We are excited to host a timely discussion about ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) at Ross Business School in March, featuring Elizabeth Doty (Director, Erb Corporate Political Responsibility Taskforce); Bennett Freeman (Associate Fellow of Chatham House and former Senior Vice President of Calvert Investments); Vik Khanna (William W. Cook Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School); and moderated by Erb Institute Faculty Director, Tom Lyon. 

As the ESG agenda has gained traction and momentum over the last decade, it has attracted inevitable criticism and a backlash—and now even a backlash to the backlash. Not only is ESG investing under attack, but the battle also extends to the future of corporate responsibility and sustainability more broadly — and in turn the respective roles of business and government— with high stakes for both action and inaction. Some issues are technical and methodological, related to ESG metrics and funds. Other issues are more ideological and political, challenging the notion of business purpose, pitting shareholder primacy against stakeholder capitalism, and raising questions about the appropriate role of corporations in the policy arena. This timely event will explore the drivers of this battle over ESG and offer solutions for moving forward.


Earth Day 2023: Justice in Focus

School for Environment and Sustainability

After three years of COVID, we are emerging from multiple crises: global pandemic, economic downturn and mass inflation, and a crisis of racial inequality. Earth Day 2023: Justice in Focus seeks to put justice and Earth in the same conversation, removing the silos of environment, human social systems, and political ecology. The University of Michigan, led by the Tishman Center for Social Justice and the Environment at the School for Environment and Sustainability, will bring forth a critical dialogue with emerging and powerful leaders on the frontlines. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from local and national leaders on the inner workings of organizations, solutions, and leadership that emerged through the pandemic.

Registration link

UMRA-U-M Retirees Association Presents: Climate Change and What it Means for the Great Lakes

Dean Overpeck is an interdisciplinary climate scientist and has led active climate research programs on five continents. His research is focused on understanding drought and megadrought dynamics (and risk) the world over. He has also served as the lead investigator of Climate Assessment for the Southwest and the SW Climate Science Center – two major programs focused on regional climate adaptation . He has appeared and testified before congress multiple times, is a Fellow of American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has published over 220 works on cllimate and the environmental sciences.

Rooting For Change

Image of inside of the Blue Llama Jazz Club

This event will feature 10-15 student speakers and performers with a range of identities and academic interests. These bite-size performances highlight student work, experience, cultural traditions, and creative expression surrounding local, regional, and global approaches to food justice. Previous performers have shared songs about de-commodifying food and why we should serenade our avocado toast, poetic homages to Black visionaries in the food system, narratives of cultural recovery through food service, and multimedia guides of how to reintroduce joy and abundance into growing and eating. A reception will follow the event.

Student organizer contact information:

Audience: students, employees & community

Registration Form coming soon!

Tackling Industrial Contamination: The Role of Science, Policy, and Activism

28th Annual Environmental Health Sciences Symposium flyer

We are excited to announce the 2023 Annual Environmental Health Sciences Symposium, The symposium will feature talks from Bill Suk, the founding director of the Superfund Research Program; members of the Coalition for Action on Remediation of Dioxane, a local partnership organization focused on mitigating groundwater contamination from 1,4-Dioxane in Washtenaw County; and Robert Bilott, an environmental attorney renowned for his legal victories on PFAS contamination. In addition, there will be student poster presentations. Students from any department with related work are encouraged to submit an abstract. Registration is free and open to the public. Further information can be found at the link above.

Registration link 

Martha Schwartz: Climate Change and the Importance of the Urban Landscape

Climate Change Landscape

As Founding Partner of Martha Schwartz Partners, Landscape Architects, Martha Schwartz is a world-renowned designer. She has over 40 years of experience designing and implementing large scale masterplans, mixed-use developments, urban regeneration projects, as well as civic plazas, parks, institutional landscapes, corporate headquarters, installations, and gardens. Martha Schwartz Partners works with city leaders, planners and builders at a strategic level so as to advocate for the inclusion of the public landscape as a means to achieve environmental, economic and social sustainability.

Martha Schwartz received her Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan, then studied Landscape Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design between 1976 – 1977, then went back to the University of Michigan to receive a Masters of Landscape Architecture in 1977. As a tenured Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (HGSD) for 30 years, she is advancing the knowledge of Climate Change, its causes, effects, and the awareness of new solutions coming out of science, including the science of ​“Climate Intervention” also known as ​“Geoengineering”.

Schwartz is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes including the Honorary Royal Designer for Industry Award from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce for her outstanding contribution to UK design; the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award; the Women in Design Award for Excellence from the Boston Society of Architects; an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Ulster in Belfast, Ireland; a fellowship from the Urban Design Institute; visiting residencies at Radcliffe College and the American Academy in Rome; an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects; and most recently, a Council of Fellows Award by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Most recently, she has created a non-profit organization, MAYDAY.EARTH which focuses on the climate crisis and climate change solutions such as nature-based solutions and the science of solar geoengineering, our only option that can cool down our planet and buy us time to transition to renewable energy.

Educating Ethical Engineers

Dr. Cynthia Finelli
In today’s society, the need to graduate engineers who are conscious of their ethical and professional responsibilities is more important than ever. This is especially difficult given the current media environment that publicizes reports of algorithmic bias, drone-based surveillance, and emissions falsification (among other issues) but provides few positive role models for students. While engineering programs have made significant strides to incorporate ethics instruction into the engineering curriculum, there is little evidence about which approaches best prepare students to address the ethical challenges they will face in the workforce. In this session, Dr. Finelli will present research about the state of undergraduate ethics instruction and it’s long term impact, propose a new approach to ethics instruction, and offer two course-based approaches to better educate ethical engineers.

21st Peter M. Wege Lecture on Sustainability: Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson

Join Robinson as she shares her passion for climate justice, human dignity, gender equality and women’s participation in peace-building. She will highlight the urgent need for climate change action and how local, community-based action can grow into a global effort to build a sustainable future.

The Peter M. Wege Lecture Series focuses on the critical sustainability challenges of the 21st century, such as energy security and declining fossil resources, global climate change, freshwater scarcity, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss, and sustainability strategies in developed and developing nations. Named in honor of Peter M. Wege, late vice-chair of the board of Steelcase, Inc., and renowned sustainability champion, the series brings internationally recognized leaders in sustainability to the University of Michigan campus.

This in-person event is free and open to the public; reserve your ticket here.

Open Road @ Ross 2023 Application

A group of students outside a minivan

Open Road is an action-based social entrepreneurship program taking place in May, where MBAs drive from state to state meeting socially- and environmentally-driven entrepreneurs. Students spend one week on-site in each location, working closely with the entrepreneur to provide a solution or recommendation to a business problem they are facing, then they move on to the next city and the next entrepreneur.
Open Road @ Ross is a student club powered by Ford Motor Company Foundation and co-sponsored by Business+Impact and the Zell Lurie Institute.

Apply now