We are at a critical moment in human history.

The evidence is now beyond scientific doubt that we are exceeding our planet’s capacity to provide resources and process pollution. The impacts are already being experienced, especially by those living in poverty. They will impact everyone alive today, including you and I. They will drastically impact future generations.

The window for simple, easy actions has closed. To address interconnected and global-scale issues like global warming, biodiversity loss and zoonotic viral spread, it is now going to take a fundamental shift in the way we understand ourselves in relation to the rest of nature. This includes challenging some of the basic cultural assumptions by which we currently live.

We can no longer rely only on science and technology and on environmental management or conservation for solutions. We must actually change who we think we are, to match the biological reality of what we are – animals living in an ecosystem. This is a psychological and cultural task that will require extraordinary leadership.

Fortunately, there are actions we can take to avert – and in many cases reverse – the damage. But nature will not wait – we need to adopt innovative new approaches to leading change quickly and at scale. Natural Change is one of these innovations.

Since 2008, the Natural Change approach has been creating a new type of sustainability leader.

Originally established as a project for WWF-Scotland it has led to massive personal, organisational and social change. It has even directly changed government sustainability policy in the UK.

Having run in various formats in Europe over the last ten years – from Norway to Spain and from Scotland to Hungary – Natural Change is now available for leaders in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia.

For many past participants Natural Change continues to be life-changing. Even now, over ten years since the first programme, their process of change continues. 

This is because Natural Change equips you to transform yourself. It gives you the practical skills, psychological insights and close professional friendships to support a different kind of sustainability leadership.

Natural Change is not your regular leadership programme.

This innovative and powerful approach is different. There are no frameworks or handbooks. There are no gurus. We don’t use PowerPoint presentations. We don’t spend endless hours in conference rooms or on Zoom. There isn’t a handbook. We don’t work on compliance. And we don’t count carbon.

We believe that sustainability leadership is more about who you are, than what you know.

Natural Change shifts the focus of sustainability leadership from seeing nature as a set of resource and pollution problems in need of technical solutions, towards developing strong personal relationships with the rest of nature. 

The programme takes place almost entirely outdoors … because that’s where we most easily experience ourselves as part of nature. It builds on this personal experience with powerful insights about the psychology of our relationships with each-other and the rest of nature. Evidence shows that this impacts our sense of identity – which fundamentally shapes the ways we live and lead (Chawla, 2004; Key & Kerr, 2011; Whitmarsh, 2010; Vesely, 2021). 

The process is holistic. As you explore your own place in the heart of nature, it provides numerous other benefits. 

Extensive research shows that time outside improves your mental wellbeing and physical health, which reduces burn-out and illness – while increasing productivity and work satisfaction (for example see Berman, 2012; Corazon et al, 2018; Li et al, 2009; Park et al, 2010; Triguero-Mas et al, 2017; Tyrväinen et al, 2014; Ulrich et al, 1991).

It increases your ability to solve problems, innovate, communicate and learn (Atchley et al, 2012; Wells, 2000) and it helps you concentrate and focus (Bratman et al, 2015). The evidence even shows that time outdoors tends to make you kinder, happier and more generous too (Piff, 2015; Weinstein et al, 2009).  

For many people being outdoors in nature also provides the context for cultural identity and spiritual fulfilment (Ashley, 2007; Patterson, 1998; Stringer & McAvoy, 1995).

The Natural Change process delivers a wide range of benefits to self, society and planet. It is led by expert facilitators who convene inspiring group work, rare opportunities to slow-down and reflect, time to create and innovate, and bristling conversation. It provides an unprecedented opportunity to be part of a unique international community of leaders united in their love of nature and deep-seated commitment to lead change for a sustainable future.

View references