigate risk and unlock opportunities for sustainable business; this includes governments and regulators, customers, communities, suppliers, investors and business associations.

A significant proportion of the information citizens receive is via communications, marketing and public relations undertaken by business. These powerful influences can promote sustainable business and consumer choices.

Businesses can work with governments and communities to minimise potential negative impacts of change, such as job losses caused by industry transitions and automation. This gives communities a voice in transition planning and provides support to access new opportunities.

Public and government affairs experts can play a vital role in engagements with policymakers to shape future markets which favour sustainable businesses over unsustainable short-term business models.

What is the quality of engagement between companies and the communities they operate within? Do the company’s public policy engagement and customer communications encourage action towards a sustainable economy?

Businesses can use their influence to mobilise communities, customers, investors and policymakers behind their sustainable business practices.

Back to the Rewiring the Economy landing page.