CIPR Specialist Diploma – Sustainability Communications

Course Overview

PR professionals have a crucial role in driving this forward and creating a brighter future for us all.

The CIPR’s new Specialist Diploma in Sustainability Communications – aimed at PR professionals in management roles – will help you to drive the sustainability agenda. Deepen your understanding and play your part in helping your organisation demonstrate its positive impact on society and our planet.

This qualification will cover:

  • The role of PR in advocating for sustainable business and organisations.
  • The 17 SDGs and their links to diversity and Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG).
  • How strategic PR aligns in theory and practice with organisational sustainability goals.
  • Researching, interpreting and analysing sustainability data.
  • The link between sustainability, reputation, and crisis and risk management.

As the Environmental, Social, and Corporate (ESG) standards moves to the top of boardroom agendas everywhere, businesses globally are putting sustainability at the heart of their corporate strategy to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 2030 deadline. Will you be ready?

If you wish to join us in 2023, don’t hesitate to contact Jen at or 07734 222 254 for more information.

The syllabus is taught and assessed at the same level as a postgraduate degree.


CIPR Specialist Diploma - Sustainability Communications

Aims of the module

Topics you will cover:

  • Exploring the role of organisations in society and how public relations practitioners can help shape communications strategy on the Environment, Social and Corporate Governance, including Diversity.
  • Understanding the concepts and tools employed in researching, interpreting, and analysing sustainability data to support organisations in meeting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Managing sustainability communications activities and ethical stakeholder engagement to effectively identify and respond to disinformation and misinformation about sustainability.

Module structure

Successful candidates will be able to:

1. Apply relevant macro, meso and micro contexts of strategic communications leadership including:

  • The role of PR in advocating the relationship between organisations and sustainability.
  • The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
  • UN Principles for Responsible Management Education.
  • Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.
  • Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG).
  • How best practice in diversity supports sustainability goals.
  • How the context (global, international, national and/or local) impacts attitudes to sustainability.
  • The impact of the organisation’s context and culture on its sustainability agenda.
  • Researching, interpreting and analysing sustainability data (including relevant case studies).
  • Identifying and responding to objections to sustainability.
  • Recognising and responding to disinformation and misinformation about sustainability.
  • Referencing the growing practice of brand/CEO/corporate activism.

2. Define sustainability engagement to internal and external audiences by:

  • Exploring the link between sustainability and reputation, issues and crisis management.
  • Analysing and evaluating stakeholders’ importance to sustainability.
  • Establishing a sustainability agenda including setting organisational sustainability goals.
  • Engaging practically with comprehensive stakeholder analysis, resource-based review and
    resulting recommendations.
  • Identifying and addressing ethical, legal and other impacts on stakeholder groups within
    the context of sustainability.

3. Critically evaluate the role of PR in advancing a corporate sustainability strategy by:

  • Applying sustainability tools, concepts and ethical principles to the organisational context.
  • Evaluating the success of sustainability PR strategies and tactics.
  • Evaluating the impact of the organisation’s sustainability goals.
  • Critically analysing potential areas of conflict.

For example:

  1. The potential disproportionate impact on disadvantaged and vulnerable groups
  2. How structural inequalities might be exacerbated
  3. Transparency
  4. “Green-washing”
  5. Passionate advocacy vs private adherence (“secretly sustainable”)
  6. “Climate anxiety”
  7. Adverse mental health impacts
  • Applying relevant models of reflection.

Assessment Method

There are 4 assessment sessions per year. Depending on when you enrol on to the qualification you could qualify in as little as 6 to 8 months.

As well as the tuition time, you’ll need to set aside approximately 10 to 12 hours per week for self-study. This might increase as you work towards submitting your assessments.


Executive report and summary situation analysis.


To enable candidates to demonstrate competence in undertaking an analysis of a case study situation/issue.

Submission: The assignment will comprise:

1. 3,000-word (+/- 10%) executive report or management proposal.

2. Supporting  2,000-word (+/- 10%) statement of reflection including critical examination and evaluation.

Entry Requirements

The CIPR Specialist Diploma (Sustainability Communications) provides a sound theoretical and practical understanding of ethical sustainability communications leadership. An analytical perspective is applied to enable candidates to take a reflective approach in critically examining their own experiences alongside case studies of organisations and communities. This course is aimed at experienced public relations practitioners who want to develop their expertise in the area of sustainability communications.

Course Dates

Our next cohort is due to start in w/c 8 July – for more information please contact


Tuition fee: £1495 +VAT | CIPR Assessment fee: £355 | CIPR Registration fee: £81


Level 7 | Postgraduate Degree | 10/11 SQA


6 - 8 months


  • Virtual

Next Start Date

w/c 8 July
Contact Client Support for more details.

Learning Options

Virtual Learning Offering:

The Diploma is taught over 21 hours with a total of 10 x 2-hour daytime or evening teaching sessions, via Teams, with 2 x 30 minute 1:1 assignment feedback tutorials.

Our teaching is live and interactive reflecting our face to face teaching but online, for more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Need help deciding which course is right for you?
Call us on: +44 (0) 7734 222 254 or email: