Leading Sustainability Transitions

Course content

Over the six-week duration of the course, you will explore a number of key sustainability themes, gaining relevant skills and knowledge which can then be applied directly to your own organisation. Each of the six lessons contains around 6-8 hours of content, and are broken down into 8-14 steps to guide you through the content and explore the themes in full. Each lesson will be released at the start of each week, so that your learning is spread out over the six-week duration of course. 

There will be extensive use of video interviews with leading practitioners, academics and commentators, and an interactive approach in which you will be encouraged to share your own experiences.

Each lesson will include:

  • Pre-reading to introduce you to the topic about to be covered
  • Learning outcomes to show what you will gain from each lesson
  • An introduction from each lesson leader to set the scene for the lesson
  • Learning content based on different tasks, interactive activities and other opportunities, to help you reflect on and fully engage with the themes being covered
  • Summary and an end of lesson activity to consolidate your learning, and create a plan of how to incorporate your new knowledge into your work. 
Lesson 1 - Sustainability: Science and practice

  • Earth Systems Science
  • The Anthropocene
  • Nexus thinking
  • The UN SDGs
  • The SDG Compass Guide.

The introductory lesson will help you to understand the wider scientific context of sustainability issues. By the end of the lesson, you will have the knowledge to apply a strategic framework for implementing the UN SDG’s.

Lesson 2 - Business and climate change

  • The emissions gap
  • Tipping points
  • Energy transitions
  • The low-carbon society
  • Carbon management
  • Strategic partnerships.

This lesson will help you to appreciate the scale, scope and urgency of the need for climate change action. By the end of the lesson you will be able to develop a suite of appropriate strategic responses for your organisation.

Lesson 3 - Business models for sustainability

  • Sustainable business models
  • The role of marketing
  • Brands, purpose and impact.

This lesson will teach you to consider the strategic and operational choices and decisions needed for sustainability. By the end of the lesson, you will be able to recognise the demand for, and benefits of, purpose-driven business.

Lesson 4 - Design thinking for sustainability

  • What is design thinking?
  • User- and stakeholder-centered processes
  • Exploring different options and challenging assumptions
  • Reframing problems.

This lesson will help you to understand how to design and develop more sustainable products and services, whilst evaluating the applicability of design thinking as an approach to innovation and problem-solving.

Lesson 5 - Behavioural change and decision making for sustainable futures

  • How quickly can behaviour change?
  • How quickly can technology change?
  • Shifts in social norms
  • The limits of adaptation.

This lesson will help you to understand what can, and cannot, be achieved by behaviour change. By the end you will be able to recognise the complex dynamic between systemic and behavioural change.

Lesson 6 - Sustainable Leadership

  • Leading in a complex world
  • Values, ethics and tensions
  • Managing diversity
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Managing yourself and others.

This lesson will help you to consider the role of effective leadership in sustainable business. By the end of the lesson, you will be able to develop models for your own personal leadership development.