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The Natural Step Certification Training: Sustainability for Leaders, Levels I & II (Shanghai) Op

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 understand and communicate the sustainability imperative

  • Futurist and systems thinkers ("future-proofing")

  • Entrepreneurs

  • Government representatives

  • NGO representatives

  • University professors

We encourage participation from a wide range of sectors and perspectives, leading to a richer dialogue and peer learning.


Patrik Sandin

Chairman, The Natural Step International & Executive Director, The Natural Step China

Patrik is the founder and Director of TNS China where he leads the business development activities and provides strategic, innovation and transformation advice towards sustainability to multinational and domestic clients.

He is also the co-founder of Singularity University Shanghai Chapter, dedicated to spreading the knowledge of rapidly advancing "exponential technologies" and how they can be used for solving humanity's grand challenges (energy, water, poverty, education, etc.).

As a management consultant with near 20 years experiences, Patrik is an expert on how to engage sustainability into business to drive growth, profitability, innovation and operation improvement from the right thing.

Before joining The Natural Step, Patrik has worked as a senior manager in Ernst & Young Sweden, where he led the Transaction Integration services group, as a strategy consultant at OC&C Strategy Consultants in London, with supply chain and process re-design projects with Accenture and as performance improvement and change management consultant at Anpro Ltd. Patrik has also worked as the head of the South China office for Business Sweden, the Swedish Trade and Invest Council (trade section of the embassy) where he led a team of 10 Chinese consultants providing advice to Swedish companies about doing business in China, market entry studies, sourcing advisory and especially around CSR issues and Clean-tech investments.

Patrik has a B.Sc honour's degree in Business Administration from the International University of Monaco and Executive Education Diplomas in Strategy and Marketing from The London School of Economics and Lund University respectively. He is also a double alumnus from Singularity University, NASA Ames, Silicon Valley as well as a member of the global ExO network of exponential organization experts.

Patrik was TEDx speaker and is frequently invited as speaker or moderator on different sustainability and innovation conferences such as Hainan Belt & Road, Startup Weekend, World Green Design Forum, UN Global Economy Prosperity Forum and CUHK CSR Conference to name a few. Patrik is currently a guest lecturer in the MBA program at Shanghai University and previously served on their external advisory committee.

Lin Zhang

Director, Head of Corporate Advisory & Innovation

Lin is a seasoned trainer and workshop designer and facilitator. For the last 6 years, Lin has been the Chief Sustainability Advisor and Head of Advisory and Innovation Services of The Natural Step China where she is in charge of client projects delivery and oversees all local client relationships.

Lin has rich and deep experiences in sustainability projects across various industries, different sized multinational and national business/organizations, from international brands to local manufactures, from Fortune 500 to family-owned local dying mill, such as

  • One of the top 15 textile groups in China (H&M Platinum supplier)

  • The world largest fabric shoe manufacturer (Tom's golden supplier)

  • Sustainability leading French fashion brand

  • Covestro, German chemical group, Bayer Material Science spin-off

  • Volvo car

The projects she has been led are from sustainability visioning & strategic planning workshops to sustainability business benchmarking, from product SLCA analysis and footprinting to process innovation and optimizing, from branding and sustainability landscaping to supply chain management & engagement, from renewable energy planning & support on implementation to four-year-long sustainability business transformation program, embedding sustainability into every corner of core business including visioning, strategy development & full strategy execution, KPI design & implementation, target setting, IT & digitization strategy and implementation and much more.

Lin is also an industry tutor at China-UK Low Carbon College, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and start-up mentor for Impact Hub Shanghai. She often speaks at Chinese Sustainability Conferences and other relevant events.

Before joining The Natural Step, she had 10+ years in ASIC and Telecom industries both as an R&D engineer and project manager (Switchcore, Ericsson), as well as vice president of Corporate Development (Packet Architects). Lin holds double master degrees, in EE (system on chip) & business (Sustainable Business Leadership) both from Lund University, Sweden.


The Natural Step was founded in Sweden in 1989 as the world's first sustainability advisory organization. We now have presences in 14 countries around the world and Swedish King Karl XVI Gustav has been our Patron from the very beginning. The Natural Step has worked with thousands of corporations, municipalities and academic institutions and have shown that moving strategically toward sustainability leads to new opportunities, reduced costs, and radically better ecological and social impacts.

We research the science of sustainability and link it to real-world applications. We create dialogues about the opportunities and challenges in building a sustainable future. We are accelerating innovation towards Sustainability.

Our long-term goal is to have a systemic approach to sustainability embedded into the heart of all social and business ecosystems as a set of design principles for crafting innovation, success and a vibrant future in which human society thrives within nature's limits.


"Competent and eloquent course instructors. Good description of sustainability principles and interesting cases."

Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability, H&M

"As we climb mount Sustainability, with the four TNS system conditions at the top, we are doing better than ever on bottom line business. This is not at the cost of social or ecological systems, but at the cost of our competitors who still haven't got it." Ray Anderson, President, Founder and CEO, Interface Inc.

"The whole world has dreamt about a solid definition of sustainability that would allow systematic step-by-step planning. When the definition arrived, delivered by The Natural Step, it was remarkable to see how simple it was." Paul Hawken,

Author of The Ecology of Commerce, Natural Capitalism

"The TNS framework is the most rigorous, scientifically-based, and practical sustainability methodology on the planet."

Bob Willard,

Author of the Sustainability Champions Guidebook, The Sustainability Advantage, The Next Sustainability Wave


  • City: Shanghai, China


  • English:

  • Level I: October 21, 2019

  • Level II: October 22-23, 2019 + case study homework + a final day of presentations and feedback, date TBD together with course participants.

  • Chinese:

  • November 2019


Level 1: 4000RMB, Level 2: 12000RMB. Level 1 + Level 2 package: 14800RMB. The fee includes course materials, certificates, break time coffee and snacks, and lunches.

We offer early bird discount (15% off) if you register before October 1, and group discount (10%) if more than 2 people register together.

*Fapiao is available on request. 6% extra is needed for VAT.


Please click here to register, or scan the QR code below:

For more information, please reach us at; or contact +86 153 1656 6456; +86 186 2069 8958

To customize the training for your company, please contact; +86 186 2069 8958

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