Sustainability leaders

Sustainability leaders strategize a world of good

Founding members of Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes gather in Tempe to find large-scale solutions

The energy in the room was powerful.

Twenty men and women from around the world had traveled to Tempe, Arizona, for this moment. Alone, each might be able to change their own small corner of the globe. Together, they might one day change the world.

Eleven universities, one corporation — leaders in sustainability — working together to create sustainable outcomes on a global scale. It was clear from the dialogue over the course of their two days together that this was the goal of every founding member at the first-ever meeting of the Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes

The challenge

When you’re a world leader in sustainability science, you know that the challenges are growing faster than their solutions. From poverty, terrorism and climate change to ocean acidification, food insecurity, water shortages and disease — the world is quickly recognizing how these problems negatively affect human well-being.

Universities are ideal places to develop and test solutions to these challenges. Often universities can implement solutions on a small scale with local partners. The nascent consortium empowers its members to achieve solutions on a global scale.

The founding meeting began Monday with a welcome from Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow, who described the depth of the challenge and his excitement to join forces with other universities to make sustainability both a value and an outcome.

Crow’s remarks harkened back to his 2002 inaugural address, when he spoke of crossing boundaries — both geographic and disciplinary — and transforming ASU into a university that “shapes its research initiatives with regard to their social outcomes.”

That charge has motivated the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability since itsfounding in 2004. It is the reason the university has joined like-minded partners in forming the consortium. ASU is a dues-paying member of the consortium and provides staff and operational support. 

Read more here.