News and Events


Erb Faculty Member, Tom Lyon featured in The Guardian

March 9, 2016

Erb Faculty Member, Tom Lyon opines that although Warren Buffet and ‪‎Berkshire Hathaway’s‬ record of astute financial moves is hard to argue with, he may be missing the mark in terms of under-estimating the pace and acceleration of ‪‎climate change‬ and what that means for business.  Read the full Guardian article.  (.pdf)

Erb Faculty Member Quoted in Sustainability Education Program Annual Report

March 3, 2016

Erb Faculty Member, Andy Hoffman was quoted and featured for his work on “The Fourth Wave” in the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation’s 2015 Annual Report. Read more

“Today, with little sustained attention to critical sustainability issues like poverty, climate change, species extinction, social unrest, equity, and fairness in a rapidly globalized world, some have begun to question whether business schools are falling out of step and irrelevant to the world of practice and whether the modern business school must fundamentally alter its teaching and research in order to respond to the environmental and social challenges of the twenty-first century.”
-Andrew Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan and Education Director of the Graham Sustainability Institute

Creating a shared value model for sustainable agriculture in developing countries

February 29, 2016

Shared-X is a for-profit impact company working to revamp agricultural practices and models for high value specialty crops like organic bananas, aromatic cocoa and specialty coffee in developing countries. They strive to close the agricultural yield gap to equitably produce more food, lift rural farmers out of poverty and minimize their impact on the planet.

Erb Student Involvement
Erb Strategic Advisory Council (SAC) Member, John Denniston and his business partner, Tony Salas visited U-M in September 2015 to share collaboration opportunities with Erb Institute MBA/MS dual-degree students. This cutting-edge model sparked the interest of Erb students so much so that a group of 16 students gathered together after the event to strategize potential student involvement with Shared-X.

On the ground experience
Two Erb students from this group, Carissa De Young and Bob Kraynak, traveled to Peru in December 2015 to see the Shared-X model in action, with the goal of reporting their findings back to the group. Carissa and Bob connected and interacted with a variety of stakeholders: farmers, distributors and many others who bring Shared-X to life. This trip gave the students better insight into the production process and will allow the Business Impact Group (BIG) to make improved recommendations for scaling the impact Shared-X can have on rural farmers in Peru.

A few photos from Carissa and Bob’s December 2015 trip to Peru:

Carissa and Bob observe the growing coffee beans on a healthy plant at a Shared-X Farm

Carissa and Bob observe the growing coffee beans on a healthy plant at a Shared-X Farm

Carissa and Bob visit a coffee plant nursery at a Shared-X Farm

Carissa and Bob visit a coffee plant nursery at a Shared-X Farm

Bob and Jame, a Shared-X employee and agronmist, discuss the growth process of cocoa

Bob and Jamie, a Shared-X employee and agronmist, discuss the growth process of cocoa

Bob walks with neighboring farmer Reinaldo along his pineapple field on a visit from Shared-X staff

Bob walks with neighboring farmer Reinaldo along his pineapple field on a visit from Shared-X staff

Carissa checks pineapples picked that morning in the central Peruvian Amazon

Carissa checks pineapples picked that morning in the central Peruvian Amazon

Feb 15 – Erb Prospective Student Webinar

February 2, 2016

Register here

During this webinar, we will talk about upcoming deadlines, ways to get involved with Erb, and some of the exciting projects that are going on at the Institute and Erb Recruitment Scholarships.

Sharon Flynn Student Workshop Summary

November 6, 2015

Workshop-Photo-cropSharon Flynn visited campus and held a career and discussion focused student workshops on October 30, 2015.

Sharon’s career has spanned the globe in identifying critical stakeholder issues and developing and implementing plans that benefit all stakeholders. Furthermore, ‘stakeholder engagement’ was defined as a means, not an end. Sharon indicated that impact comes from the dialogue established between stakeholders; recognizing who needs to be at the table, building trust and empathy with indigenous populations and using anthropological skills to understand the community. Much of Sharon’s success in creating that dialogue was not necessarily in being the expert, but being able to digest and assimilate disparate views and information.

A closing piece of advice from Sharon was “not to shut off any sectors, consider the opportunity and have a key grasp on the Leadership, systems and competency” in any organization you consider for for a career.

