Learning Matters

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Development in Climate Change Leadership

Developing climate change leadership (CCL) in organisations has become of critical importance in closing the gap between the impact and intent of current corporate sustainability. However, whilst the qualities of effective climate change leadership remain relatively under-researched, it is challenging to know which capabilities and competencies to prioritise in terms of development. Our programs  focus on the current research in this area and outlines the foundational and complementary skills necessary for individuals, teams and organisations in their quest to develop the necessary leadership structures and capabilities for a thriving and responsible corporation in the context of a healthy and regenerative planetary environment. Developing effective CCLs can be achieved  at both the individual and programmatic levels, and the balance between inner development (mindsets, values and worldviews) and external development (purpose, structure and governance) is critical  in pursuit of a business sector that actively promotes and aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Developing capability in climate change leadership can be achieved through a number of forums. We follow the Lominger 70:20:10 rule where 70% of developmental experiences are found in challenging role assignments, 20% of new learning comes from coaching and mentoring relationships and 10% comes from formal training.

Climate Change Leadership Development

CCL Leadership development programs –  new program coming in 2023.

Individual CCL coaching is  available face to face or virtually. Contact us for more details

Team coaching for climate change leadership is also available.


Climate Leadership Conference 2022

Climate Leadership Conference US

Economist Climate Change Conference Oct 12-16th 2020

International Environmental Psychology Conference 2021

Higher Education

Principles of responsible management education have been defined in the UN Global Compact

Business Schools for Climate Leadership https://sites.google.com/view/bs4cl/home

Business Schools offering relevant course include;

  • Lancaster University MA Leadership for Sustainability
  • Malmo University MSc. Leadership for Sustainability
  • University of Cambridge M.Sc. Sustainability Leadership
  • Portland State MBA Leadership, Innovation & Sustainability
  • Texas A&M MSc One Planet Leadership
  • See Shriberg & MacDonald (2013) for complete list.

British Academy – Principles for a Purposeful Business

Director & Board Programs

Chapter Zero

Coaching and Mentoring

Climate Coaching Alliance

GAPFRAME translate SDG’s

Green Human Resource Management (HRM)

HRM has a significant role to play in the support and development of Climate Change Leaders within organisations, (Renwick et al, 2013). Reasons for organisations to adopt green HRM practices include;

  1. Gaining competitive advantage through corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  2. Attract and retain the best talent
  3. Stimulate growth and innovation
  4. Maximal use of resources and waste reduction
  5. Ensuring a healthy work environment

Developing as a Climate Change Leader 

There is currently no definitive career path for climate change leaders with organisations.  However some of the key components for developing as an effective climate change leader include;

  • Exposure to interconnectedness of business and society
  • Systemic awareness and thinking
  • Inclusive and expansive stakeholder mindset
  • Acquisition of sustainable leadership models
  • Ethical and responsible decision making
  • Ecological worldview
  • Biocentrism
  • Radical collaboration within and across sectors


Key Research

PWC Project Ulysses  – Developing Responsible Global Leaders (Pless et al. 2011).

Key elements included ;

  • Responsible mindset CSR awareness
  • Ethical Literacy – clarification of virtues & vales
  • Cultural intelligence – awareness and empathy
  • Global mindset – managing complexity
  • Community development – stakeholder engagement


Leadership for Sustainability (Burns et al, 2015)

Strategies include;

  • Interconnected self-awareness
  • Continuous, challenging and contextualized reflection
  • Exploring Ecological perspectives
  • Experiential learning in communities
  • Individual & team coaching

Tactics and techniques for Developing Climate Change Leaders

(Hoffman, 2015)

  1. Use pre-existing set of concerns like organisational commitment and engagement to influence  
  2. Consider how to frame the conversation – public health, security, environmental or business frames can all work in different context.
  3. Facilitate the emotional management of helplessness by focusing on individual and specific purposeful acts.
  4. Finally consider the compelling purpose. What is optimistic and attractive about a low carbon future?


Burns, H., Diamond-Vaught, H., & Bauman, C. (2015). Leadership for sustainability: Theoretical foundations and pedagogical practices that foster change. International Journal of Leadership Studies.

Hoffman, A. J. (2015). How culture shapes the climate change debate. Stanford University Press.

MacKie, D.J. (2023) Developing Climate Change Leadership in Organisations. In MacKie, D.J. (Eds.) The Handbook of Climate Change Leadership in Organisations. Routledge.

Pless, N. M., Maak, T., & Stahl, G. K. (2011). Developing responsible global leaders through international service-learning programs: The Ulysses experience. Academy of Management Learning & Education10(2), 237-260.

Renwick, D. W., Redman, T., & Maguire, S. (2013). Green human resource management: A review and research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews15(1), 1-14.

Shriberg, M., & MacDonald, L. (2013). Sustainability leadership programs: Emerging goals, methods & best practices. Journal of Sustainability Education5(1), 1-21.