Green Events Checklist

October 12, 2010

Suggestions from Erb Students, collected by Rick Bunch.

The following is a checklist to GREEN your event.


—Provide locally sourced and organic meals

—Purchase local organic produce at local farmers market for reception

—Offer vegetarian dining options or go vegan

—Offer local wines: local whites from Michigan and reds from U.S.

—Instead of throw-away favors, make fresh pumpkin donuts in wax paper bags

—Purchase local beeswax candles for party gifts

—Compost and/or donate leftovers after the reception

—Recycle all table scraps at a local pig farm

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Energy Efficiency is Not the End Game

October 8, 2010
Nick Fassler

Nick Fassler

by Nick Fassler, MBA/MS student at the Erb Institute, Class of 2012.

This article is cross-posted on Environmental Defense Fund Innovation Exchange Blog.

“Energy efficiency is not the end game.” These words from Peter Senge (senior lecturer at MIT, renown author and founding Chairman of the Society for Organizational Learning) literally and figuratively kicked off the Capturing the Energy Efficiency Opportunity conference (read Emily Reyna’s blog post) that focused on the results and learnings of the 2010 EDF Climate Corps program. In just one summer, 51 Climate Corps fellows found energy efficiency projects with savings of $350 million in net operating costs and 400,000 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions. During my own fellowship with HCA Healthcare, I found alighting efficiency project that could be rolled out to most of HCA’s hospitals to save 52,000 metric tons of GHG emissions annually and $14.7 million in net operating costs over the life of the project. The success of EDF Climate Corps is no modest accomplishment for a program that has only been in existence for three years, yet throughout the conference I kept thinking about Professor Senge’s words and wondered how we could be addressing the deeper and more systemic issues of energy and sustainability. Read the rest of this entry »

Lift in Threatening Situations: Lessons for Thomas Friedman from a WWII Veteran

October 5, 2010

Emily Plews, MBA/MS 2010

by Emily Plews, MBA/MS student at the Erb Institute, Class of 2010.  This commentary is cross-posted on The LIFT Blog.

A good friend of mine recently emailed me his retelling of a story he heard elsewhere.  Here is what he wrote:

…The father was a decorated WWII Air Force veteran whose bomber went down. Everyone on the plane lived, however. The son asked his father “what were the men on the plane doing as it fell?” and the father responded, “bellyaching and crying.” The son said he could understand doing that, but then asked “What were you doing?” To which the father replied, “FIXING THE PROBLEM. Crying never fixed a goddamn thing.”

(Pardon the language.)

I read this story the first time, snickered a little, and hastily filed it somewhere in my brain with all of the other snicker-worthy quips from feisty curmudgeons. Somehow my brain revisited and realized that the father/veteran in this story was far more than snicker-worthy.  Behind the abrasive tone, there is content worth considering, deeply in fact.  What could I learn from him the veteran as an advocate for sustainability and student of positive organizational scholarship?

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ErbWire: Reconnect at Erb reunion,Net Impact

September 20, 2010

Thought in Action at the Erb Institute

The Erb Institute is planning an alumni reunion to coincide with the 18th annual Net Impact Conference “20/20 Vision for a Sustainable Decade” being hosted Oct. 28-30 at the U-M by the Ross School.   Meet students and grads of  the Institute, and reconnect with old friends and Erb alumni at the reunion and Net Impact.

Erb Returns Agenda and Registration site
Erb Returns Facebook Page
Net Impact Registration Site


ErbWire: Welcome Class of 2012

September 20, 2010

Thought in Action at the Erb Institute

Class of  2013 Includes a Facebook Chef,  Singer/Songwriter,  and Teach for America Educator

General Electric, Sun Edison, Sungard and the U.S.Forest  Service  are among firms who hire Erb grads

The Erb Institute welcomes another outstanding entering class this fall.  Our new students bring a broad range of professional and volunteer experiences to The Institute, including demonstrated leadership skills and a commitment to sustainability and addressing environmental issues.  The Class of 2013 includes a songwriter and singer; a Teach for America educator; a chef at Facebook; a Walmart marketing employee who championed the use of reusable shopping bags there; a JP Morgan associate who researched wind, solar, geothermal, ethanol, nuclear and natural gas energy sources; and employees from the nation’s most prestigious consulting firms.

