Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership

July 7-11, 2014

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.

UBC Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership 2013



Open sections below to view the 2014 program information or contact staff at 604.822.1420 or email. You can also subscribe to our email list to stay informed about 2014 programming updates.

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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

Note: Participation in the Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership may be applied toward the UBC Award of Achievement in Sustainability Management (35 hours).

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.

Details and Fees

Learning activities for the Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership include interactive presentations, panel sessions, case studies, group discussions, field excursions, and opportunities for social learning and networking. See our Curriculum section for more details about each learning format.

Program Fees
Earlybird registrations received by May 16, 2014: $1,995 CAD
Registrations received after May 16, 2014: $2,495 CAD

An additional discount of $500 per registrant applies when two or more individuals register from the same organization. Call 604-822-1420 for details.

Fees are quoted in Canadian funds. Credit card transactions will be processed in Canadian dollars and are subject to current exchange rates.

Fees include full conference access, all study materials, as well as breakfast and lunch throughout the week. Fees do not include airfare/travel, accommodation, or evening meals. Delegates may wish to visit our Resources page to help plan their stay in Vancouver.

Proceedings for the Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership will be held in the CK Choi Building at 1855 West Mall, UBC Point Grey campus. To view this venue on a campus map, please visit UBC Wayfinding.

The C.K. Choi Building at UBC is widely recognized as one of the Lower Mainland's preeminent sustainable building projects. Developed as a demonstration green building, the building was designed and constructed without any adjustments to its original budget or schedule and has outperformed many of its original building targets. The American Institute of Architects recognized the building as one of its Top Ten Earth Day 2000 Green Buildings.

Note: Guided Field trips and evening social events may take place off-campus. Destinations will be accessible by public transport or transportation will be provided.


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
For your reference, the 2013 schedule is provided below. The 2014 Institute will reflect similar themes and speakers; a tentative schedule will be provided in early Spring. Please note that sessions are subject to change based on speaker availability.

Tentative Schedule for Sustainability Leadership

Click here for a printable version of the schedule pdf.


Institute speakers come from a wide range of industries and backgrounds, all with extensive experience developing and managing sustainability initiatives. Sessions are designed to be interactive, allowing participants to engage speakers with questions and comments.

Please see the list below of invited 2014 speakers.

Institute Facilitator

Invited Speakers

  • BOSTON, Alex. Director, Climate and Energy, HB Lanarc Golder
  • BROOKE, Roy. Director of Sustainability, City of Victoria
  • DUFFY, Ann. President, The Ann Duffy Group
  • GONZALEZ, Julian. Associate, Ecoplan International
  • HARCOURT, Mike. Former Mayor of Vancouver and Premier of British Columbia
  • HELLIWELL, John. Professor Emeritus of Economics, UBC; Co-Director of the Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
  • NATTRASS, Brian. Author; Sustainability advisor to leading corporations and government agencies.
  • NATTRASS, Mary. Co-founder and Managing Parnter, Sustainability Partners Inc.
  • PURDY, Bob. Director, External Relations and Corporate Development, Fraser Basin Council
  • QUAYLE, Moura. Professor, UBC Sauder School of Business
  • REES, William. Professor, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning
  • ROBINSON, John. Executive Director, UBC Sustainability Initiative; Professor, UBC Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability
  • RUSHMERE, Andrew. Academic Coordinator, UBC Farm/Centre for Sustainable Food Systems
  • SPECK, Esther. Sustainable Business Advisor; Former Sustainability Director, Mountain Equipment Coop.
  • STRANDBERG, Coro. Principal, Strandberg Consulting
  • TODD, Susan. Principal, Solstice Sustainability Works Inc.; Director, The Accountability Project
  • WAKEFIELD, Victoria. Purchasing Manager, UBC Student Housing, Hospitality and Food Services
  • WILLIAMS, Steve. Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Global Technology Donations, SAP
How to Register

Online: Register online via our secure server using your Visa or MasterCard. To guarantee registration, please ensure that your credit card can accept this charge.

Telephone: Call us at 604.822.1420 to register using your Visa or MasterCard. Regular office hours are weekdays 8:30am to 4:30pm PST.

Fax: Fax the completed registration form to 604.822.1499 using Visa or MasterCard.

Mail: Mail the completed registration form using cheque (payable to UBC), Visa or MasterCard to Client Services, UBC Continuing Studies, Room C.630, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6Z 3B7.

Registration for UBC Staff

Eligible UBC staff may use the Tuition Fee Benefit to offset the Institute costs. Please visit the UBC Employee Tuition Fee Waiver page for information on eligibility and instructions on how to use your tuition fee benefit to enjoy UBC Continuing Studies courses.

Staff must submit their Tuition Fee Benefit before registering for the program; those who register for a course prior to submitting their Tuition Fee Benefit will not be reimbursed when the approved Tuition Fee Benefit is received. It is recommended you apply for a Tuition Fee Benefit well in advance of the course start date.

Note: After processing your registration, we will send you an email confirmation letter with course details. If you have not received your email confirmation letter within three business days of registering please contact Client Services by phone at +1.604.822.1420 or complete the Contact Us form.

Past Participant Feedback

“The Institute facilitation was superb. Dagmar displayed a great combination of attributes: knowledge and passion for the subject matter, strong process and facilitation skills, and wonderful and respectful interpersonal skills.”
John Foster, Manager, Community Social Development, City of Richmond
Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

“I’ve been involved in sustainability education and environmental citizenship for six years and this week has been amazingly valuable! If I could summarize the week, it’s been all about connecting the dots. Eye-opening! Informative! Inspiring!”
Larry White, Academic Chair, Seneca College
King City, Ontario, Canada

“This Institute exceeded expectations on every level. The program content offers integrated, interdisciplinary strategies and understandings. I am leaving with a comprehensive arsenal of frameworks, strategies, principles and vision.”
Alasdair MacKinnon, Director of Energy Management and Sustainability, Surrey School District
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

“An engaging, educational, inspiring course with excellent content and second-to-none speakers. A must for all involved in the sustainability field – and for those who are not!”
Nikie Lloyd, Executive Assistant, Deloitte
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

"I needed a booster shot and got it in double dose! Every speaker gave me something to bring back to my organization. I plan on passing on links and connections to my colleagues.
Dominique Laroche, Faculty Associate & Director of Facilities, Arizona State University
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

"The week was inspiring, energizing and motivating. Best practices and real-life examples from speakers and program participants was invaluable. I now have a stronger, more solid foundation in my set of tools to deploy to try and make a difference."
Anne Louise Aboud, Management Consultant
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

“Highlights included the diversity of participants, the professionalism of the support staff, the quality of the presenters, and the opportunities to share experiences."
Travis Sinckler, Senior Environment Officer, Government of Barbados
Bridgetown, Barbados

“The speakers were excellent, the materials helpful, the venue lovely, the food delicious, the networking efficacious, and the collegiality enviable."
Stuart Noble-Goodman, Dean, School of Business, University of Redlands
Redlands, California, USA

“Thank you so much for organizing such a complex and insightful program. The phenomenal conversations, mind-opening topics and inspirational peer-group all contributed to the best professional development experience I have ever had."
Lisa Dockman, Program Lead, Outreach and Engagement, Office of Sustainability, University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

“The diverse backgrounds and experience of the speakers was amazing. The SISL is a unique opportunity to interact with colleagues and subject matter experts on advancing sustainability. You have given me a lot to think about - I can't wait to act on what I've learned."
Alyssa Carson, Environmental Programs and Compliance Specialist, Gilead Sciences, Inc.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada



Click on the photo to view a slideshow of past Summer Institutes in Sustainability Leadership.

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