Three people protesting the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability LeadershipORCA with permission for Varsity

Cambridge is offering a course for “the world’s most influential families”, helping recipients of generational wealth manage their estates.

The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) highlights how these families must “create and protect value over the long term”, specifically in the context of “increasing scrutiny in relation to growing inequality” and “demands for more equitable and inclusive models of wealth creation”.

The 6-month Multi-Generational Leadership Programme includes interactive modules surrounding strategic thinking, including one-on-ones with leading experts across various industries. Highlighting debate and networking as key elements of the programme, it guarantees “peer exchange and community building” with a gala dinner after the course. Noting that families tend to have “the longest planning cycle in the economy”, the course promises “a safe space to hear radical voices and debate challenging and sensitive issues”.

A spokesperson told the Daily Mail that the £12,075 programme is “about addressing climate change”. The course outlines its impact, hoping to “deepen” understanding of social and environmental indicators including climate change and population growth. It highlights the relationship between ‘value’ and ‘values’ and includes modules on ‘stewardship’.

Some are not convinced by the Institute’s assertion that the programme centres around climate change. Extinction Rebellion Youth Cambridge (XRYC) left graffiti phrases including “Eat the Rich” and “Save the Planet” on the steps of the Institute on the 4th June this year, and picketed a few days later. One XRYC member said: “If we want a sustainable future we have to end the hoarding of wealth and power by the ultra-rich - we don’t want them shaping anything!”

The group has also raised concerns regarding the course’s advisory board, which includes Clare Woodcraft, former Deputy Director of Shell.


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“Families must ensure that they themselves are sustainable,” sai Iraj Ispahani, a Founding Advisor on the course.

CISL told Varsity that the course aims to help those who currently hold power to “develop strategies to contribute to the kind of systemic change that is needed to address climate change, environmental challenges and inequality.”

“Private wealth — and the families that control it — are hugely influential in many economies, yet there is very little focus upon or constructive challenge of this sector within the sustainability movement. Our programme seeks to address this gap,” the spokesperson said.