The Institute also is pleased to report our 33 graduates in the Class of 2010 were hired by such leading firms and organizations as A. T. Kearney, Axio Power, Blue Tree Strategies, Cisco, Deloitte, Dow Chemical, General Electric, Johnson Controls, McKinsey, Sun Edison, SunGard, the U. S. Forest Service and Waste Management.  Armed with knowledge and experience in business and natural resources and the environment, the new hires are working on a variety of assignments, including managing sustainability programs, advising businesses on sustainability, arranging financing for solar projects, analyzing corporate ventures, working on value chain and social responsibility compliance programs, and creating new finance mechanisms for forest conservation.


ErbWire: Energy and Climate

September 20, 2010

Back to Fall 2010,
Thought in Action at the Erb Institute

Ross experts discuss effects of Gulf oil crisis

Tom Lyon


Christie Nordheilm


In a podcast posted on The Erb Institute web site, Director Thomas Lyon and Ross School Marketing Professor Christie Nordhielm discuss the possible fallout of the April BP PLC explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, which created the worst offshore oil disaster in history.  The faculty members talk about the oil disaster’s impact on energy and environmental policy and the perils of marketing environmental stewardship.

MORE:  AudioNews Story

Hoffman: U.S. must act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Andy Hoffman


The Erb Institute Associate Director Andrew Hoffman was a contributing author to the report “Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change,” part of a three-part study on climate change released by the National Research Council in May.

Substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require prompt and sustained efforts to promote technological and behavioral changes, according to Hoffman’s report.  Hoffman recommends the U.S. establish a greenhouse gas emissions “budget” that sets a limit on total domestic emissions over a period of time and provides a clear and measurable goal.  However, the report warns, the longer the nation waits to begin reducing emissions, the harder and more expensive it will be to reach an emissions target.

Another of Hoffman’s publications, Carbon Strategies:  How Leading Companies Are Reducing Their Climate Change Footprint, was released in August in Korean.  The book offers a clear, practical guide to sustainable climate policy for business leaders, corporate change-makers and students.

READ MORE:  National Academies of Science report

EDF Climate Corps interns work to reduce energy usage

Nick Fassler

Nick Fassler

Six students from The Erb Institute were among 51 students who interned at 47 companies this summer as part of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)-sponsored Climate Corps fellows program.  Four Erb students were Climate Corps fellows in 2009.

EDF started the Climate Corps program in 2008 to help large, market-leading companies realize energy, carbon and cost-saving strategies by enlisting the talents of the nation’s top MBA students.  EDF selects, trains and embeds the students in Fortune 1000 companies in diverse sectors.  Students work with management teams to identify areas in operations and the supply chain that can benefit from energy-saving reductions.

Students and the companies where they worked:

  • Graham Brown, Erb ’12, The JBG Companies
  • Daniel Cantor, Erb ’12, Franklin Templeton Investment
  • Yih-Wei Chien, Erb ’12, JCPenney Company
  • Nick Fassler, Erb ’12, HCA Healthcare
  • Brian Hartmann, Erb ’12, Bloomberg L.P.
  • Jamie Mikkelsen, Erb ’11, Target

Students who were EDF Climate Corp interns in 2009 include:

  • Hunt Briggs, Erb ’11, Biltmore Farms
  • Greg Buzzell, Erb ’11, Accenture
  • Sarah Shapiro, Erb ’11, Cisco Systems
  • Ryan Whisnant, Erb ’10, SunGard.  He is now director of sustainability at SunGard, a software and technology services company.


