Greening Markets

There is growing debate on the role that government should play in the proliferation of ecolabels and on effective ways to work in conjunction with the efforts of corporation and non-governmental organizations(NGOs) to serve all green market stakeholders.

Ross video promotes SC Johnson case study on unintended consequences of green marketing campaign

October 14, 2013

Examining the green marketing backlash against Windex – A Case Study Discussion

 Link to the summary and full case on GlobaLens

Erb researchers on team selected for DOE solar diffusion grant

February 4, 2013


Erb Director Andy Hoffman and Research Management Fellow Kim Wolske are partnering with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to investigate the diffusion of solar technology in the residential market. The project, Understanding the Evolution of Customer Motivations and Adoption Barriers in Residential Photovoltaics Markets was recently selected for a 2.26 million dollar grant from the Department of Energy.

The goal of the project is to identify the full range of motivations and barriers that influence solar adoption and to incorporate those findings into testable market pilots.  Read More

Erb Research on eco-labeling cited in major industrial journal

February 4, 2013

January issue of Chemical and Engineering News cites new research from the Erb Institute on the ecolabel landscape:  Spread of Ecolabels Vexes Cleaning Product Makers (pdf)  or read the story online.

IBM – Johnson & Johnson Supply Chain Project Team

January 2, 2013

Elizabeth Matzen
Elizabeth is interested in waste reduction through smart product design and cradle to cradle concepts. Elizabeth is currently working on her master’s project with the upcycling company, TerraCycle, and this summer served as a business development intern at the cleantech startup ReGenerate Solutions. Originally from Iowa, Elizabeth holds a BA in Biology and Chemistry from Luther College. Prior to joining the Erb community, Elizabeth exercised her left brain as an research lab scientist at Columbia University. When not in the library, Elizabeth can be found gardening, baking pie, or finding a new running route in Ann Arbor.

Viktor Passinsky
Viktor is interested in environmental policy and decision-making, particularly with regards to climate change adaptation and water resources management. He is passionate about bringing affordable and accessible renewable energy and clean water technologies to Base of the Pyramid markets. Prior to enrolling in the Erb Institute program, Viktor spent five years working at Accenture in its Communications & High Tech strategy consulting practice, where he specialized in Program and Project Management. Outside of work, Viktor volunteered with a Wilderness Search & Rescue unit in California. Viktor received a B.S. in Computer Science & Engineering from the University of California, San Diego. In his spare time, Viktor enjoys traveling, backpacking, playing sports, and volunteering. He speaks fluent Russian and enjoys immersing himself in foreign cultures.Ben Hamm
Prior to joining the Erb Institue, Ben served as a nonprofit marketing and communications specialist for several nonprofits, most recently as Institutional Giving Manager for The Trust for Public Land. His current focus is on the intersection of entrepreneurship, female empowerment, and sustainability in emerging markets. Ben graduated from Haverford College with a Bachelor’s in Sociology, where he focused on competition policy and Islamic jurisprudence. He has lived and worked internationally on several occasions including as a teacher of sociology in Islamabad, Pakistan. Ben enjoys describing himself in the third person.

Antonia Chan
Antonia came to the Erb Institute wanting to join her interests in transportation energy and business to provide solutions for sustainable mobility. She’s particularly interested in how technology, consumers, and policy interact with business decisions to address global sustainability concerns. In 2011, she interned at Johnson Controls Power Solution Division in Milwaukee where she conducted the first ever life-cycle analysis of their battery products. In 2012, she helped develop a supply chain sustainability scorecard to evaluate supplier performance at Ford Motor Company. She received her BS in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan. Prior to returning to UofM, Antonia worked in the biochemical manufacturing industry and started a small business in Ann Arbor. Along with loving to travel and eating cultural food, she sings with the University Musical Society’s grammy-award winning Choral Union and has performed on stage with Michael Buble.

