Masterclass: Transformational Leadership for Sustainability

Masterclass: Transformational Leadership for Sustainability

24 June 2015, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) invites you to an exclusive masterclass with globally recognised sustainability expert Dr Wayne Visser, Transnet Chair of Sustainable Business at GIBS and Senior Associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Dr Visser will share the latest research, standards and cases on what makes the best sustainability leaders effective as change agents in their organisations and in society.

Masterclass benefits:

  • This session combines theory and practical case studies and after attending you will be able to:
  • Identify the characteristics of good leaders for sustainable business (traits, styles, skills/competencies and knowledge);
  • Assess what makes leaders effective change agents, and self-assess what type of change agent you are or need your organisation to employ; and
  • Understand the new ISO standards (Annex SL) and the specifications of Clause 5 on Leadership.

Who should attend?

  • Learning and development practitioners, HR directors, heads of procurement, as well as management representatives for sustainability, environment, occupational health & safety, social responsibility and quality will benefit from this masterclass.

Masterclass outline:

  • Drivers of Sustainability Leadership: Internal and external context; and the rise and fall of sustainability leaders.
  • Characteristics of Sustainability Leaders: Traits, styles, skills and knowledge; competency frameworks; and actions of sustainability leaders.
  • Sustainability Leaders as Change Agents: Change frameworks by Kotter, Visser, Ainger and Gladwell; and purpose-inspired leadership types.

Masterclass details:

  • Date: Wednesday, 24 June 2015
  • Time: 08:30 – 12:30 (a light lunch will be served after the event)
  • Venue: GIBS Campus, 26 Melville Road, Illovo, Sandton, South Africa


Please click here to confirm your attendance by 29 May 2015. For further information contact Bongiwe Ramaboea on 011 771 4161 or

Please note that there is no charge for this event. Regrettably this invitation is not transferable and seating is limited.


Appointment as Chair of Sustainable Business

Press Release

Dr Wayne Visser, accomplished writer, speaker and lecturer in the area of corporate responsibility and sustainability and innovation, has joined the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) as the Transnet Chair of Sustainable Business. The Chair was created with generous funding from Transnet SOC through the Transnet Programme in Sustainable Development (TPSD).

Dr Visser will teach sustainability on the GIBS MBA programme as well as deliver an elective focused on innovation for future fitness. As Chair of the programme, Dr Visser will be dedicated to developing the reach and impact of sustainability-related education and research within the business school.
“It is a great honour to be selected as the first Transnet Chair of Sustainable Business,” says Visser. “I look forward to contributing to the profile and authority of sustainability-related educational activities within the school and the South African business community. My focus for the next year will be on mainstreaming sustainability and encouraging learning from best practice around the world.”

Dr Visser is director of the think tank Kaleidoscope Futures and founder of CSR International, where he consults to and conducts research for organisations like the IFC, World Bank, UNEP, the Wikirate project and GeoWel Research. In addition, Dr Visser is senior associate at the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and adjunct professor of Sustainable Development at Deakin Business School in Australia. Before obtaining his PhD, he was director of Sustainability Services for KPMG where he established a new consulting and assurance department within KPMG.

Commenting on Dr Visser’s appointment, Professor Nick Binedell, dean of GIBS, said, “Dr Visser brings a dynamic agenda of business scholarship, interdisciplinary and innovative teaching experiences, and expertise in the areas of corporate responsibility and sustainability, all of which enrich and complement GIBS’ mission to significantly improve the competitive performance of individuals and organisations through business education.”

In May 2008, using funding from Transnet, GIBS established its first academic programme in sustainable development: the Transnet Programme in Sustainable Development. According to Claire Thwaits, senior programme manager for the TPSD, the purpose which is to look at collaboration and pressing sustainability issues within business. She says, “GIBS is looking to deepen thought leadership and knowledge around specific issues that are changing the way businesses operate. We are trying to instil in the people who walk through our doors, be they students or delegates, that the economy is interdependent with society and the environment and that sustainability is based on all three of these independent variables. We focus very strongly on leadership and corporate citizenship. Looking at the role business has to play in society is very much a part of our focus area in terms of creating future leaders.”

Dr Visser is the author of 19 books, including “CSR 2.0” (2013), “The Quest for Sustainable Business” (2012), “The Age of Responsibility” (2011), “The World Guide to CSR” (2010) and “The A to Z of Corporate Social Responsibility” (2010). He is a guest columnist for The Guardian newspaper and has delivered more than 250 professional speeches all around the world, with his work taking him to 68 countries in the last 20 years, giving GIBS an important international perspective into the field of sustainable development.

Source: GIBS