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The Sustainability Initiative is the mechanism through which the MDIIM formally integrates elements of sustainability into the Desautels Faculty's teaching, research, and research activities.

In 2012, the MDIIM co-founded the Interdisciplinary Network for Green Chemistry (IN4GC), which links scholars who share an interest in studying the broader business, economic, social, and political implications of green chemistry. The network's mission is to provide a forum for ongoing dialogue between social scientists and chemists who seek to catalyze, through innovative research and education, the implementation of green chemistry principles throughout the global chemical enterprise.

In addition, the MDIIM through its Sustainability Initiative has organized and/or supported a number of outreach activities (see Outreach).