Mitigating the impact of human activity on climate change unites academia and industry. As the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality creates a road map for the University of Michigan, the Tauber Institute for Global Operations produces graduates ready to make significant contributions to sustainability efforts - including reducing carbon emissions - at organizations around the world.
Applying operations expertise is a hallmark of the Tauber student experience. For more than 25 years, Tauber team projects have matched business and engineering graduate students with sponsoring companies to address complex real-world operations challenges. Increasingly, issues that have an impact on climate and environmental sustainability are taking priority: How do we reduce the use of water in our manufacturing process? How do we cut levels of greenhouse gas emissions in our processing lines?
Tauber Institute Engineering Co-director Larry Seiford notes, “In the early days, many projects were manufacturing-focused and addressed problems found within the four walls of the plant. Today’s focus on global operations opens up possibilities for the entire supply chain. This coupled with an increased awareness of environmental impact has not only refocused their emphasis but increased the impact manyfold.”
Like the University of Michigan, many Tauber team project sponsors publicly commit to measures that will reduce their environmental impact. Within the past decade, Tauber student teams have developed sustainability solutions for high-profile companies such as Dell, DTE Energy, Microsoft, PepsiCo, PG&E, Raytheon, and Verizon.
Tauber students have continued their work to reduce environmental impact despite challenges posed by the current pandemic. This past summer, Stoneridge, PepsiCo, and Anheuser-Busch InBev all employed Tauber student teams to address sustainability issues in their operations - and the AB InBev team won first place at the virtual Spotlight! 2020 Team Project Showcase and Competition held online in September. AB InBev team members Marcos Coppa (MBA), Murat Johnson (MBA), and Michelle Pawlow (EGL BSE-EnvE/MSE-IOE) identified technological solutions to create a more sustainable business model for AB InBev's barley growers around the world, while saving AB InBev $17.9 million and providing their growers an additional $13.3 million in revenue annually.
The AB InBev student team exemplifies how the Tauber Institute's multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving can produce superior results. In their winning Spotlight! presentation, Michelle Pawlow said, "This summer we've been incredibly grateful to be able to use the complementary strengths that make up our team. Each of us has different backgrounds that served our project in a unique way, including my knowledge of sustainability and environmental engineering, Murat's technical proficiency from having worked in spirits packaging and distillation, and Marcos' project management and consulting expertise."
Read the SPOTLIGHT! 2020 magazine feature:
Reducing our carbon footprint - and more
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The Tauber Institute for Global Operations is a joint venture between the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the College of Engineering, working together with industry partners to facilitate cross-disciplinary education in global operations management. The Tauber Institute is an inaugural recipient of the UPS George D. Smith Prize for effective and innovative preparation of students to be good practitioners of operations research, management science, or analytics. For more information visit www.tauber.umich.edu.