Oct 15 – Connecting the Drops: The Evolution of Coca-Cola’s Water Resource Strategy

September 26, 2012

Jeff Seabright, Coca-Cola
Connecting the Drops: The Evolution of Coca-Cola’s Water Resource Strategy
Monday October 15
4:45 – 6:00pm, Ross, R1210

Jeff Seabright is on the Erb Institute’s Strategic Advisory Council and is the chief environmental officer at the Coca-Cola Company, where he is responsible for environmental governance and leadership across global operations of the Coca-Cola system including water stewardship, sustainable packaging, climate protection practices, and sustainable agriculture.  Mr. Seabright has held several positions in government and business, including as Foreign Service Officer in the State Department, legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate, director of environment and energy at the U.S. Agency for International Development, and head of the White House Task Force on Climate Change under President Clinton.

In scholarly pursuit of sustainable solutions

July 12, 2012

Erb Institute welcomes post-doctoral fellow Laurie Nijaki in September:  “…one area I want to focus on is emerging alliances between different types of nonprofit organizations, and between the business and environmental communities, to implement green-job strategies,” Nijaki said. “At the same time, I want to continue to contribute to the knowledge base as an academic, while also being a connector between scholarship and applied problem solving occurring on the ground.”

View the article (html)
Laurie Nijaki: In scholarly pursuit of sustainable solutions (pdf)

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New findings on sustainability certification released

July 2, 2012

Professor Tom Lyon was among the 12-member Steering Committee of international business and civil society leaders and academic experts that produced the report,  Toward Sustainability: The Roles and Limitations of Certification.

Funded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and Mars, Incorporated, committee members expect the report to be of particular value to businesses, governments, and NGOs that are considering the use of certification to assist in sustainability goals. “The Toward Sustainability report gives us the best insight we’ve ever had into the actual, perceived, and potential impact of environmental and social labeling schemes,” said Jan Kees Vis, Global Director of Sustainable Sourcing Development at Unilever. “This is a great help to businesses who want to ensure they contribute to social progress and environmental improvement through their supply chains.”

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The Green Button: Energy Data Standards and Opportunity

June 13, 2012

“The Green Button: Business Opportunities Arising From an Energy Data Standard”
By Lawrence Han, Erb MBA/MS 2012 Renewable Energy Scholar.

View the report (pdf)

Q & A with Ford’s Manager of Social Sustainability (and Erb External Advisory Board member) on the Future of Mobility

April 26, 2012

As Ford Motor Company’s manager of social sustainability, David Berdish is at the vanguard of executive chairman Bill
Ford’s goal of transforming Ford “from a motor company to a mobility company.” Read more:  The Blue Oval Goes Green (pdf) OR Read it online (html)

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Google Energy Shifts into Renewables

April 5, 2012

Google Energy Shifts into Renewables (pdf abstract)

Purchase the full report on Google Energy (Case study #1-429-226) – published  04/2012, 14 pages.
By: Benjamin Bunker, Jennifer Foster, Jason Levine, Rodrigo Sanchez, Gaurang Sethi, and Geroge Tan / Andrew Hoffman, Faculty Advisor
Description: Google has received intense criticism for its data center energy usage. Google’s global data centers draw almost 260 million watts per year–about a quarter of the output of a nuclear power plant. The first steps of the recently created subsidiary Google Energy was to respond to criticisms and, so far, their efforts have been successful. The team must now formulate their expansion strategy. If successful, the expansion will likely strengthen Google’s image as an industry leader in energy procurement, provide a strong financial return, and possibly create a lucrative new market. However, this initiative has high risks. The team must evaluate: Were its efforts thus far enough, or were they just the baseline of what they could be doing? How far should Google go to act as a leader to address the environmental impacts of these operations?

Teaching Note: Available to Registered Educators. Please login to view it.
Teaching Points: After discussing this case study, students will be able to:

  • Identify the risks and benefits of pursuing sustainability as a core corporate objective.
  • Illustrate how and why an industry leader may pursue a corporate sustainability strategy.
  • Present the difficulties surrounding diversification into the energy market and the risks associated with renewable energy investments.
  • List the public relations and political consequences of adopting sustainability as a core mission, particularly in regard to expanded renewable energy investments.

Key Topics:

  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Strategic Management