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How Large Institutions Can Manage The Deep Organizational Change Required For Carbon Neutrality


Wednesday, February 10, 2021
11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST




Tom Porter

Voices for Carbon Neutrality

Voices for Carbon Neutrality (VCN) is a broad coalition of University of Michigan faculty, alumni, and students launched in April 2018 to serve as a catalyst and accelerator to drive the U-M to carbon neutrality (CN) with urgency. VCN is offering two webinars focused on two key aspects of achieving CN that need to be primary in the PCCN report. Because of the importance of these topics, we are urging UM leaders and the Regents to attend these webinars.

The University of Michigan has 52,540 employees and 64,582 students, housed in 38.5 million square feet of building space in 1164 buildings in 11 states. Since previous efforts by the university to lower its energy usage have failed, what does it need to do now to ensure that the critically needed reduction in its carbon footprint required by the United Nations IPCC by 2030 can be achieved?

How have other leading organizations across sectors led an operational and cultural change of the magnitude required to get to carbon neutrality? What kind of organizational change will be needed to implement its anticipated Carbon Neutrality Plan? A panel of leaders from other large institutions will discuss the kinds of organizational changes that they have found to be effective.


Sara Soderstrom, Associate Professor of Organizational Studies and Program in the Environment. Professor Sodertrom’s research is focused on how corporations engage in societal sustainability challenges.


Liesl Clark: Liesl Eichler Clark is Director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, EGLE. Liesl created the department by combining the Departments of Environmental Quality, Office of the Great Lakes, and the Michigan Agency for Energy and changed the name to reflect the state’s new commitment to climate action.

Ramé Hemstreet: VP of Operations and Chief Energy Officer for Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated, nonprofit health system, has become the first health care system in the United States to achieve carbon-neutral status. It operates 39 hospitals and more than 700 medical offices, with over 300,000 personnel, including more than 80,000 physicians and nurses.

Meghan Fay Zahnniser: Executive Director for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education AASHE. AASHE is comprised of over 900 members across the US, Canada, and 20 countries. One of its many services is to manage the STARS program for colleges and universities.

The webinar is free and open to the public.



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