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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)


Businesses can contribute to a sustainable future by setting evidence-based targets, measuring the right things, and reporting progress.

Setting bold, ambitious targets sends a strong signal to staff, partners and other stakeholders that the leadership is committed to delivering its purpose, together with the radical innovation and new thinking required to achieve it.

Business leaders say they must measure what they seek to manage. They must also measure what matters. Businesses can ensure that they measure the right things in their operational practices using appropriate social, environmental and economic criteria.

They can set targets informed by evidence, whether from science or international commitments, which take into consideration the nature of the business and its position in the economy, and are not limited to current capabilities.

Businesses will need to embrace new measures to understand their full impact and dependencies on the natural world and society. Enhanced measurement can support the transition towards more sustainable business by understanding the real rate at which critical natural resources (such as soil, water, biodiversity and a stable climate) are being depleted; the risks their business is exposed to as a result; and the true impact of their business on society.

By broadening the use of environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting, businesses can send a clear message to society, capital markets and other stakeholders that their longer term approach to value creation is aligned with a sustainable economy.

Enhanced disclosure of non-financial performance and a generally more transparent approach will facilitate a more informed dialogue with stakeholders, and greater trust in  the role of business in meeting global challenges.

Businesses can demonstrate that a longer-term approach to value creation is aligned with a sustainable economy.

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