Sustainability Lab @ Marquette Business

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The Marquette University Sustainability Lab is a cross-disciplinary project that aims to research and disseminate knowledge, foster and develop managers around effective sustainability and stewardship practices increasingly demanded across industries globally. Our lab aligns with the university’s commitment to the Laudato Si’ papal encyclical and furthers our Catholic, Jesuit mission to care for our common home. Through instructional opportunities that span business, the STEM fields, the humanities and more, the Sustainability Lab provides students with the knowledge they need to Be the Difference.

Marquette has long been recognized as a leader in sustainability. The university hosts the “Sustainability 2.0” Conference every fall, bringing together business leaders and executives from investment firms, public and private companies and NGOs for the largest regional conference on the issue. Our ESG (environmental, social and governance) courses are, likewise, unique among Midwest universities, designed with the future of corporate behavior in mind. Finally, the university itself is a recipient of the Princeton Review’s “Green College” designation and is recognized as one of the country’s most sustainable campuses.

From market-driven demand for responsible business practices to a more stringent regulatory climate, ongoing trends point to sustainability being more important than ever before. Our offerings prepare undergraduates, graduate students and executive education students alike for that new reality. Marquette’s Sustainability Lab is more than just a change agent; it’s also a sound investment in our collective future.

On the one hand, if a business is unable to generate a profit for shareholders, that business will not be in business for long, and all other issues are secondary; and on the other, a business will not be able to function if it does not maintain its social license to operate, implicit or otherwise, in its handling and treatment of other stakeholders. Neither condition can exist without the other. On this latter point, virtue signaling is not sufficient, and can even become self-defeating over time. Understanding the difference is one of the keys to successful investing and business management: discerning real value creation. 
- Christopher K. Merker, Ph.D., CFA, Co-Director, S-Lab

Instructors involved with the lab | Advisory Board

Christopher K. Merker, PhD, CFA, is co-director of the S-Lab at Marquette University and director of Private Asset Management at Baird. Chris publishes the blog, Sustainable Finance, and is co-author of the book, The Trustee Governance Guide: The Five Imperatives of 21st Century Investing. Chris serves on the ESG Advisory Panel for CFA Institute and is a past member of the ESG Working Group. Chris received his Ph.D. from Marquette University and MBA from Thunderbird, School of Global Management. 

Daniel Romito is a co-director of the S-Lab at Marquette University and director of ESG Strategy & Integration at Pickering Energy Partners. Prior to that, Daniel spent eight years working for Nasdaq, where he focused on investor analytics and ESG implementation. During his tenure at Nasdaq, he developed several key technology solutions and services under Nasdaq’s Corporate Platform’s repertoire, including their investor behavioral analytics platform, the ESG Advisory Service, the Insight360 Analytics module, the Activist Diagnostic, Capital Deployment Scenario Analysis, and the Small Cap Investor Targeting Service.

Noelle Brigham, P.E., Instructor of Practice, OPUS College of Engineering Noelle is a licensed Professional Engineer with over 20 years of experience in sustainability and environmental engineering in the consumer products and consulting industries. In her sustainability role, Noelle developed global strategies and led international implementation plans for research & development and engineering for consumer product formulation and packaging. She also led sustainability and environmental programs for North America consumer product manufacturing locations including air quality, waste management, soil and groundwater remediation, ISO 14001, and energy reduction. As a consultant, Noelle managed environmental programs for a variety of domestic and international industries including oil refining, military, glass manufacturing, chemical, electric power generation, and automotive. She is currently director of sustainability for A.O. Smith.

John Mueller, Instructor of Practice, John is VP of Marketing and a shareholder at Dana Investment Advisors. Dana has been managing ESG strategies for clients since 2000 and John has served as a member Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment (SGI-CRI) a regional investor network of Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). John helped Dana, rebrand and launch Dana Epiphany ESG Funds, a fund lineup for faith-based investors, in 2019.

Art Harrington, Instructor of Practice, Art Harrington practices environmental and energy law at the Wisconsin law firm of Godfrey & Kahn. He also serves as an adjunct professor in the Marquette Law and Engineering Schools where he teaches renewable energy courses. He serves on the WAVE committee, a Wisconsin Department of Transportation committee that provides advice on policies to implement autonomous vehicles on Wisconsin’s roadways. Wisconsin Department of Transportation Wisconsin Automated Vehicle External Advisory Committee ( He also serves on the Board for WiACES, a Wisconsin trade association that promotes education on good policies for EVs, AVs and shared mobility. WI ACES Home - Wisconsin ACES.

Katharine Miller, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Organizational and Corporate Communications Dr. Miller’s research agenda lies at the intersection of organizational communication, strategic communication, and business, and focuses on answering the overarching question of: how can we make organizations more responsible? She addresses this question through rhetorical and qualitative approaches to corporate social responsibility, corporate advocacy, and sustainability.

Matteo Arena, Ph.D., Professor of Finance and Chair. Dr. Arena is the recipient of the 2023 COBA Miles Research Fellow Award. Dr. Arena is one of the leading finance world experts on corporate litigation and his research in corporate finance is widely published in top-tier finance journals such as the Review of Financial Studies and the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, among others. His work has been featured in national media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, the Washington Post and NPR Marketplace. Currently, Dr. Arena is examining sustainability issues in corporate finance related to internal and external governance disciplinary forces. Dr. Arena, who joined Marquette University in 2006, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from the University of Torino in Italy, his MBA from Iowa State University, and his Ph.D. in finance from the University of Missouri. Previously, Dr. Arena worked for as an environmental consultant and as a visiting scientist at the Department of Energy Lab, Iowa State University, where he developed a method to analyze drinking water on the International Space Station, which is still used today by NASA astronauts.

Bin Wang, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Finance. Dr. Wang is the recipient of the 2023 Marquette University Core Curriculum Teaching Excellence Award and the 2021 COBA Miles Research Fellow Award. Several of his research papers focus on sustainability issues in finance, including a highly cited ESG study on toxics release data and institutional investing published on Management Science.  His work has been published in numerous finance journals, including  Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Corporate Finance, Financial Management, Journal of Empirical Finance, and European Financial Management.