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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

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 

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) plays a key role working with its partners to accelerate this transition. Through our  foresight, education, convening and innovation we help hundreds of companies and thousands of individuals every year to deliver transformational change and impact for a net zero economy.  


CISL insights


The Dubai hosted 28th annual session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention

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Our position on phasing out fossil fuels.

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Helping businesses align their strategies with net zero.

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Tools, frameworks and thought leadership from the Centre for Sustainable Finance.

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Case studies from startups and SMEs on their net zero journey.

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Thought leadership and knowledge hubs from the Corporate Leaders groups.

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Programmes and courses for business


CISL’s flagship international programme equips leaders with the knowledge, commitment and inspiration to turn sustainability
trends into strategic business decisions.

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Online short course to help business professionals upskill themselves in climate change risk, adaptation measures, and low carbon innovation.

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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.




Resources and research

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 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.

Bank 2030: Accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy

30 January 2020

30 January 2020 – This report authored by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s (CISL) Banking Environment Initative (BEI) highlights the need for banks to develop an ‘active mindset’ in order to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership launches Europe-based leadership group

12 September 2019

12 September 2019 – The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) launches new leadership group to accelerate climate action in Europe.

Industrial Transformation 2050: Pathways to net-zero emissions from EU Heavy Industry

24 April 2019

April 2019 – The report, supported and co-funded by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), sets out multiple possible pathways the EU could pursue to achieve the full decarbonisation of its heavy industries by 2050.

Achieving a net-zero EU heavy industry by 2050 is possible, claims new report

15 April 2019

25 April 2019 – A new report supported by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) outlines multiple pathways for European energy-intensive industries to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, whilst remaining competitive at a global level.