The University of British Columbia, Continuing Studies Centre for Sustainability

Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership


The Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership (SISL) is an intensive one-week professional development program designed for those taking a leadership role in establishing policy, creating plans and implementing sustainability projects in businesses, colleges, universities, and across all levels of government. This award-winning program provides you the opportunity to engage in creative thinking about your role as a sustainability leader and the actions your organization can take to move the sustainability agenda forward.

The Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership offers a wide variety of perspectives and practical tools needed to integrate sustainability as a core value in your organization. Participants gain insight into perspectives and strategies that are mindful of public policy, stakeholder interest, and the triple-bottom-line.

Key Benefits:

  • Gain an integrated perspective on sustainability from industry, government and academic experts
  • Explore practical examples of sustainability projects through lectures, presentations and interactive field trips
  • Talk to the people who actually develop and run sustainability initiatives across a range of functional areas from managing green buildings to energy conservation
  • Network with participants from a variety of sectors and geographic locations to support the cross-pollination of ideas, practices and strategies
  • Reflect on your own commitment and leadership style in helping to move your personal and organizational sustainability agenda forward
  • Take part in a premier professional development program within the context of a retreat atmosphere, in order to support the possibility of deeper levels of change and understanding

Who Should Participate?
The Institute is designed to empower directors, managers, coordinators, consultants, and other change-agents in business, government, and universities and colleges who are committed to the development of sustainable practices and policies.

The Institute appeals to several types of professionals:

  • People currently working in sustainability strategy and operations who wish to increase their understanding and further develop their skill set
  • Those new to sustainability who have been tasked to help develop organization-wide sustainability initiatives
  • Individuals working in academic or support units who wish to implement sustainability principles within the organization
  • Consultants who wish to increase their knowledge of sustainability issues while refining their understanding of client needs.

Past institutes have brought together delegates from across the US and Canada, and from as far away as Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Columbia, Kenya, Korea, and Saudi Arabia, providing a diversity of cultural perspectives and an opportunity for participants to learn about sustainability efforts and attitudes from afar.


The UBC campus provides a unique learning opportunity that combines professional development within a retreat-like setting to help you more fully understand your commitment to sustainability while developing your leadership skills. The intention is to empower you to deliver meaningful change within your community or organization.

Interactive Seminars and Panel Presentations
Participatory seminars and panels are delivered by academic experts and industry professionals specialized in particular areas of sustainability. These sessions offer opportunities to learn about sustainability issues and best practices, while also engaging in discussions with subject-area experts.

Applied Case Studies
Case studies provide practical, real-life examples to contextualize theoretical concepts. Case studies will highlight challenges, strategies and best practices associated with implementing sustainability initiatives into organizational practices.

Experiential Guided Field Trips
On-site visits will be made to examine specific sustainability initiatives, both at UBC and in the wider Vancouver community.

IdeaLink: Guided Networking and Strategizing Session
This mid-week session allows participants the opportunity to address issues that are relevant to them and their organization. Delegates work collaboratively to strategize around particular themes, questions, and challenges.

Optional Networking
Optional evening activities give participants an opportunity to network with other Institute delegates, and to explore The University of British Columbia and the city of Vancouver.

Week at a Glance
A tentative schedule for the 2013 Institute is provided below, and will be updated as topics and speakers are confirmed. Please note that sessions are subject to change based on speaker availability.

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