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The Global Sustainability Leadership Institute, formerly known as the Social Innovation Initiative, acts as UT Austin’s hub on campus for innovation in social and environmental impact.


    The Institute is managed by the McCombs School of Business and is built in partnership with the Moody College of Communication. Our work focuses on corporate sustainability, sustainable finance, impact innovation and infrastructure, and sustainability communications. Our Mission: The GSLI develops leadership and solutions that address critical sustainability challenges and shape an inclusive, regenerative global economy and society. Our Vision: A world where profits and purpose meet to drive positive change.
Creating Leaders
Our goal is to send leaders out into the world for whom purpose and profit are connected — leaders who will create a regenerative, inclusive world in their own lifetimes.


  • 96% of the world’s largest 250 companies reported on sustainability in 2020

  • Racial inequities have cost the U.S. economy more than $16 trillion over the past two decades.

  • 75% of Millennials seek sustainable products


The Institute positively impacts students and community members through experiential learning, classes, events, career support, and research.

Corporate Sustainability

Sustainable companies consider environmental, social, and governance issues in the company’s long-term strategy and into every sector of the organization. Such efforts work toward a "triple-bottom line," aiming simultaneously for an increase in profit, benefits to the environment, and benefits to the people that interact with companies.

Sustainable Finance

  • Sustainable finance continues to birth new, innovative models for funding impact. Recent innovations include social and green bonds, pay for success models, and more. The GSLI focuses on ESG investing for public markets and impact investing for the private sector and new venture funding.
  • ESG Investing: The systematic and explicit inclusion by investment managers of environmental, social, and governance metrics into the investment screening process.
    • E: Environmental criteria focus on a company’s stewardship of the natural environment and include issues like greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, and natural resource depletion.
    • S: Social criteria focus on all people who interact with a company throughout its value chain, from employees to suppliers to the communities within which the company operates. Examples of social issues include workplace health safety, labor practices, and relations with local communities.
    • G: Governance criteria focus on a company’s leadership, audits and internal controls, and shareholder rights. Examples of governance issues include bribery and corruption, business ethics, and board diversity.
  • Impact Investing: Targeted investments, typically made in private markets, aimed at solving social or environmental problems, and including community investing, where capital is specifically directed to traditionally underserved individuals or communities, as well as financing that is provided to businesses with a clear social or environmental purpose.

Impact Innovation and Infrastructure

Impact entrepreneurship is the practice of starting new ventures and ideas that seek a clear social or environmental purpose, in addition to financial returns. This category can also include innovative new policies and practices that build the infrastructure needed for sustainable ventures and change.

Impact ventures have a revenue-generating model in order to be sustainable, but their work focuses first and foremost on "mission-related impact." These businesses can include nonprofits with income-generation models, hybrid businesses, and for-profit businesses. They can also be legally organized as a benefit corporation to give equal weight to their mission and future shareholders.

Sustainability Communications

Increasingly, companies are required to report on their sustainability performance using emerging standards of rigor and transparency. In addition to required disclosure, sustainable organizations rely on informative, persuasive communication to various stakeholders. The GSLI provides courses on sustainability accounting and disclosure and, through its partnership with The Moody College of Communication, offers education in sustainability journalism, television, immersive media, and more.


Businesses must be part of the solution to global risks, such as climate change and inequality. Through regenerative, sustainable practices, the business world can help shape a more just and secure future. Here is how we think about these issues:


Introductory Video 


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