Back to search

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership - an institution within the University of Cambridge

  • Across complex and connected issues, we challenge, inform and support leaders from business and policy to deliver change towards sustainability.
  • We help influential individuals, major organisations and whole sectors develop strategies that reconcile profitability and sustainability and to work collaboratively
  • Rewiring the Economy

    Rewiring the Economy

    Our ten-year plan lays the foundations for a sustainable economy through the collaboration of business, government and finance.

Publications by theme

Energy usage

Low carbon transformation

How can businesses worldwide articulate a collective response to government on climate change?

Ecosystem

Natural resource security

How can companies sustain the natural world through their operating practices?

Sustainability leadership

Sustainability leadership

How can we foster the right kind of leadership to transform

the way we run our economies and societies within the limits of the natural world?

Economy

Sustainable finance

How can we create a finance system that incentivises and rewards long-term thinking?

Knowledge hubs

Consumables

Circular economy

How do we build an economy that produces no waste and pollution, by design or intention?

Cities

Cities

How can cities develop sustainably and drive the transition to a low carbon future?

Latest publications 

Our sustainability reports and publications highlight some of the best examples of sustainability leadership that have emerged over the past few years and explore new ideas and approaches that have the potential to deliver transformational change.


How businesses measure their impacts on nature

May 2017 – This CISL working paper identifies that investors and companies alike want to create long-term value by mitigating risks and improving their impact on the natural environment. This paper concludes that to achieve this there is a need for useful, simple and commonly accepted impact metrics that can help shape operational decision-making, engage with civil society, and respond to investor requests. CISL is working to develop these metrics with a group of investors and multinational companies.

How businesses measure their impacts on nature - Read More…

21st century energy: Business reflections on renewables in Europe

April 2017 – This report brings together business stories and interviews with companies with an interest in renewable energy. It focuses on EU policies on renewable energy and industry’s role in innovating to deliver it.

21st century energy: Business reflections on renewables in Europe - Read More…

Resilience in commercial forestry: Doing business with nature

March 2017 – A new Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership report presents the case for natural resources to be better considered in commercial forestry decision-making processes.

Resilience in commercial forestry: Doing business with nature - Read More…

8 sustainability trends driving business in 2017

February 2017 – This 2017 trends briefing from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) highlights the key developments that business leaders need to anticipate and respond to.

8 sustainability trends driving business in 2017 - Read More…

UK Industrial Strategy: Navigating a changing world

20 January 2017 – This discussion paper has been commissioned by The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group to inform the development of an industrial strategy fit for the 21st century.

UK Industrial Strategy: Navigating a changing world - Read More…

Business, justice and the new global economy

December 2016 – This new report from CISL provides a framework for business leaders, to help them incorporate considerations of justice into their decision-making and interactions with stakeholders and policymakers as they embrace the changes that will be required in a new global economy.

Business, justice and the new global economy - Read More…

Nexus2020: The most important research questions for business sustainability

8 December 2016 – A new report, which is the result of a unique collaboration between business and academia, highlights the most important questions for businesses around the sustainable management of food, energy, water and the environment.

Nexus2020: The most important research questions for business sustainability - Read More…

Investing for resilience

December 2016 – Investing for Resilience explores how the insurance industry can contribute to redirecting substantial flows of capital into resilience enhancing investments. This includes helping in the development of a resilience rating system.

Investing for resilience - Read More…

Closing the protection gap: ClimateWise Principles Independent Review 2016

December 2016 – The ClimateWise Principles Independent Review 2016 of the six ClimateWise Principles finds a second year of improved scores for members of the insurance industry leadership group. Members have demonstrated their ongoing support for the zero carbon, climate-resilient transition yet the report finds a need for the industry to do more within its investment activities.

Closing the protection gap: ClimateWise Principles Independent Review 2016 - Read More…

Future Proofing: Sustainable plans for prosperous economies

November 2016 – This policy briefing highlights the importance of long-term policy planning to deliver the vision of the Paris Agreement and outlines key characteristics of business friendly long-term plans.

Future Proofing: Sustainable plans for prosperous economies - Read More…

Biodiversity and ecosystem services in environmental profit & loss accounts

October 2016 – This paper is a unique collaboration between the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), Kering, a world leader in apparel and accessories, and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment working with the Natural Capital Project. This paper explores how improved biodiversity metrics and methodologies can be developed, tested and then deployed to help businesses factor biodiversity into their decision-making processes.

