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The Natural Step Certificate Training: Sustainability for Leaders, Levels I & II (Shanghai) Open for Registration

September 24, 2019


Leaders today need to deal with the complexities of increasing speed of innovation, competitive threats and customer demand for better, cheaper and greener products. At the same time, they need to deal with ever-rising input cost of labour and raw materials and tighter government regulations on emissions and pollution. 


The ability to understand systems dynamics, engage with key stakeholders across value chains and innovate sustainable ways forward is becoming a business imperative!


To succeed in this complex and changing context will require a systems approach to sustainability and a common language that can enable effective dialogue and collective decision-making across traditional boundaries.


The Natural Step Certificate Training: Sustainability for Leaders is designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge and tools to be "Future-Fit". It helps you to understand how to transform your organization towards sustainable future by using world-known The Natural Step's Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD) and achieve strategic advantage and long-term leadership in your industry and/or community.


The training welcomes any professional intending to leverage sustainability for business growth, aiming to shape a sustainable future and willing to lead sustainability-related change. Our courses are hands-on, participatory experiences that allow you to learn quickly, apply sustainability concepts and strategic approach to real situations and transfer what you learn to your business, organization or community.





The Natural Step in-person training is always in the format of highly engaging facilitated workshops. Our approach to learning is hands-on, interactive, and by "dialogue education". This training is taught by engaging facilitators who have worked with businesses around the world and in China. It draws upon The Natural Step's 30 years of practical sustainability experience researching, developing, and refining our approach with countless global clients and partners. The advertised sustainability training consists of two courses, Level 1 & Level 2.

Level 1 - Foundations in Sustainability Inspired Strategy and Innovation


A customized 1-day intensive workshop provides urgency around sustainability, foundation knowledge of sustainability, system thinking and strategy, and allows you to apply the core concepts of sustainability. In this compelling workshop, you will work through a hands-on case study using The Natural Step Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, giving you the knowledge and tools to better understand "strategy" and take a systemic approach to plan and manage sustainability initiatives.


After this workshop, you will be better equipped to take a sustainability leadership role in your organization to capture value, enable innovation, and drive strategy.


Level 2 - Deep Dive into Sustainability Application Practices in Strategy and Innovation


The Level 2 course includes an in-person 2-day workshop followed by, a case study homework and a final day of presentations and feedback. It focuses on how to apply sustainability to deliver business benefit. Building on Level 1 it provides a deep dive into the science and core concepts of sustainability, focuses on the strategic and transformative way of applying sustainability processes to drive innovation, avoid risks, capture and monetize opportunities from sustainability and also the skills to engage different stakeholders.


In this course, you will leverage the expertise of both your teacher/facilitators and your fellow participants. Each day you will interact closely with your peers, discussing and presenting your ideas and challenges back to the group. There will also be ample opportunities to network throughout the course.


You will practice real-time development (or assessment) of a company's sustainability strategy in a take-home case study, present your results for feedback and refinement, and leave with experiences to underpin successful sustainability innovation and change processes in your organization.


You are encouraged to take Level 1 & Level 2 in one go. But you can also take them separately. Please note, to take Level 2 course only, you are required to have the completion certificate of the Level 1.




Level 1

  • The current sustainability opportunities, risks and challenges facing organizations and communities.

  • A clear understanding of sustainability based on sound science and systems thinking, a solid foundation in The Natural Step Framework and underlying scientific principles.

  • Business cases on how leading companies and different organizations moving towards sustainability have using it to gain competitive advantages and benefits, such as IKEA, NIKE, Interface and others.

  • How to plan for success in complex systems using back-casting and ABCD as a strategic sustainability planning framework.

  • How The Natural Step Framework can help organizations and communities take a leadership role in sustainability.

  • How to communicate the business case for sustainability.


Level 2

  • In-depth understanding of the ecological and social science behind The Natural Step approach.

  • Business cases of leading companies in different industries, how they have been integrating sustainability for strategic advantage.

  • Deep dive into human needs.

  • How to drive innovation from sustainability principles.

  • Applying the key steps of the ABCD methodology for sustainability planning with a case study

  • How to navigate through fads and misinformation and determine the right strategy for sustainability, innovation and value creation.

  • Strategies for how to mobilize colleagues, address objections and get buy-in to advance sustainability in your business, community or organization.

  • Develop and practice "Elevator Pitch" for communicating the business case for sustainability.

  • Work through a hands-on case study (your own business or others) to apply learnings into practice, present back to and then get feedback from your fellow participants and facilitators.





The Level 1 Course is designed for any professional whose goal is to lead or influence sustainability-related change processes, whether in a sustainability role or not. The only pre-requisite is an appetite for the skills and tools to more effectively communicate, plan, influence, and manage sustainability initiatives.


The Level 2 Course is designed for people having (or want to have) responsibility for change processes in their business, community, or organization and want to expand their capacity to lead this, as well as people who would like to take a leadership role in sustainable change within their organization. The pre-requisite is a basic understanding of Sustainability and of The Natural Step's Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, either by attending the Level 1 course or The Master in Strategic Sustainable Development (MSLS) at BTH in Sweden, by having completed our e-learning program "The Sustainability Journey", or by having worked with us in a client capacity. 


Past participants include:

  • Sustainability & CSR coordinators and managers

  • Corporate VPs and Directors of Sustainability/CSR

  • People responsible for product and service innovation in their organization

  • Marketing, communications, and branding people looking to better understan