Friday, 7 April 2017

Doctoral studies on sustainable leadership - welcoming Aimée

The doctoral research community on sustainable leadership at the University of Cumbria continues to grow. This month we welcome Aimée Leslie to begin her research on leadership in environmental organisations in the context of increasing concern about progress on conservation.

Working with Professor Jem Bendell at the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS), with support from Dr Maria Mouratidou of the Business School, Aimée will be looking at how environmental professionals evolve as they learn about the variable impacts of their strategies.

Aimée Leslie works as a senior manager at the environmental organisation WWF International and will research with IFLAS part time:

"I’m from Costa Rica. Originally I studied and worked in communications and the media industry, but I have always been passionate about conservation, so when the opportunity to change a volunteer role into a full-time job came, I took it and have dedicated to marine species conservation ever since. I’ve worked for different NGOs over the years, but have spent the last 6 years in Switzerland, working for WWF International. Sustainability, more than a concept is a way of life; one where we care as much about others (people, species, and the environment) as ourselves, and where we put common good above our own interest. This is something I truly believe in and hope, that for the benefit of future generations, more of us choose having a more satisfying life by consuming less and giving more."

Aimee will be joining the internal research symposium on leadership at the University in Carlisle on July 17th and the week-long module on Sustainable Leadership this September in our Lake District Campus in Ambleside. Starting on Sept 12th, that module is open to other professionals in the sustainability field as well as those working on staff development or organisational development and change. Information on that course is here.

To contact Aimee about her research, or Professor Bendell about doctoral studies, email

Monday, 3 April 2017

Free Place on Professional Fellowship for our MOOC alumni

Financial Health Fellowship - looking for the best ideas to tackle financial exclusion and exploitation 
**Free place available for a Money and Society MOOC graduate**
1.7 million adults remain unbanked in Britain today. Only 41% of British households are saving, while 12 million people lack access to affordable credit. Financial exclusion damages mental and physical health, undermines social relationships and can affect households’ ability to fulfil basic needs such as food and heating. We can and need to do better than this.
 Financial Health Fellowship brings together the Finance Innovation Labs experience incubating innovation and Toynbee Halls expertise tackling financial exclusion and exploitation across the UK.
The six-month Fellowship programme, running May to November 2017, is designed for start-up businesses, but we also welcome applications from later-stage innovators facing significant change and innovators within existing financial organisations who want to repurpose a product or service to support financial health. It will boost strategic know-how, transform leadership skills and prepare Fellows to scale their businesses. You can find out more here. 
IFLAS at the University of Cumbria is delighted to host the retreats of the fellowship in our beautiful Lake District campus. We have an active research programme on the topic of currency innovation for sustainable development and outreach via our free Money and Society online course.
If you did that course then if you are accepted on this competitive programme, you can attend the fellowship for free. The Finance Lab are looking for people with the best ideas to address financial exclusion and exploitation, offering access to fairly priced financial products that are easy to understand and control, and support people’s financial welfare.
Apply now! Deadline: midnight 10 April 2017.
MOOC graduates – write “MOOC” in the contribution box of the application form. One free place is reserved for a MOOC alumnus who fulfils all of the Fellowship selection criteria, to be selected at the Fellowship team's discretion. 
Wonder what IFLAS does on this topic? See our paper for the United Nations on currency innovation, and this interview about the MOOC with Professor Bendell.

IFLAS is also celebrating the 10th Anniversary of our University's formation with a free summit on monetary reform and currency innovation, at our London Campus. 60 alumni of the MOOC will be attending (only MOOC alumni may attend).

The summit occurs during our 5 day residential course on sustainable exchange. There is still time to enrol for the non credit bearing option here.

Join some of our past students, including many currency innovators...

Want to know more about this area and our future courses? Contact

Monday, 20 February 2017

The IFLAS Open Lecture series for spring 2017

Here at the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability we are just putting the final touches to our spring series of free Open Lectures. This year we will be presenting them as part of the University of Cumbria’s 10 Year celebrations, which will gather pace during 2017 towards the official birthday of the 1st August.

On Tuesday 21 March, we have our very own Professor Jem Bendell. His talk, entitled “The Future of Collaboration for Sustainability: in the company of revolutionaries?"

Over twenty years ago, large companies and environmental groups started teaming up to address global problems like deforestation and overfishing. Suddenly both sides realised the benefits of collaboration for sustainability. In 1997 Jem Bendell co-wrote "In the Company of Partners" about this phenomenon, with IFLAS Deputy Director Dr David Murphy. Today such partnerships are widespread. But what are they delivering on their original promise? As indicators of Sustainable Development give little cause for optimism, what might collaboration look like in future? In this 20th anniversary retrospective, Professor Bendell argues for a more revolutionary approach for partnership that focus on transforming economic and political systems to achieve a more rapid transition.

Dr Jem Bendell

 Dr Jem Bendell is a Professor of Sustainability Leadership and Founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS). A graduate of the University of Cambridge, he has twenty years of experience working on business sustainability, as a researcher, educator, facilitator, advisor & entrepreneur, having lived & worked in six countries. He is co-author of “Healing Capitalism” and founder of the Post-Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Leadership. Previously he helped create innovative alliances, including the Marine Stewardship Council, to endorse sustainable fisheries and The Finance Innovation Lab, to promote sustainable finance. The WEF appointed him a Young Global Leader in 2012. Professor Bendell now specialises in leadership development, offering coaching and training to senior executives from around the world who have an interest in sustainable enterprise and finance.

