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Call for expression of interest: Business engagement consultant (nature-based solutions and regenerative agriculture)

Apply by Sunday 20 June.

Call for expression of interest: Business engagement consultant (nature-based solutions and regenerative agriculture) 


The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is a globally influential Institute developing leadership solutions for a sustainable economy. To support us in an exciting new project, we are looking to work with a freelance consultant(s) as an active delivery partner. The consultant will work for the Business and Nature team on a sub-contracted basis. The project will be focused on identifying and overcoming internal stumbling blocks that prevent / slow down business readiness to invest effectively in nature-based solutions (NBS) particularly, but not limited to, regenerative agriculture practices 

Project scope

AimHelp inform and design a diagnostic that will empower companies to ‘self-assess’ their own barriers to investing in NBS - within their own value chain (rather than offsets) - and understand ways to overcome these. This diagnostic will be published in the name of the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). It will need to be a user friendly, credible, ‘diagnostic tool’, helping users identify where their own organisation needs to transform. 

Timeframe: The project is envisaged to start towards the end June 2021 and run until end of February 2022. 

Summary of tasks and outputs required: We have spilt the tasks into three workstreams. We anticipate that the heaviest time commitment for the consultant will fall in workstream B so the Expression of Interest response should reflect that regards the proposed budget. There are other workstreams relevant to the project which will be undertaken by the CISL team. The ideal candidate will therefore work closely with the CISL team to ensure feedback is integrated and that findings and outputs meet CISL and the project funder’s expectations. 

Workstream A: Collection and analysis of ‘lessons learned’ from a few existing projects which have unlocked corporate investment in NBS within the value chain. 

Activities will include: 

  • participation in an initial briefing with CISL, 

  • support in identifying the existing projects which will be analysed, 

  • designing and agreeing the analytical framework with CISL, and the mechanism for sharing insights gathered, 

  • undertaking the analysis, 

  • drafting a report on findings for each project analysed and revising it based on comments provided by CISL (by mid-August 2021). This report is likely to be shared with CISL’s collaborators but is not currently envisaged to be publicly available, 

  • synthesis of findings and extrapolation to provide content for the ‘diagnostic and any other project outputs. 

Workstream B: Conduct five specific in-depth engagements with individual companies to track the decision-making process an investment in an NBS project would have to pass through, to identify language, procedural approaches and other factors potentially enabling of or prejudicial to proceeding with NBS projects. 

Activities will include: 

  • participation in an initial briefing with CISL, 

  • designing and agreeing the analytical framework and evidence gathering process with CISL and the mechanism for sharing insights gathered, 

  • support in identifying companies and pitching the engagement to them, 

  • company-facing engagement in support of the agreed framework and process with at least 5 companies (summer 2021), 

  • undertaking the analysis of the respective decision-making processes, 

  • drafting a confidential report for each company and revising it based on comments provided by CISL and the company (timing and exact format to be agreed in relation to each company), 

  • drafting a synthesis of findings with a view to providing content for the diagnostic and revising it based on comments provided by CISL (by late October 2021). 

Workstream C: Input to the diagnostic and support to the CISL team in conceptualising and drafting content. The exact scope of the diagnostic is under development and can be refined in discussion with the successful contractor. Other outputs may become relevant as the project progresses eg blogs, presentation materials related to the project’s findings or to the diagnostic. 

Activities will include: 

  • Contributing to the conceptualisation of the diagnostic. 

  • Acting as a sounding board for design of the diagnostic as it evolves, building on the evidence gathered in workstreams A and B and the consultant’s expertise (likely to be October 2021-February 2022).  

  • Acting as a sounding board for content of the diagnostic as it evolves, building on the evidence gathered in workstreams A and B and the consultant’s expertise. This may include commenting on draft language (likely to be October 2021-February 2022). 

  • Throughout the course of the contract, acting as a sounding board for content of other outputs as may become relevant as the project progresses eg blogs, social media assetspresentation materials. 

Skills, capabilities and experience required: 

  • Proven ability to deliver credible, user friendly outputs to a business audience on time and to budget. 

  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to build rapport and relationships with senior business leaders and technical experts, ideally demonstrated by an existing active network. 

  • Experience of producing high quality primary and secondary research using a range of methodologies and sources, including assessment of business operations. 

  • Ability to devise robust audit approach to apply to businesses and synthesise outputs effectively 

  • Proactive and experienced business advisor/sounding board.  

  • Ideally, we are seeking an individual with knowledge of best practice in nature-based solutions/regenerative agriculture approaches. 

Expressions of interest application 

This piece of work has aallocated budget in the region of £24,000. Please apply by Sunday 20 June at the latest. Please be advised that, owing to delivery needs, applications will be considered as they are submitted so candidates are encouraged to apply at the earliest opportunity so we can set up interviews for candidates with the most pertinent experience as soon as possibleWork will ideally commence in late June or early July. 

To apply please send the following to: Business&Nature@cisl.cam.ac.uk: 

  1. Expression of Interest Letter (maximum of 2 pages) outlining approach to each stage and detailed costs.  

  1. A CV highlighting your most relevant experience to this specific opportunity. 

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