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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

August 2015 – This report, jointly authored by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainablity Leadership and Ecofys, analyses five cooperative initiatives involving the private sector and identifies their emissions reduction potential. The potential emission reductions from the top five initiatives are significant – at current ambition levels estimated emission reductions could reach 200 MtCO2e.

Better-partnerships-report.pngDownload the report

Download Annex I: The numbers explained

Download Annex II: Detailed methodologies

The report shows that a potential emissions saving of 500 MtCO2e by 2020 – equivalent to 131 coal-fired power stations emissions in one year – could be achieved if the initiatives scaled up, demonstrating that the contribution of such initiatives to ‘wedging the emissions gap’ is not insubstantial.

Five case study initiatives were chosen for an analysis of current and potential future emission reductions, as well as analysing barriers to, and opportunities for, scaling up their impact.

The report details that there are different motivations behind companies participating in different collaborations. The most common of these motivations included enhancing company reputations through being recognised as a leader in sustainability, getting ahead of regulation, costs savings, and creating new markets for their products and services. The structures and scope of the initiatives recognise these different drivers. Significantly, the fact that these initiatives are international in scope means they are helping to close the emissions gap.

The report concludes with a nine-point Action Plan outlining practical actions businesses and stakeholder can take to increase the impact of cooperative initiatives. Actions included the setting of clear goals, establishment of rigorous monitoring processes, strong communications and cross-collaborative partnerships, and creating the necessary support structures. 


This latest report contributes to CISL's Rewiring the Economy plan which presents ten interconnected tasks for government, finance and business leaders over the next ten years to lay the foundations for a sustainable economy and deliver against the forthcoming UN Sustainable Development Goals.

This work contributes in particular to:

Task 7: Set a bold ambition, and innovate to deliver greater value

Companies can seek models of value creation that generate a fair social contribution within the natural boundaries set by the planet.

Task 9: Grow the capability and incentives to act

Companies can align their capital, talent and senior attention with a sustainable business vision, and ensure people are empowered to deliver.

Task 10: Harness communications for positive change

Companies can use their communication and marketing muscle to build public understanding of (and appetite for) sustainable business.