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Center for Environmental InnovationCenter for Environmental Innovation


Our mission is to promote innovative environmental, health and safety (EH&S) programs.  The Center for Environmental Innovation (CEI) supports the development of EH&S management practices that are responsive to a broad range of stakeholders.  CEI is an alliance of university faculty members that focuses on EH&S issues or opportunities requiring a multidisciplinary approach where trust among multiple stakeholders is a key component.  We believe that contentious EH&S issues can best be managed credibly for all stakeholders through collaborative university research. 

collegeWe accomplish this mission by:

  • Assisting universities around the world in conducting innovative, multidisciplinary EH&S research, policy analysis, and educational programs;

  • Facilitating application of innovative approaches to protect the environment and to promote stewardship and sustainable economic practices;

  • Encouraging research into the development of business practice standards that promote environmentally responsible conduct; and

  • Supporting a dialogue and information exchange among the various stakeholders in EH&S business approaches, practices and standards.

Core Values and Beliefs

Trust among different groups of stakeholders is a necessary condition for progress on EH&S issues.  We believe that universities provide the most efficient and effective mechanism for resolution of EH&S issues.  Because they are perceived as trustworthy, academic institutions can provide leadership on cutting-edge EH&S issues, especially where stakeholder positions are controversial and contentious.  To accomplish our mission we must maintain an open, independent relationship with all parties and operate at the highest level of ethical standards.  To minimize even the appearance of individual biases, we believe that collaboration among several institutions is necessary.  To ensure credibility and validity, the research process must occur through peer review and be balanced with facilitated stakeholder input.


The idea for the Center for Environmental Innovation grew out of discussions in 1996 at Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies with Dean Jared Cohon (currently the President of Carnegie Mellon University) and Professor Gordon Geballe. The discussion focused on the need for third party attestation standards for corporate environmental reports to stakeholders. We agree that this is an area where collaborative university research could fill the void and provide credible standards. This project represents but the first of many that CEI is uniquely positioned to support. 

The Board of Directors of CEI consists of eight university faculty members in addition to the Executive Director and Corporate Counsel. There is no permanent staff, and the Board is supported by the Executive Director, Richard MacLean; Legal Counsel, Robert Feller, and contract administrative support, as needed. In addition to the Board members, there already exists a growing network of faculty contacts at universities across the country and around the world. This teachingnetwork serves as a base from which to draw collaborative teams interested in performing research in specific areas. CEI's role is to help form these teams and support project funding.  The majority of the funds we receive go directly university graduate students working on projects that support CEI’s mission compliment their own academic studies.

CEI was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1997 under the Not-for-Profit Law of the State of New York, Section 102 (a) (5) and has tax exempt status under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue code. Initial funding has been received by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Geneva, Switzerland, BHP Billiton, Melbourne, Australia, Anheuser Busch Companies, St. Louis, MO, and Bristol Myers Squibb, New York, NY. In-kind support has been received from Bank of America and Arizona State University.


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This page last updated 7/20/2018