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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)


Businesses can embed new ways of thinking in their operational practices and decision making.

Businesses are by nature places of action. Decisions and actions taken by employees shape the activities of the company, from executives to the shop floor.

To fulfil a purpose aligned with a sustainable economy, businesses will need to act differently through their decision-making, operations, supply chains, policies, management tools and governance.

This may mean new policies and methods in sourcing and production; making bold decisions which go further than required by government policies to take voluntary action on labour rights, greenhouse gas emissions, or sustainable sourcing standards, for example.

Businesses will be required to shift activities away from those which are not aligned with a sustainable economy. They may need to forego some short-term income in unsustainable activities, whilst growing new sustainable markets. Executives must navigate the leadership dilemmas inherent in focusing on the long term whilst performing in the short term.

New opportunities will emerge from the redrawing of market boundaries, and many businesses will find themselves in very different markets from those they operate in today, with potential rewards for those
which lead.

The development of organisational capability and capacity to deliver this change is a critical enabler of progress. Businesses can align staff recruitment, development and reward systems to equip employees with the insight, mindset and capabilities to drive change at the scale and pace required.

Are businesses developing and attracting talented people with the capabilities, perspectives and capacity to operate and thrive in the future?

Businesses can develop people with skills to operate in new ways consistent with sustainable business success.

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