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Dame Polly Courtice 

Year started



Sustainability Leadership

Fellow Type


Polly was Founder Director of the University of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (1989–2021). She was the Founder Director of The Prince of Wales’s Business & Sustainability Programme, and served as Academic Director of the University’s Master of Studies in Sustainability Leadership. She is a Fellow of Churchill College and an Honorary Fellow of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.

Polly is a member of the Supervisory Board of Mercedes Benz Group, a Senior Independent Director of Anglian Water Services Ltd, and a Board Member of the British Standards Institute (BSI).  She is a sustainability advisor to Terra Firma Capital Management Ltd and serves on the sustainability advisory board for AstraZeneca.

In 2021 she was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Cambridgeshire. She is a member of the judging panel for the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development, a member of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate, and a Trustee of Cambridge Past, Present and Future, a local charity dedicating to protecting and enhancing the Cambridge area and its green landscapes.

In 2016 Polly was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to Sustainability Leadership. Prior to that Polly had been made a Lieutenant of the Victorian Order (LVO) announced in the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. In 2015 she received the Stanford University Bright Award for Environmental Sustainability which recognises ‘an individual who has made unheralded contributions to environmental sustainability’. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award at Ethical Corporation’s annual Responsible Business Awards 2016, Business Green’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2018, and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the edie Sustainability Leaders Awards 2021.

Polly holds a BA from the University of Cape Town and an MA from the University of Cambridge.

College Positions

Professional By-Fellow

14 December 2017 – 16 December 2021