About the Erb Institute | Business for Sustainability

The Erb Institute is a partnership between the Ross School of Business and the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) at the University of Michigan. The institute’s mission is to create a socially and environmentally sustainable world through the power of business. We do that through research, teaching and business engagement—all focused on preparing and supporting bold business leaders who can adeptly transform companies, industries and entire economies for systemic sustainability.

The institute was founded 20 years ago as a dual-degree program in which graduate students receive their MBA from Ross and their MS from SEAS. Today, the institute has grown to include scholarly and applied research on business sustainability, as well as direct business engagement to turn ideas into action through on-the-ground projects with companies, social enterprises and nonprofits committed to business sustainability.

Read more about the Institute's Direction


Our Founders

In 1996, the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Environmental Management Institute, a joint venture between the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources and Environment (now known as the School for Environment and Sustainability), was established through a $5 million endowment gift from Frederick Erb, U-M BBA ’47, and his wife, Barbara. Subsequent Erb gifts, eventually totalling $20 million, represent the largest known commitment to a university for interdisciplinary teaching and research in the area of global sustainable enterprise.

Twenty years ago, the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise began with a noble concept: Create a better world by harnessing the combined power of business and science to drive positive, sustainable social and environmental change.

Celebrating 20 Years of Impact

For the past 20 years, the Erb Institute has been the place for big and bold thinking at the intersection of business and sustainability. We’ve graduated over 400 students who are now making a difference from within the companies and nonprofits where they work. We’ve also served as a convener, bringing together thousands of people to discuss challenges we face as a society, and the strategies worth trying to confront them. And, through our incredibly talented and dedicated staff and faculty, we’ve worked to advance the science of sustainability.