I hadn’t been to the California State Capitol for the longest time—probably since my visit back in elementary school, while growing up in Oakland, California. Fast forward to July 2017, and—after a quick selfie with “the bear” famously guarding the entrance to the California governor’s office—I was back in Sacramento to meet with the governor’s staff and make the case for the Erb Institute to be a part of the recently announced Global Climate Action Summit scheduled for the following year.

To be honest, I think I took them a little by surprise! Governor Jerry Brown had announced the summit just three weeks earlier, so what was the University of Michigan doing in their office asking to be a part of it? They hadn’t even hired anyone to start the herculean task of organizing the global summit—no program yet, no webpage, no glossy press releases.

But I really wanted the Erb Institute to be a part of what was already shaping up to be one of the largest climate events in U.S. history—bringing together government, business and nonprofit leaders to demonstrate continued commitment to action on climate. While California has some of the world’s best universities, which would no doubt be at the summit, I was excited about the prospect of Erb bringing a Midwest voice to this global sustainability discussion.

Fast forward to September 2018, and the Erb Institute will be at the Global Climate Action Summit in full force. Our maize and blue delegation will include nine Erb professors, staff and students; all will be in main summit deliberations September 12-14 in San Francisco. We’ll also deliver our own affiliate event on September 12, with Erb business and academic partners, to explore collaboration on science-based climate goal-setting. The roundtable will include representatives from Microsoft, HP, Schneider Electric, Johnson Controls and Method, along with University of California Berkeley, Stanford University and Michigan State University, just to name a few.

The two Erb student participants have already begun sharing their thoughts on the event, starting here with Jim Gawron’s interview with Climate Summit Communications Director Nick Nuttall, exploring where the summit came from and how it fits in with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Both Jim and Erb student Amanda Willis will continue their reporting from the summit proceedings in San Francisco.

“Our vision is for an engaged Erb Institute, with a seat at the table for some of the most influential business sustainability debates wherever they’re happening—in Michigan, California or anywhere in the world!

Stay tuned for updates from California!”

Terry Nelidov,
Managing Director
Erb Institute | Business for Sustainability