University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Northstar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise

The nature of human activities has challenged the limits of ecological systems and their ability to sustain current patterns of use. With the private sector producing more than 60% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and the largest corporations generating over US$2.15 trillion in annual ‘externalities’ to society (in the form of resource depletion, emissions and land-use change), new and significantly more sustainable corporate models of global production and consumption are necessary. Academic research, and its ability to identify and characterize socio-technical capacity for change, can ill afford to stand detached from economic and civil society grappling with implementing change of this scale.

The NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise (NiSE) works with scholars and practitioners to: (1) improve interdisciplinary understanding of sustainability within global production and consumption systems, and (2) develop “user-inspired” research and decision tools to effectively act on these systems.

Through ongoing dialogue, collectively built systems awareness and development of ‘dual-competency’ scholars, we have found that it becomes possible to achieve the twofold objectives of rigorous scientific output and relevant, accessible information for decision-making.

NiSE Team


Our team combines individual expertise in engineering, management, economics and natural resource sciences to address the complex interactions of people, organizations, inter- organizational networks and the environment. Learn more


NiSE is issue agnostic in its approach. We apply systems methodologies, such as life cycle assessment, systems dynamics modeling and economics and statistical approaches to enterprise- level sustainability challenges. Learn more


Since 2009, NiSE has helped convene more than 15 issue-specific meetings and workshops, attracting more than 1000 participants from corporations, non-profits, government and academia – while continuing to make important academic contributions. Learn more

NiSE is a program of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment.

Welcome to the NiSE website! Check here for regular updates on events, meetings and information pertaining to our current work.

Visit the contact page to send an inquiry online.
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