Oxford Sustainable Business Programme

From net zero to strategic growth: mastering business transformation

Start date:


  • 5 days

Time commitment:

  • Short programme


  • Oxford


  • £8,500 plus accommodation

Delivered in partnership between Oxford Saïd and the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.

Together we have created an innovative programme that combines the University’s research in sustainability, business and policy, and leverages world-leading research by Oxford Net Zero. This executive-level programme will ensure a relevant and expert learning experience, empowering business leaders and policy makers to take action.

About the programme

Decarbonisation is the biggest innovation opportunity of our time.

With two-thirds of the world's largest companies committed to net zero targets, and net zero commitments covering 92% of global GDP, the urgency for action is undeniable. However, with only 4% of those commitments meeting key criteria, a strategic and rigorous approach, grounded in a strong business case, is required for companies to succeed.

This executive-level programme, developed for leaders across functional areas, will provide comprehensive guidance on target setting, delivery pathways and robust transition planning, enabling businesses to not only meet net zero goals but also seize strategic growth opportunities along the way.

  • Beyond compliance

    Learn how to proactively turn sustainability goals and regulatory expectations of businesses into strategic advantage

  • Towards innovation

    Discover how sustainability can fuel new products, services and market opportunities

  • Towards a resilient future

    Master core skills to build strong teams and work across silos to future-proof your business

As emergent governance and regulations intensify scrutiny on the quality of targets and delivery pathways, businesses must be fully equipped with the tools and knowledge to navigate this landscape effectively.

Our programme is here to support you every step of the way.

The programme is designed with three unique pillars:

  1. Innovation and strategy: Actionable, world-leading insights on change management, innovation and opportunities associated with decarbonisation for your company
  2. Science: Cutting-edge knowledge of core principles including credible approaches to offsets and transition planning
  3. Standards and regulatory context: Deep-dive on the trends in expectations of companies and how you can lead

This programme includes the development of an action plan to enable you to take your learning back to your organisation. 

We welcome individual participants on this programme. In addition, companies are encouraged to send between one and three participants from different teams to enable cross-functional collaboration for true business transformation. This will be reflected in group participants’ learning designs.

Programme outline

Day 1 - Business and sustainability: core foundations

  • Understand the science of climate change and why it matters for businesses
  • Understand the landscape of net zero-related policy and regulation
  • Introduction to working groups and capstone project: developing a personalised action plan

Day 2 - From decarbonisation to business transformation

  • Understand the tools of leading for innovation
  • Examine sustainable business models
  • Map your current business
  • Ask the experts – what does this mean for my business?

Day 3 - Change management: alignment and collaboration

  • Learn to build alignment in cross-functional teams for effective implementation
  • Navigate trade-offs in change management
  • Deep dive on your personal action plan

Day 4 - Understanding context: scenarios, finance, regulations

  •  Identify leading tools and practices and how to implement them in your business
  • Articulate the role of emerging standards and reporting for your company
  • Ask the experts – deep dives on actionable topics

Day 5 - Beyond net zero: creating a regenerative future

  • Formulate an action plan for your business’ sustainable transformation
  • Evaluate your strategy: your net zero business or your business for a net zero world?
  • Beyond decarbonisation: what is coming next?
  • Presentation by peer working groups of capstone project plan


To you

  • Gain cutting-edge expertise on business decarbonisation and net zero
  • Identify key opportunities for innovation and transformation within your business
  • Build a plan to work cross-functionally to solve implementation challenges
  • Become confident that you can lead your business through large strategic transformations

To your business

  • Identify strategic priorities and allocate resources effectively
  • Successfully navigate the complex and changing landscape of net zero and decarbonisation at scale
  • Build compelling plans and communicate effectively to stakeholders across the business
  • Action plan for your organisation to move from decarbonisation to business transformation


The programme has been convened by Mary Johnstone-Louis from Saïd Business School and Sam Fankhauser and Alexis McGivern from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.



Debates, metrics and the competitive advantage of ESG

The subject of ESG garners significant attention from regulators, corporate leaders, investors and politicians.

In her latest Oxford Answers article, Mary Johnstone-Louis takes us beyond the rhetoric and argues that leaders who can integrate social and environmental impacts and dependencies into their strategy now, and build the governance required to scale the solutions that result, can go far beyond current debates about ESG to build the world’s next generation of strong, innovative and resilient companies.

Read the article

More world-class, cutting edge research from across Oxford University that influences the programme.


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