Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, November 19, 2010

U-M named Sustainable Public Institution of the Year

U-M has been named the first ever recipient of the Sustainable Public Institution of the Year award by the Southeast Michigan Sustainable Business Forum in recognition of the university’s overall sustainability efforts on the Ann Arbor campus.


The forum focused its award criteria not only on programs related to energy, water and waste efficiencies, but it also rewarded those organizations who promote the social, economic and ecological benefit of sustainability to the community. A total of 10 categories were evaluated from award applications. The award was presented at a dinner ceremony Nov. 11.

“This is a great award for the University of Michigan as recognition of the sustainability programs and University’s commitment to this important issue,” says Terry Alexander, executive director of the Office of Campus Sustainability. “There is a long and rich history on the Ann Arbor campus within the academic, research and operational disciplines related to environmental awareness and excellence, and this award is another example of how the University of Michigan is leading through its actions.”

As an organization, the business forum supports business leaders in Southeast Michigan that are intent on creating long-term and sustainable value for stakeholders in the region. Through its triple bottom line approach to sustainability — which includes the social, economic and ecological benefits to the community — the business forum serves as an information resource for sustainable business practices.

“We wanted to create rigorous criteria for the award that looked at the entire picture of an organization as it related to sustainable practices,” says Kate Pepin, president of Southeast Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. “We asked what we thought were hard questions so that we could evaluate applicants on more than just traditional environmental practices and programs. The University of Michigan is a very deserving recipient of this award.”

Founded in 2004, SMSBF shares information on such issues as cost models and policy changes related to sustainable business practices. Pepin noted that because sustainability is a complex and rapidly changing issue, keeping abreast of relevant topics requires ongoing sharing of best practices and constant communication with member companies.