The Erb Institute regularly hosts focused, high-impact conferences that involve academics, business executives, members of non-governmental organizations, and policymakers. These events are typically sponsored in collaboration with external organizations such as the World Resources Institute and the National Science Foundation. Our conferences seek to fulfill two primary objectives. First, they convene researchers and practitioners from around the world to frame sustainability challenges and inform research agendas for the future. Second, they serve as a means to educate the broader public in regards to the research activities of the institute.

Upcoming Conference

September 26-28 in Ann Arbor
Michigan Energy Symposium
Combating Climate Change: The Role of Nuclear Power

Climate change is a potential threat to the welfare of mankind and its mitigation is becoming urgent. Nuclear energy, which provides one-fifth of U.S. electricity generation, is currently the leading utility-scale, carbon-free baseload power source in America. But it is expensive, controversial, and regulated in a way that poses challenges to technological innovation. So how does nuclear power fit into U.S. climate change mitigation goals going forward?

In what way can nuclear power be a major factor in the portfolio of options being considered to lower greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change? With the rapid growth of natural gas production in the United States, how has the economics of nuclear power changed? What are the social, policy and technological challenges to nuclear power in the United States? What are the challenges to developing and deploying new technologies and designs?

In September 2016, the University of Michigan, a global leader in nuclear engineering research, will explore the various obstacles to the wider deployment of this carbon-free energy source. From regulation to reactor design, speakers will discuss the economic, safety, security, policy, and social issues that will define nuclear power’s future role as a climate change mitigation tool.

Event details and registration

Recent Conferences

May 12-13, 2016 in Ann Arbor
3rd Annual Michigan Ross Positive Business Conference
This leading conference on positive business will bring together nearly 400 thought leaders, professionals, executives and academics to engage around the latest practices, research and results in positive business to help empower attendees to become positive change agents within their organizations.

Today’s leading companies are increasingly utilizing business as a vehicle to enact positive change and create value for shareholders and society. It is becoming more essential for corporations to not only create economic value for their customers and shareholders, but also create personal value for employees, and social value for the communities in which they operate.

Registration is now open here.
Visit the conference site for more information.


February 2, 2015 in Ann Arbor
3rd Annual Michigan Energy Futures Conference
Corporate Pathways to Advanced Energy: The Growth of Market Demand for Clean Energy Solutions
Hosted by: The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council
Co-sponsored by: Advanced Energy Economy, Ceres, the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise and Energy Institute, 5 Lakes Energy and the World Resources Institute.

Visit the conference site for more information.

October 30, 2015 in Ann Arbor
U-M Conference on Transportation, Economics, Energy, and the Environment (TE3)
Hosted by: University of Michigan Energy Institute
Co-sponsored by: Michigan Mobility Transformation Center and the Erb Institute. Visit the conference site for more information.

May 13-15, 2015 in Ann Arbor
Michigan Meeting: Academic Engagement in Public and Political Discourse
This conference is made possible by the sponsorship of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan. The Michigan Meetings are a series of annual inter-disciplinary meetings of national and international scope on topics of broad interest and contemporary importance to both the public and the academic community. Supplemental support for this conference is also provided by the Erb Institute, the Graham Institute, the Michigan Energy Institute and the Risk Science Center. Visit the conference site for more information.

October 3, 2014 in Ann Arbor

U-M Conference on Transportation, Economics, Energy, and the Environment (TE3)
Co-sponsored by: University of Michigan Energy Institute, Michigan Institute for Teaching and Research in Economics (MITRE) and the Erb Institute. Visit the conference site for more information.

September 9, 2014 in Ann Arbor
2nd Annual Michigan Energy Future Conference
Watch the keynote speeches and panel sessions

March 31, 2014 in Ann Arbor
Energy 2030 on the Road: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Co-hosted by: the Alliance to Save Energy, the Erb Institute and the City of Ann Arbor
Read more about the conference | Watch the sessions, features, and interview recordings

June 26, 2013 in Ann Arbor
How will “Disruptive Challenges” in the Electric Markets Impact Michigan’s Energy Decisions?
Co-sponsored by the Erb Institute, Growth Capital Network, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Institute for Energy Innovation, 5 Lakes Energy, Next Energy, and Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council.
View the Conference Videos, Presentation Slides, and Podcasts | Read the White Paper (pdf)

January 19-21, 2012 in Ann Arbor
Increasing Public Understanding of Climate Risks and Choices:  What We Can Learn from Social Science Research and Practice
Co-sponsored by the Erb Institute and the Union of Concerned Scientists.
View the Conference report

June  3-4, 2011 in Ann Arbor
Informing Green Markets: What Makes a Difference and Why?
Co-sponsored by the Erb Institute and the Sustainability Consortium.
Post-conference resources page

May 18-19, 2011
U-M/SJTU Collaborative Workshop to Initiate Research on Barriers to the Deployment of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Technology

Sponsored by the Erb Institute at the Ross School of Business.
Conference Agenda

December 10, 2010
Michigan-China Clean Tech
Collaboration and Competition in Energy, Smart Grid, Green Cities and Transportation
Sponsored by the Erb,  Zell Lurie and Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institutes, the Center for Chinese Studies and the Center for International Business Education.  Michigan Union in Ann Arbor/ Free Pre- registration required.
Conference Video, Presentation Slides, and Photos

