Sustainability leaders tackle tough questions: What is the bigger game you are playing? What are you trying to achieve as a sustainability leader? Why, in the face of such challenging global issues, are you doing this? Isn’t there an easier way to make a living?

These are the questions explored at the UBC Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership. By exploring these questions, program participants—made up of seasoned and emerging sustainability leaders from the public and private sector—arrive at one of the realities of sustainability leadership: it’s not easy being an agent of change.

Being an effective sustainability leader requires an enhanced toolkit of knowledge and skills that go beyond traditional organizational leadership. The Summer Institute provides the opportunity for participants to step back, reflect on their work and abilities, and engage with experts and fellow delegates about what it takes to be an agent of change.

Some of UBC’s top thought leaders teaching at this year’s Institute include:

  • Bill Rees, co-inventor of ecological footprint analysis.
  • Professor John Robinson, Executive Director UBC’s Sustainability Initiative and a lead author in the last three reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
  • Professor Moura Quayle, former UBC dean, deputy minister of the Ministry of Advanced Education, and current head of at the UBC Sauder School of Business.

This year’s Institute also features internationally renowned UBC Professor Emeritus John Helliwell.

In addition to academic experts, 2011 speakers included Mike Harcourt, former premier of British Columbia and mayor of Vancouver and current chairman of QUEST Canada; planner, designer and developer Mark Holland who was the PIBC Planner of the Year in 2010; Susan Todd, head of the Accountability Project and advisor to the Global Reporting Initiative; Steve Williams, member of the global SAP Corporate Social Responsibility team; sustainability advisor and businesswoman Coro Strandberg; Rob Safrata, CEO of Novex Couriers, and numerous other industry and community sustainability specialists.

The combination of speakers from academia, business and government, as well as in-class workshops and guided field trips, enable participants to develop a deeper appreciation of the breadth of sustainability leadership, how various economic and social sectors interact on sustainability initiatives, and what it takes to make positive change a reality, both at an organizational level and a personal one.

The 2012 UBC Summer Institute in Sustainability Leadership will be held July 9-13 at the C.K. Choi Building at the UBC Vancouver campus.