Erb Students learn about Shared-X startup

September 14, 2015

12017562_10153714770823953_2272520971276510905_oOn Sunday, September 13th, Erb Students met with John Denniston (Erb SAC Member) and Tony Salas to learn more about their recently launched for-profit impact company called Shared-X. Topics of discussion included compelling arguments for business to take the lead on closing the agricultural yield gap and raising thousands out of poverty. Learn more about Shared-X


MBA’s with Sustainable Impact

September 3, 2015

Sky-MagazineThe Erb Institute was featured in September’s issue of Delta Sky Magazine for the dual degree MBA/MS program and it’s work to create a sustainable world through the power of business. Erb Managing Director, Terry Nelidov and Erb Student, Marianna Kerppola share how the Erb Institute is shifting business and student culture for careers in sustainable impact.

“Millennials, [Terry Nelidov] notes, crave work with purpose. They want more than just a job, they want to positively influence their world; they crave community at work and want to see a rapid and direct link between what they do and real social change. ‘It’s no longer enough for them to have a traditional MBA,’ says Nelidov. ‘They want an MBA with impact.’”

“In her final year, [Marianna Kerppola] plans to dive deeper into sectors outside of retail in her search for sustainable solutions to what she calls ‘the tough issues in business.’ ‘On paper, none of these things seems connected, but I’m not unique in the Erb program,’ she says. ‘We’re all extraordinarily curious and have a broad range of ideas about how we might make an impact in the world.’”

Read the full Delta Sky Magazine article (pdf) or read it online

A thoughtful conversation about the Pope’s Encyclical

July 10, 2015

Terry F. Yosie, President & CEO of the World Environment Center shares his thoughts on Pope Francis’ recent climate change Encyclical letter accompanied with responses from sustainability leaders including Erb Faculty Director, Andy Hoffman.

Read the GreenBiz article “A thoughtful conversation about the Pope’s Encyclical” (pdf) or read it online.

The Climate Change Debate and Pope Francis’ Encyclical

June 17, 2015

Erb Faculty Director Andy Hoffman says the Encyclical on climate change could be a ‘game changer’. Read more about this topic in recent The Conversation blog by Andy Hoffman and Erb student Jenna White titled “The pope as a messenger: making climate change a moral issue“.

Related news items with interview quotes from Andy Hoffman:

Related news items to the Climate Change Encyclical leak with interview quotes from Andy Hoffman:

fulFill wins 2nd place at Startup Weekend Detroit

June 5, 2015

Erb students, Kristin Steiner and Mike Barg, and SNRE student Brittany Szczepanik are working as business partners to reduce product packaging from food and personal care products. Startup idea, fulFill, is working to reduce or even eliminate packaging waste from these products through a container refill delivery service – not unlike the 1940′s era milkman service.

Their idea is quickly taking off! Kristin and Brittany recently won 2nd place at the Startup Weekend Detroit for Social Enterprise.

Congratulations to Kristin and Brittany and the whole fulFill team on their recent accomplishment with their startup idea!


May 2016

May 12-13 – Ross Positive Business Conference

May 12-13
Ross School of Business

Register for the Conference | View Featured Sessions

August 2016

Aug 14 – New Student Orientation (Day 1)


September 2016

Sept 18 – New Student Orientation (Day 2)

Time TBD

Sept 30 – Community Welcome Back Dinner

Location: TBD

October 2016

Oct 4 – Kathleen McLaughlin / Erb C-Suite Speaker Series

Headshot_Kathleen McLaughlin_sqTime: TBD
Location: TBD

Kathleen McLaughlin is the Chief Sustainability Officer for Walmart, and the President of the Walmart Foundation. Walmart uses its strengths to create economic opportunity for individuals and foster inclusive economic development; enhance the sustainability of food, apparel, and general merchandise supply chains; and strengthen the resilience of local communities. Last year, in addition to business initiatives investing in people and businesses in supply chains, the company surpassed over $1.4 billion in giving worldwide, including $1 billion of food donations. McLaughlin joined Walmart in 2013. Before that, she spent over 20 years with the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company. McLaughlin earned a Bachelor of Science from Boston University, and she also earned a Master of Arts from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

View previous C-Suite Speaker Series events