Letter from the Director

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to report on the recent activities of the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan, where we had another remarkably productive year. Twenty-four students from seven MIT programs graduated with the Sustainability Certificate—a record both in number of graduates and program diversity. We are launching a class on sustainability-oriented innovation, and wrote a concept paper on the same theme. We increased our visibility within the wider sustainability community through two major events: The New Metrics of Sustainable Business conference which we co-sponsored; and the seventh-annual MIT Sustainability Summit, which we hosted in collaboration with MIT’s new Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS). More than 250 business leaders, students, academics, and public officials attended this year’s summit, making it our most successful one yet.

Our collaboration with J-WAFS reflects an exciting moment at MIT, as sustainability issues become front and center on the Institute’s agenda. We have been active participants in the MIT-wide climate change conversation, including debates about divesting the MIT endowment from fossil fuels. John Sterman, the Faculty Director of the Sustainability Initiative, has joined the faculty council of the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, which made its first seed grants this year. We also co-led events with MIT’s exciting new Office of Sustainability. To these conversations we bring our experience with deep integration of sustainability into the curriculum and life of MIT Sloan, and our fantastic network of scholars and practitioners who are embedding sustainability into the practice of management.

I delight in seeing these efforts come together. This year my five-year-old son discarded the training wheels on his bicycle, and my one-year-old daughter learned to climb both up and down the stairs. I can’t help but see a parallel in the maturation of our initiative, our school, and the wider Institute on these issues of global importance. I also know just how much hard work it has taken and how much there is to come.

Seizing this moment, we have big goals for the coming years. We aim to increase the diversity of participants in our events, classes, and certificate program. We can do this by enhancing our outreach to both MIT Sloan students from different professional backgrounds and to graduate students across the Institute. We strive to develop robust and empowered alumni networks. Finally, we are committed to bringing rigor and clarity to the process of sustainability-oriented innovation through a next generation of management tools.  We have bold financial aspirations, too. Today the Sustainability Initiative receives support from the MIT Sloan School of Management via tuition and the Annual Fund, as well as contributions from alumni, corporate and institutional allies, and friends. We are now working to create an even stronger financial foundation by increasing the number of recurring and endowed gifts we receive to ensure a future of impact.

As the Sustainability Initiative enters its tenth year, I thank you—our students and alumni, faculty and research partners, and allies—for your enthusiasm, generosity, and service. Without you, none of this would be possible. 

Yours Truly,

Jason Jay