Sustainability is good for the planet — and good for the bottom line.
As New York's flagship and one of the nation’s leading public research universities, the University at Buffalo is deeply committed to addressing regional and global environmental challenges through innovative research, education and outreach programs.
Here in the School of Management, we're doing our part by working together to make change that positively impacts our community and planet. In class, our students learn why sustainability makes smart business sense, and use their skills to help local nonprofits. Meanwhile, our faculty study climate change through the lens of business — from responsible investing to the market for recycled plastic, and beyond.
School of Management faculty question theories and bring new perspectives to pressing challenges — including sustainability and climate change.
As data centers are expected to consume 8% of the world’s electricity by 2030, new University at Buffalo School of Management research has discovered a strategy to reduce energy consumption 10-30% by consolidating jobs to as few servers as possible when workloads are high, and evenly distributing the workload across all servers when loads are low.
Aditya Vedantam, assistant professor of operations management and strategy, explores the environmental impact of firm operations, including sustainable procurement, green product design and reverse logistics. He has studied clean energy technology in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute. In addition, Vedantam’s research has explored fashion resale strategies, recycled content claims in various industries and how to stimulate demand for recycled products.
In addition, Vedantam has delivered seminars to a variety of organizations, including the local chapter of the Institute of Supply Management and the UB Alumni Association.
Our finance faculty are conducting research around environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria, which investors increasingly use to evaluate companies.
Cristian Tiu, associate professor and chair of finance, recently co-authored a study examining the costs and benefits of socially responsible investment policies on university endowment funds, which was highlighted on the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment blog.
Meanwhile, Feng (Jack) Jiang, associate professor of finance, led a research team investigating how the risk of sea level rise affected the pricing of bank loans for companies. In the video above, Jiang discusses another project, where he evaluated how corporate directors' experience with extreme weather influences a company's climate policies.
As municipalities launch lofty environmental initiatives such as New York City’s goal of sending zero waste to landfill by 2030, University at Buffalo School of Management researchers have developed a new model that optimizes the costs and benefits of using recycled materials in manufacturing.
Published in the European Journal of Operational Research, the model provides a framework for manufacturers to find the optimal recycled content claim given the sourcing and inventory costs of post-consumer content.
“When you pick up a coffee cup and see a message about its post-consumer content, that’s an incentive that drives demand because the consumer looks at it and says ‘Well, that’s a greener product so I’m going to buy it’,” says the study’s lead author Ananth Iyer, professor and dean of the UB School of Management. “But there isn’t a reliable supply of recycled materials and using recycled content can be more expensive than using new materials, so manufacturers need to find the balance.”
Three School of Management researchers—faculty members Aditya Vedantam and Nallan C. Suresh, as well as doctoral student Khadija Ajmal—led a multidisciplinary study examining the impact of China's National Sword policy on U.S. plastics recycling. They discovered that more plastics end up in landfill because of these restrictions. The project was part of a $1.9 million grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), with the goal of stimulating the state’s regenerative economy while reducing pollution.
In addition, Vedantam and UB RENEW are investigating tire recycling with another DEC grant. The team will explore options for the beneficial use of whole tires and tire byproducts, ways to improve waste tire recycling infrastructure, and policy options to increase the marketability of secondary tire-based materials and products.
School of Management students can choose from a robust array of experiential learning opportunities—locally and around the globe—to see firsthand how organizations successfully incorporate sustainability into their mission and operations.
At The Green Summit in Thailand, four School of Management Undergraduate Honors students learned from experts in sustainable development and networked with like-minded peers from around the world. Now they're sharing that experience with the UB community.
The UB Sustainable Business Association, a student club co-founded by Cam Hotto and Max Schynoll, aims to educate members of the UB community about the importance and viability of sustainability in the business world. SBA hosts speakers from UB, nonprofits and major companies, and collaborates with other campus organizations to reach more students.
During a summer job at a bakery, Matt Taboni, BS '21, JD/MBA '25, saw firsthand how much food tends to be wasted. Now, he leads a grassroots effort to improve food accessibility at UB and in city neighborhoods.
Taboni helped to found and run UB’s food pantry, Blue Table, as an undergraduate. As a graduate student, he has continued his advocacy by opening a UB chapter of the Food Recovery Network to fight food insecurity by recovering perishable meals that would otherwise go to waste. He has been recognized for his efforts with the Student Leadership Award for Sustainable Action from UB Sustainability.
As part of the school’s growing array of global programs, students can experience sustainable business practices in action in Costa Rica. Past trips have taken students inside Coopedota, where they discussed social innovation and sustainability with the leaders of the world’s first carbon-neutral coffee cooperative.
During the Social Impact Fellows program, students from business, social work and other disciplines work together to address social issues at local organizations. One team, for example, explored ethical and sustainable fashion and fair labor practices, while helping the nonprofit Stitch Buffalo improve its business processes.
Through their coursework, students look at sustainability from multiple perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of its impact on business strategy and operations.
In this MBA course, students get a hands-on look at why sustainability makes smart business sense. Working in teams, students develop an idea or company to advance one of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, and create a concept paper, short video pitch and a longer live pitch to sell their idea to a panel of judges.
Gain the technical and managerial skills needed to solve the world's most pressing transportation and logistics questions. In collaboration with the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, we offer a Master of Science in Sustainable Transportation and Logistics that gives graduates the tools and knowledge to excel in a competitive global marketplace. Emphasizing environmentally friendly and socially responsible technologies and practices, the program integrates analytical and engineering problem-solving skills with management principles to prepare graduates for a variety of rewarding careers.
To reduce their carbon footprint, organizations must examine their entire operations and supply chain—from how they acquire, warehouse and transport materials, to how they manufacture products, to how customers use and eventually discard those goods. In the “Sustainable Operations” course, students learn how firms can ensure both profitability and social responsibility, including such concepts as life cycle assessment, carbon footprinting, recycling and remanufacturing, energy efficiency, and eco-certifications.
The School of Management works collaboratively within the UB and Western New York communities, and with organizations around the world, to help develop sustainable solutions to today’s many challenges.
Our partners include:
To spark conversation and inspire change, we bring thought leaders from around the country to campus to discuss the business of climate change.