Advance Sustainability Action in Your Company

Research Partnerships

Research Partnerships​

Collaboration is a critical part of making progress toward the SDGs. As an academic institute, we partner with companies to tailor research they can use in decision-making, in the form of real-world sustainability solutions and strategies. We create lasting collaborations with our company partners to turn thought leadership into practical action through Impact Projects and Collaborative Research.

Work with tomorrow’s sustainability leaders

Impact Projects

Advance your sustainability agenda by working directly with the Erb Institute and our dual-degree MBA/MS students from a Top 10 MBA program, through an Impact Project. These research projects deliver tailored assessments and strategies to help you meet your business objectives. We will match you with focused and engaged Erb Institute graduate students to tackle pressing business challenges and broader strategy questions.

Example Project Deliverables

  • Sustainability and go-to-market strategies
  • Decision-making tools and frameworks
  • Stakeholder assessments

Work with leading business sustainability scholars

Collaborative Research

Position your company as a thought leader in sustainability through Collaborative Research. These long-term partnerships deliver science for action through various platforms: science-based sustainability strategies that align with your business goals, workshops to build your company’s leadership capacity on the latest sustainability research, and tools to help you make better decisions for lasting impact.

Example Project Deliverables

  • Tailored sustainability toolboxes, including actionable, step-by-step guidance
  • Analyses of emerging sustainability issues to inform long-term strategy
  • Strategic assessments of sustainability risks and opportunities at the enterprise and/or industry levels

Collaborative Research Spotlight

Ford Motor Company

In spite of the widespread proliferation of sustainability metrics and reporting frameworks, these systems lack consistent definitions, processes and standards for assessing social sustainability impacts. This has made it difficult to benchmark progress on social sustainability issues, whether among companies or against global goals, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

To address this challenge, the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute embarked on a 2-year collaborative research project with Ford Motor Company to better define social impact and how it might be measured.

Erb Institute Toolbox Series: Bring Sustainability to Life in Your Organization

The Erb Institute Toolbox Series was created to help sustainability practitioners implement sustainability changes at the company level. Each toolbox is designed as a simple, step-by-step approach to actually doing sustainability, elevating the interests and expectations of a broad range of stakeholder groups (not just shareholders) in company decision-making. A sample of Erb toolbox topics:

  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Global Value Chains
  • Metrics and Reporting
  • Triple-Bottom-Line Decision-Making

Partner with Us

on Research


Melissa Zaksek

Associate Director, Research & Thought Leadership