Biodiversity and ecosystem services in environmental profit & loss accounts - Read More…

Biodiversity and ecosystem services in corporate natural capital accounting: Synthesis report

26 October 2016 – A new report, which is the result of a unique collaboration between business and academia, highlights the challenges and opportunities for businesses in factoring biodiversity into their decision-making.

Biodiversity and ecosystem services in corporate natural capital accounting: Synthesis report - Read More…

A new climate for business: Planning your response to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

September 2016 – This business briefing provides an overview of what was agreed in the Paris Agreement. It explains the major implications and helps businesses to formulate their strategic responses.

A new climate for business: Planning your response to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change - Read More…

Greening the finance of China’s commodity imports: Lessons from practice

September 2016 – At the invitation of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and the Banking Environment Initiative worked with the Chinese banking industry to ask whether it is possible to green the finance of China’s commodity imports, and thereby address the risks associated with unsustainable agricultural production.

Greening the finance of China’s commodity imports: Lessons from practice - Read More…

Environmental risk analysis by financial institutions – a review of global practice

September 2016 – The G20’s new Green Finance Study Group asked the Cambridge Centre for Sustainable Finance to serve as Knowledge Partner and make recommendations on how to integrate environmental risk into mainstream financial decision-making.

Environmental risk analysis by financial institutions – a review of global practice - Read More…

Operationalising natural capital: Managing opportunities and risks from natural resources

July 2016 – With the launch of the Natural Capital Protocol businesses are looking for ways to consider the natural environment in their decision-making.

Operationalising natural capital: Managing opportunities and risks from natural resources - Read More…

In search of impact: Measuring the full value of capital

May 2016 – As fiduciaries, investors gain by helping beneficiaries make informed choices about the management of their savings and investments. This report aims to help the investment industry empower savers to understand the impact of their investments on the critical challenges of our generation and to invest in line with their world views.

In search of impact: Measuring the full value of capital - Read More…

Taking the long view: A toolkit for long-term, sustainable investment mandates

May 2016 – Short-termism in financial markets has been widely identified as a cause of underinvestment, economic inefficiency and poor decision-making by corporations, that undermines long-term value creation. This report provides a toolkit for investors who wish to design investment mandates that can help shift the investment chain towards responsible, long-term value creation.

Taking the long view: A toolkit for long-term, sustainable investment mandates - Read More…

Feeling the heat: An investors’ guide to measuring business risk from carbon and energy regulation

May 2016 – The COP 21 climate agreement indicates a growing global consensus for action on climate change. In response, this research report assesses the impact of future carbon- and energy-related regulation on the most sensitive industries and geographies at a company level.

Feeling the heat: An investors’ guide to measuring business risk from carbon and energy regulation - Read More…

Incentivising the trade of sustainably produced commodities

April 2016 – This discussion paper explores how to scale up the role that banks can play in supporting the shift towards sustainable soft commodity supply chains.

Incentivising the trade of sustainably produced commodities - Read More…

Business Compendium: How the private sector is building Europe's climate ambition

4 March 2016 – This low carbon Business Compendium demonstrates how the activities of some of the world’s largest companies are contributing to the delivery of a low carbon future. The Compendium compiles examples of the ambitions and achievements that European businesses have made so far in tackling climate change, and aligning their business with a low carbon pathway.

Business Compendium: How the private sector is building Europe's climate ambition - Read More…

Threading natural capital into cotton

11 February 2016 – A new Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership report, produced jointly with leading global businesses, addresses natural capital challenges in the cotton industry that impact all actors, from farmer to retailers.

Threading natural capital into cotton - Read More…

The Paris Climate Agreement: Implications for banks, institutional investors, private equity and insurers

February 2016 – This briefing paper provides analysis of the most pressing points of the Paris Agreement, and other key developments from the climate summit, and concludes that a coherent, strategic response is required of financial institutions.

The Paris Climate Agreement: Implications for banks, institutional investors, private equity and insurers - Read More…

REALCAR project circular economy case study: Collaboration for a closed-loop value chain

January 2016 – This closed-loop case study explores the lessons learnt from the REALCAR closed loop value chain project between Jaguar Land Rover, Novelis, Innovate UK and partners, in the creation of new materials and production systems to introduce closed-loop aluminium into Jaguar Land Rover cars.

REALCAR project circular economy case study: Collaboration for a closed-loop value chain - Read More…

Commercial gains from addressing natural capital challenges in the dairy sector

25 January 2016 – A new report commissioned by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and leading UK companies presents practical measures that could deliver a more sustainable dairy industry.

Commercial gains from addressing natural capital challenges in the dairy sector - Read More…