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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

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 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

Our 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

Our 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.

 

Accelerating solutions

Our 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

Our 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.

Research

The 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 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.

 

Supporters


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.

Supporters

 

Resources and research


Business Green Net Zero Festival Workshops

15 September 2021

Business Green Net Zero Festival 29 September 2021 - 1 October 2021: CISL is delighted to partner with Business Green on a series of workshops at this year's Net Zero Festival. Details of these sessions are available below. The Net Zero Festival will bring together some of the world's foremost thinkers on what it takes to...

Webinar series: Building Natural Connections

27 July 2021

Building Natural Connections: Join us for a series of three chaired talks in the run-up to COP26 that explore how the interdependence of nature, society and economy can be leveraged to provide solutions for a sustainable built environment. The series – hosted by Make Architects’ Future Spaces Foundation, in collaboration...

Targeting Net Zero: A strategic framework for business action

5 July 2021

Introduction A net zero emission economy will be essential to maintain a stable global climate. The private sector has a critical role in delivering this and there is a growing body of evidence to demonstrate that it makes good business sense to act. Business action on climate change can inform...

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

21 May 2021

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.

Building Change

17 May 2021

With a reputation as one of the most environmentally burdensome industries which also has a fundamental opportunity to support healthy and resilient societies, the built environment sector needs to find a way to lead the transition to a sustainable economy. The operation, maintenance and...

Why the transition to net zero is business's business

8 April 2021

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.

Brexit and UK climate leadership: The emerging opportunities and challenges

18 March 2021

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

On eve of Paris Agreement anniversary University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership releases strategic net zero roadmap

8 December 2020

11 December 2020 – A new framework developed by leading sustainability institute CISL aims to support business planning to become climate neutral by 2050.

Developing the EU’s ‘competitive sustainability’ for a resilient recovery and dynamic growth

16 November 2020

17 November 2020 – This thought-starter paper has been prepared with a view to sharing some initial ideas on the a concept of ‘competitive sustainability’, which lies at the heart of the European Green Deal (EGD) and the EU’s growth strategy. Upcoming investment and policy decisions, such as those on the Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs) and the new EU Industrial Strategy need to focus on this new approach to competitiveness to ensure the EU stands to secure advantage and benefit from the economic opportunities, jobs and emissions reductions from the transition to climate neutrality.

University of Cambridge aims to divest from fossil fuel investments by 2030, with net zero targeted by 2038

30 September 2020

The University of Cambridge has announced that it aims to divest its £3.5bn endowment fund from investment in fossil fuels by 2030 as part of its overall strategy for its investment portfolio to reach net zero by 2038.

How are companies preparing for a net zero future?


Publications and videos

Business and Climate Change online course

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Accelerator to net zero

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Corporate Leaders Groups

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The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship Programme

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Our Centres

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