Next in the Spring series is a welcome return to a speaker who we first heard back in 2015. Mick Fowler is an award winning author, lecturer and climber. He was voted the ‘Mountaineers' Mountaineer’ in a poll by The Observer newspaper and in 2012 he was awarded the King Albert Mountain Award for his “outstanding contribution to mountaineering”.  In 2016 he and Paul Ramsden became the first pair to win a Piolet d'Or award for the third time, after their ascent of the 6,451-metre (21,175 ft) Gave Ding in the Nepal Himalayas. He was a senior leader in HM Revenue and Customs for many years. He has served as President of the Alpine Club and led numerous cutting edge mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas. Mick has written two volumes of memoirs - On Thin Ice & Vertical Pleasure - both of which were shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature.  He won the Jon Whyte Award for Mountain Literature at the 2005 Banff Mountain Book Festival and the best book prize at the Bormio Mountain Festival (Italy) in 2012.  Eric Vola compiled segments of books by Fowler and Saunders and published the collection in French as "Les Tribulations de Mick et Vic." It won the Grand Prix award at the Passy Book Festival in 2015.

Mick Fowler

 Mick’s talk, “On Thin Ice: Business Ethics and Climbing Ethics” will take place in April, the 25th to be exact. He will be exploring ethics and ethical choices in the field of climbing and parallels in the workplace. He will be discussing what steers climbers to make the ethical choices that they do, the consequences of those choices and whether or not those consequences were foreseeable or intended. Against a backdrop of stunning imagery Mick will be taking us through some of the heated ethical debates in the world of climbing, linking these to business and engaging the audience in discussion of those issues.

In May, a speaker new to IFLAS and The University of Cumbria – David Saddington. Influencing UK & international policy, fronting a pioneering climate media campaign that reached over 3 million people and giving a TEDx talk at London's O2 arena are just a few of David Saddington's achievements as a climate change activist since experiencing a stark introduction to the impacts of climate change as a thirteen year old. 

As a climate change communicator David works to raise the profile of the issue through blogging for media outlets like the Huffington Post, writing book contributions and organising innovative large scale public awareness events in the centre of UK cities involving outdoor cinema, interactive science experiments and panel debates. He is constantly looking for new and innovative to engage with the public and is currently exploring using Virtual Reality technology to tell the story of climate change. 
 After leading education reforms to get climate change on school curricula David has pursued his own academic work studying climate science and a broad range of climate impacts from the environmental to economic, security & health implications. 

David continues to be a contemporary voice and advocate for climate change action, speaking to a range of audiences around the world - from United Nations Conferences to MTV. David speaks about the opportunities and challenges from tackling climate change from his experience consulting on the implementation of carbon and energy policies and on sustainability initiatives with multinational corporations. He always seeks out innovation and ways to re-energise the conversation around this global challenge.

David Saddington

 On the 16th May, at this talk – “Turning science into stories: How do we get people to care about climate change?” David will say that most people are now aware of climate change and the threat it poses - but still, too few of us care enough to take action.

David has been a strong advocate for rapidly moving away from talking about climate change as an environmental issue and instead start getting to grips with the economic, health, security and social aspects.
In this IFLAS open lecture, which follows a year where ‘post-truth’ and ‘populist’ politics have reshaped the western world, David will share his ideas about what all of this means for climate action and how sustainability leaders need to respond. By turning science into stories David believes we can reenergise the conversation around this global challenge and create a more inclusive and diverse voice for change.


We are still working on our Open Lecture for June, but without giving too much away, it promises to be one of the biggest ever…

Paul Rose
...and then on July 4th, we welcome broadcaster, explorer and adventurer Paul Rose. Paul's talk is entitled The very wet side of sustainability: Changing the world - one dive at a time!
The finest investment for a sustainable future must be ocean protection. Paul explores the last wild, pristine places in the ocean, communicates their value to the world and helps get them protected. To get this done he’s been lost under icebergs, bitten by moray eels, run out of air and attacked by a polar bear. Paul brings to life the challenges and successes of ocean protection with glorious images, film and enlightening tales. He invites us to bring enquiring minds and difficult questions!
A man at the front line of exploration and one of the world’s most experienced science expedition leaders, Paul Rose helps scientists unlock and communicate global mysteries in the most remote and challenging regions of the planet.

Former Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society – representing Fieldwork and Expeditions, Paul is Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions.
In his work for BBC Paul presents television programmes focused on science and the environment.
As a Polar Guide, Paul has led Greenland Ice Cap crossings, first ascents of previously unclimbed Arctic mountains and new ski-mountaineering routes.

He was the Base Commander of Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, for the British Antarctic Survey for 10 years and was awarded HM The Queen's Polar Medal. For his work with NASA and the Mars Lander project on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, he was awarded the US Polar Medal.

A mountain in Antarctica is named after him!


All Open lectures are free to attend, and will take place in the Percival Lecture Theatre, at the Ambleside campus of The University of Cumbria, from 5.30 until around 7pm on the dates indicated.


To register a place on any of the Open Lectures, contact

For further information about IFLAS, see our website, follow us on Twitter (@iflasinfo) or on Facebook (

Friday, 6 January 2017

Money and Society Summit in London - Celebrating 10th Anniversary

Our free online course on Money and Society is now in its 3rd year, with over 300 alumni from around the world. We hosted the first Money and Society Summit in Bali in December, bringing together 30 people interested in currency innovation for sustainable development. In April 2017 we are organising the same free event in London. It is one of the 10 free public events that IFLAS will be offering in 2017 to celebrate our University's 10th anniversary.

The Summit is open to people who have completed, or are enrolled on, our free Money and Society MOOC. The next cohort begins on February 19th 2017. Read about it and enrol from here.

The Summit will also be attended by participants on our Sustainable Exchange certificated course, which is one of the few University qualifications in currency innovation. Read about it here.

To read more about and register for the Summit on April 22nd see here.

Click here to see more about the other events we will run in 2017.