Impact Areas

Climate Action, Sustainability & Environmental Justice

Three students use nets to clean water

Look to the Innovators

Look to the Innovators working toward a more sustainable world.

From rising temperatures to extreme weather events, the challenges caused by climate change and environmental degradation are posing serious risks to life and ecosystems on Earth.

U-M is uniquely positioned to lead the effort of mitigating climate change through groundbreaking research, revolutionary education, campus operations, and creative programming designed to increase resilience and minimize avoidable impacts.

We envision a future where the education that all students receive will lay the groundwork for them to become environmental stewards. Our community will understand our impact on the environment and feel inspired to take the lead in protecting it. We will unlock new technologies and generate just and sustainable solutions in areas critical for preserving the planet, including energy, transportation, food, and water insecurity.

U-M is deeply committed to climate action and environmental justice. We intend to make measurable and sustainable progress in these areas in numerous ways including building stronger relationships and deepening our ties with local, national, and international communities. Operationally, we will optimize the efficient use of U-M’s built environments and sustainability initiatives. Zooming out, we envision a significant role for U-M as a partner to the State of Michigan to protect the Great Lakes, providing support with a focus on tackling water-related challenges.

We choose to view these critical challenges as opportunities, with the aim to empower students, faculty, staff, and community members to proactively participate in addressing the underlying issues. By enhancing lives through sustainability action — and being leaders for climate and environmental justice — U-M commits to making significant strides towards a more resilient and sustainable world.


  • Invest in solving issues that position U-M as a global leader in higher education campus sustainability, focusing on our infrastructure and our pursuit to become carbon neutral.
  • Deepen our commitment to environmental justice by acknowledging that frontline and fence line communities are disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis and strengthening connections with local, national and global communities — creating action-oriented strategies that have real and sustained impact.
  • Nurture future leaders in sustainability through educational programs and a culture of environmental responsibility that ensures all members of our community are empowered to contribute effectively to a more sustainable future.
  • Tackle the defining environmental challenges of our time by harnessing our capabilities as a leading research institution — from addressing climate change and biodiversity loss to address the pressing issues of food security, water quality, and sustainable transportation.