ESI Principles of Conduct and Engagement: 2021 updates

Each year, the entire ESI team undertakes a review of our Principles of Conduct and Engagement, our public commitments governing both our internal practices as an organization, and our partnerships with individuals, companies, governments, research centers and community groups around the world.

We have now completed our 2021 update to this document, and want to take this opportunity to publicly share some of the more significant changes.

Above all, ESI has stepped up our dedication to advancing environmental justice across our programs. While we have always, since our founding, been deeply concerned with the ways environmental harms fall disproportionately on marginalized communities, our principles did not previously make express commitments to environmental justice that we could be held to. Today, we can share new commitments on both our selection of research and engagement activities, and the participation of community partners in those activities, to better ensure that environmental justice remains a central and permanent element of our mission.

We have also refined the principles governing our choice of external partnerships. When we first published our Principles of Conduct and Engagement, front of mind for our team was articulating clear standards for when we would refuse, or discontinue, a partnership with a corporation or donor. While this remains a critical part of our thinking, our revised principles are now more inclusive of other types of organizations, such as nonprofits and community groups, whose partnership is equally important to the success of our programs.

Finally, we wish to thank MIT for undertaking its own reflection on its gift acceptance policies, allowing us to reference and reinforce new MIT-wide rules and recommendations in this area.

ESI is proud to be on the leading edge of a growing trend at MIT, of publicly committing to high ethical standards of conduct as they relate to the work of individual departments and centers. We would be pleased to hear feedback on our revised principles, or speak to you about our process for creating these principles—reach out to us at

Read our revised Principles of Conduct and Engagement.