June 17-19, 2010
Informing Green Markets: The Roles of Industry, NGOs and Government
Sponsored by the Erb Institute at the Ross School in Ann Arbor/ By Invitation only.
The conference is designed to stimulate dialogue between the private sector, the public sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and academia and will focus on the dynamic processes by which information in green markets emerges and evolves.  It is designed to provoke a “deep dive” discussion into how green markets will develop in upcoming years, and the appropriate roles of government regulation, corporate environmenal claims, and external evaluations by NGOs.
Complete Conference website
Papers and Slide Presentations

May 20 -22, 2010
Constructing Green: Sustainability and the Places We Inhabit.
Conference Schedule, Presenters and Registration | Presentation Videos

November 20, 2009
Cleantech 2009: Innovations & Opportunities for Building Business

Sponsored by the Erb and Zell Lurie Institutes at the Michigan Union in Ann Arbor/ Free Pre- registration required.
Complete Conference website | View the Agenda


Conference videos: Welcome & Overview: Cleantech Investment Trends /Opening Keynote Speaker Megan McCluer /Panel: Current Investment Spaces /
Panel: Developing Today’s Cleantech Industry in Michigan.

May 8-9, 2009
Alliance for Research on Corporate Responsibility Conference (ARCS).
Sponsored by the Erb Institute at the Ross School in Ann Arbor/ By Invitation only
To help accelerate the development of a body of knowledge on corporate sustainability, a group of leading institutions at prominent universities that share a strong commitment to research on business and sustainability has formed the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability. As part of the Alliance’s mission to foster first-rate research, this first annual conference is designed to bring together scholars interested in corporate sustainability strategy and management. It is hosted by the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan on May 8-9, 2009. We envision the conference rotating among Alliance schools in future years.
2009 ARCS Conference
Current ARCS Website

February, 2009.
Corporate Transparency and Accountability: The Role of Information Disclosure
Held at the National Press Club, Washington, DC 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC. Co-organized by Erb Director, Tom Lyon.
This one-day, two-part workshop will connect the worlds of practice, policy, and scholarship, identifying and exploring cross-cutting issues and opportunities in the areas of 1.) Information Disclosure Regulations, Voluntary Disclosure and Disclosure credibility and certification.
More Information(pdf).
Conference Website

Oct 19, 2007
Religious Perspectives on Climate Change: Turning Faith into Action
This one day conference will bring together representatives from a diverse array of religions to discuss how the belief systems within each tradition inform our moral responsibilities to address climate change; and to consider how those belief systems might be put into action. Go to Agenda, Web and Pod cast, and transcripts page.

May 4-5, 2007
Conference/ Book Project: What Do NGOs Want?
Meeting of academics and practitioners focused on creating new insights and research directions relating to the increasingly significant, but little understood phenomenon of non-governmental organizations. NGO structures, processes, and efficacy were discussed.
Conference Agenda Page with video links.

November 10, 2006
Corporate Strategies that Address Climate Change
The objective of this one day conference (inspired by publication of the Pew Center Report: Getting Ahead of the Curve), was to help companies consider the range of available options for developing a climate strategy and to help financial analysts identify benchmarks for industry best practices on the issue. Company representatives provided a wealth of valuable experience and insights.
Agenda and Webcast.

May 4-5, 2006
Business and Climate Change: Designing Integrated Strategies
The Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise was pleased to host a high-level exchange of views on the links between market and non-market strategy for a carbon-constrained future among senior representatives of industry, national environmental organizations, government, labor unions, trade groups, corporate executives and leading scholars. The Institute aimed to offer a unique environment of trust and collaboration in which a wide range of perspectives on business and the natural environment were be presented and treated with respect. Building on our previous forum entitled “Reframing the Climate Debate: Jobs, Trade, Security and a Revised Research Agenda,” the goal was to identify new opportunities for business leadership on climate change in both the private and public sectors. Extended Summary.

June 2-3, 2005
Reframing the Climate Change Debate

The intention of the conference is to facilitate a high-level exchange of views on climate change policy among senior representatives of national environmental organizations, labor unions, trade groups, corporate executives and leading scholars. Our goal is to broaden the debate in an effort to bridge what at times appear to be highly divergent interests. We expect the conference to result in new avenues for research, as well as having an impact on the way practitioners approach the problem of climate change. We are pleased to sponsor this event in partnership with the Center for Advancing Research and Solutions in Society (CARSS).

Mobility in a Sustainable World: A Complex Systems Approach
This conference was organized by the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute and the Center for the Study of Complex Systems (CSCS). For the first time the science of complex systems was used and applied to the challenges of creating sustainable transportation models for the future.

The conference was a stepping stone for a longer longer-term partnership, entitled “Initiative on Mobility in a Sustainable World,” launched by the Erb Institute, CSCS and Ford to develop a program of research and policy formation and implementation that is consistent with a sustainable future. The initiative includes graduate seminars, senior executive programs, workshops, a speaker series and faculty research projects focusing on complexity, mobility and sustainability.