Alumnus and student lead webinar about U.S. forest carbon market standards

Colm Fay

Gabriel Thoumi


Alumnus Gabriel Thoumi, Erb ‘08, and Colm Fay, Erb ’12,disscus how adoption of finance and insurance standards for forest carbon in the United States could change risk management for forest carbon projects in a Webinar hosted by Among the topics they address in the hour-long program titled “Implementing Finance & Insurance Standards for the U.S. Forestry Carbon Market” are insurance products currently available for forest projects and how companies insure projects that are expected to be active for more than 40 years.  Thourni is a project director with Forest Carbon Offsets LLC, which helps landowners document, register and commercialize the carbon sequestration services of their property and supports conservation and sustainable forestry practices.


Huron River Ventures receives $6 million in State of Michigan investment


Ryan Waddington, Erb ’99, and his new venture capital firm Huron River Ventures recently won the State of Michigan Accelerator Fund RFP and will receive $6 million in state funding from the Michigan Strategic Economic Investment and Commercialization Board.  Huron River Ventures, based in Ann Arbor, focuses on alternative energy and other high-tech sectors in the state.  Huron River Ventures was one of two funds to receive seed money from the state.

READ MORE: Crain’s Detroit

Hoffman’s 1st sabbatical stop:  Yellowstone National Park

Andy's Yellowstone Biodiesel Truck

The Erb Institute Associate Director Andrew Hoffman, who recently was promoted to full professor, begins his 2010-2011 sabbatical this September at Yellowstone National Park.  In addition to continuing to do research and teach on climate and energy issues, Hoffman will use the sabbatical to explore new research directions, including the roles and motivations of managers.  His plans include:

— Working with the National Park Service to reduce Yellowstone’s carbon footprint and exploring opportunities for collaborations between the U-M and the National Park Service.

— Teaching at universities in Switzerland, at Concordia University of Montreal, Canada, where he will work with Erb post-doctoral scholar Judith Walls on a co-authored paper, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management Sustainability Lab, and a K-12 school in New Hampshire’s Green Mountains.

Hoffman has published more than 70 articles and seven books on a range of research topics, including institutional change, organizational culture and corporate strategies as they relate to environmental and social issues.  He returns to Ann Arbor in May.

Back to Fall 2010

ErbWire: News from The Erb Institute

September 20, 2010

FALL, 2010
Thought in Action at The Erb Institute


Erb Reunion 2009


Reconnect at Erb Reunion, Net Impact

Class of  2013 Includes a Facebook Chef,  Singer-Songwriter,  and Teach for America Educator  / General Electric, Sun Edison, Sungard and the U.S. Forest Service are among firms who hire Erb Grads.



Claudia Harner-Jay


Erb Alum, Harner-Jay, works to expand access to health resources
Reducing maternal mortality: Colm Fay, Erb ’12



European Energie Labels

EU Energy Labels


Tom Lyon: No “one size fits all” when choosing an NGO partner

Erb visiting professor boosts research on policy questions and corporate social responsibility

Tom Lyon reflects on “Image vs. substance: Sustainability in China

Firms that “greenwash” often have little to lose, says Lyon

Erb Informing Green Markets conference generates lively debate

— Student Case Studies illustrate lessons learned from Sherwin-Williams and Clorox



offshore drilling

Andy Hoffman in Yellowstone


Ross experts discuss effects of Gulf oil crisis

Hoffman: U.S. must act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Erb EDF Climate Corps interns work to reduce energy usage

Alumnus and student lead Webinar about U.S. forest carbon market standards

Erb alumnus and venture capitalist Ryan Waddington receives $6 million from state

Hoffman’s 1st sabbatical stop: Yellowstone National Park



offshore drilling

Students explore links between an organization’s culture and sustainability efforts

CSOs often reach out to stakeholders, government and NGOs, and handle traditional health and safety responsibilities, Lyon notes

Savvy consumers care about corporate sustainability says Erb Managing Director, Rick Bunch






offshore drilling

Shai Agassi


Erb Case study:  A world without oil?

Alumnus helps bring hydrogen-powered cars to Hawaii

Interns take battery-electric Ford Focus for a spin

Students work with Ford on supply chain, “New Mobility” systems in urban slums

SMART launches new mobility projects

Senior SNRE lecturer tackles “car-climate” challenge



Andy Hoffman


Andy Hoffman shares lessons learned in the field

Constructing Green conference publication