Inditex, MIT

Apple, Boeing, IBM, Inditex, PepsiCo and more have joined the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium that launched on Thursday.

The 13 member companies, referred to as the “heart of global industry” in the press statement, are tasked with scaling innovations that address the threat of climate change with urgency, with not just technological, but social solutions.

“By sharing solutions across companies and sectors, the consortium has the potential to vastly accelerate the implementation of large-scale, real-world solutions to help meet the global climate emergency,” MIT president L. Rafael Reif said in a statement. “And as an institute-wide effort, it will also complement MIT’s existing climate initiatives and make them more effective: Just as the Climate Grand Challenges effort is accelerating research on climate science and solutions, the consortium aims to accelerate the adoption of such solutions, at scale and across industries.”

Spearheaded by the MIT School of Engineering, the MCSC unites “similarly motivated, highly creative and influential companies to work with MIT to build a process, market, and ambitious implementation strategy for environmental innovation.”

Jeffrey Grossman will serve as director of the MCSC. Grossman is the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems, head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and a MacVicar Faculty Fellow. Elsa Olivetti, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Associate Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, will serve as associate director.

The MCSC will also comprise of a faculty-led steering committee spanning all five of MIT’s schools (science, engineering, architecture and planning, management and humanities, arts and social sciences) with the Schwarzman College of Computing also playing a guiding role.

Zara parent company Inditex has a lot at stake when it comes to climate change. As an inaugural member and one of the upmost “superwinners” in fashion by economic profit, Inditex sat at the top slot in McKinsey & Co.’s Global Fashion Index in 2017 — driving more than $4 billion in “value creation.”

Inditex executive chairman, Pablo Isla, commented that Inditex’s communities must “develop strong cross-sector links and collaborations among companies, academics and scientists in order to achieve a bold change toward a circular economy. I cannot find a better platform than the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium in this sense, as they meet the ideal conditions to find global solutions that make a difference.”

By working together the consortium hopes to drive down costs, lower barriers to adoption of best available technology and processes, speed up decarbonization efforts in equipment and rapidly “translate best practices from one industry to the next.”

“This new collaboration represents the incredible potential for academia and industry to work together on a shared mission to shape research, identify opportunities for innovation, and rapidly advance practical solutions with the sense of urgency needed to address our climate challenge. There are no bounds to what we can achieve together,” added Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of the School of Engineering and chair of the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium.

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