Carlson School Gets $250K to Study Green Behavior

The school received a $250,000 grant from Wells Fargo & Company that will sponsor the research of study consumer behavior associated with the adoption of "green" technologies.

The University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management received a $250,000 grant from Wells Fargo & Company that will help the school launch a sustainability research program.

Under the sustainability initiative program, the school will aim to sponsor and conduct research on consumer behavior associated with the purchase, use, and disposal of environmentally beneficial products and processes. The school hopes the research will teach businesses and government agencies how to encourage consumer behavior that's good for the environment.

“Nearly 98 percent of all funding for sustainability initiatives goes toward developing new technologies,” Akshay Rao, a marketing professor at Carlson and head of the sustainability initiative, said in a statement. “To make sure there is a viable market for new 'green' technologies, we must understand underlying consumer beliefs and behaviors associated with the adoption and use of those technologies.”

Carlson said that the research will be funded and overseen by “business executives, community leaders, and academics.”

While Wells Fargo is the first corporate sponsor of the program, Rao told Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) that many other corporations are already interested in the idea. He hopes to raise as much as $10 million in the next year, according to the MPR report.

Jim Henney, senior vice president of enterprise customer insights and analysis at Wells Fargo, said in a statement that the Sustainability Initiative will help drive consumer understanding and demand for energy efficiency and other “green” efforts.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo employs about 20,000 people in Minnesota, making it one of the state's largest employers.