Shaping A Sustainable Future – Getting to Net Zero
Michigan Ross 2023 MAP Project with The University of Exeter and the UN Climate Champions
Story by Lynnette Iannace of Michigan Ross
Cover photo by Thomas Richter on Unsplash

One of our international MAP projects this year “The Tipping Point Project” has the potential to truly have a significant global impact.  The team’s mandate to produce a strategic plan to help disseminate the positive tipping point framework to create accelerated pathways to Net Zero is unique and cutting-edge ideation.

Working with the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute, our MBA MAP team (Ankita Bansal, Ian Corey, Jorge Coria Rodriguez, Gargi Gupta, Taylor Stensen, and Drashti Thakrar) and faculty member Len Middleton is helping to design an audacious future organization consortium.  The project came from a relationship with the UN Climate Change High Level Champion and the CDP (previously Carbon Disclosure Project) leadership who recommended working with the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute to participate in this exciting strategic visioning project.

Photo by Michigan Ross

Ross and the Erb Institute have enjoyed a 20-year relationship with CDP. At least five MAP teams have worked on various projects with CDP, all funded by the Erb Institute, and several of our Erb students have gone on to work with the CDP in leadership roles paving the way for this new initiative. “CDP is the leading global organization helping investors obtain greater disclosure of carbon-related risks and opportunities,” said Tom Lyon, Faculty Director of the Erb Institute.  “We are proud to have played such an integral role in the success of CDP over the years.”

The vision for the consortium is to bring together key policymakers, scientists, think tanks and NGOs to work in tandem, and partner with business to provide members central access to funds and marketing efforts, building the momentum to create widespread awareness that will lead to exponential change and accelerate the transition to a net zero society.  The coalition will provide members with breakthrough reports that will provide insights to tipping points within their industry to help reach net zero emissions.

Nigel Topping, the former UN Climate Change High Level Climate Champion for COP 26 and COP 27 added, “What decision-makers think will happen in the future really matters – it shapes the investment plans and policies that are made in the present.  So presenting these decision-makers with the evidence that we are making the transition to net zero much faster than they have been led to believe is one of the most powerful levers for change we possess!”

The MAP team has been developing a framework and roadmap for the future organization to develop membership, expand cross-sector thought leadership sharing, accountability in reporting and architecture of policies for each country.  Their mandate includes identifying the challenges and risks of such an enterprise as well as the global opportunities.  According to Dean Sharon Matusik, “At Michigan Ross, we know that projects like these represent both a powerful form of learning and an amazing opportunity for our students to have a meaningful impact on organizations doing such important work.”

The students have had the opportunity to collaborate with many thought leaders both in the climate change space and with those who have successfully built cross-continent, cross-sector coalitions.

In this current academic year, MAP has had 19 climate change projects.  Below are two EMBA MAP project examples.

Photo by Oren Elbaz on Unsplash

The first is with Treemetrics, a for-profit technology company in Ireland that has the ability to map a forest from the ground, drone, or satellite in real time, and is unique in the field in that they can also measure the CO2 footprint of the land, trees, and canopy.

The second is a project with the Rainforest Foundation, an organization founded by Sting and Trudy Styler, whose mission is to protect the land rights of the indigenous peoples’ rainforests.  This project, to help create the organization’s next five-year strategic plan, was our fifth MAP project with them in 20 years.

According to Associate dean for engaged learning and professional development, Gretchen Spreitzer, “these kinds of MAP projects are changing the world at the same time that they are developing our students to be courageous thinkers and doers who will take these transformative experiences into their professional futures.”