Carnegie Mellon University


December 13, 2019

Tepper Hosts Technology, Sustainability, and Business Forum

Led by Tepper professor Nicholas Muller, the new forum invited government, academic, and industry leaders to discuss sustainability.

Sustainability is a growing topic of interest at business schools, and the Tepper School of Business is no exception. The recently launched Tepper Sustainability Research Initiative brings together researchers who are exploring such topics as measurement, energy, ethics, and technology and how they impact future social and environmental outcomes.

Nicholas Muller, Associate Professor of Economics, Engineering, and Public Policy; Lester and Judith Lave Development Chair in Economics, Engineering, and Public Policy, directs the sustainability initiative. On Nov. 20, 2019, Muller hosted the inaugural Technology, Sustainability, and Business Forum at Carnegie Mellon University. “Members of the CMU community tend to see the value in interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving,” he said. “People from very different professional perspectives have to confront issues related to sustainability on a routine basis. This topic is a core component of modern professional life.”

The forum invited government, academic, and industry leaders to the university to discuss topics related to the broad theme of sustainability. “There were many interesting topics and perspectives raised,” Muller said. “I was struck by how much local governments, like Pittsburgh, are already doing to combat and deal with costs from climate change. In addition, it was striking to hear how long it takes and how difficult it is to go from an idea or prototype green product to commercial launch and IPO.”

Conference programming led with a Distinguished Lecture from Mark Mesler (MSIA 2001), Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations for Bloom Energy. Presented in partnership with CMU’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, the lecture posited that “The Future of Energy Is Distributed, Sustainable, and Personalized.”


Mesler also joined a panel in the afternoon which invited audience members as well as panelists to participate in conversation on a wealth of sustainability topics. “The panel, in particular, was assembled to speak from multiple perspectives,” Muller said. “The value for attendees was exposure to these perspectives. The value for participants was conveying their view and interacting with folks who hold alternative views.”

Other speakers included Steve Karolyi, Assistant Professor of Finance and Accounting, who introduced research on “The Effect of Environmental Policy on Municipal Budgets,” and keynote speaker Linda Rega, Manager of Financial Services Energy for Siemens. In addition, attendees had networking opportunities such as a coffee break and evening reception at the Tepper Quad.