Faculty Fellow, Harvard Environmental Economics Program
Faculty Affiliate, Harvard University Center for the Environment
Faculty Affiliate, Kennedy School of Government Center for Business and Government Regulatory Policy Program
Mike Toffel's research focuses on operational discipline by examining companies' environmental, occupational safety, and quality programs and performance. His work seeks to identify which types of programs distinguish participating companies as having superior environmental, safety, or quality management or performance, and which of these programs help companies improve their performance in these domains. His work ranges from academic articles based on econometric analyses of large datasets to case studies of individual companies. His work on quality management systems and environmental management systems has been profiled by LRQA Business Assurance, Quality Progress, and the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board. His research on occupational health and safety has been profiled by the head of U.S. OSHA and featured in the national press including US News & World Report, BusinessWeek, and Scientific American. His work on industry self-regulation has been profiled in HBS Working Knowledge.
Professor Toffel's research also examines information disclosure, and seeks to understand why some companies are more transparent than others. He is a co-founder of MapEcos, a mapping website that provided government pollution data about thousands of facilities across the US, and provides these facilities the opportunity to disclose information about their environmental management activities. MapEcos has been profiled in The Economist, CNN, the World Bank, and HBS Working Knowledge.
His scholarly work has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly (ASQ), Management Science, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal (SMJ), Journal of Law, Economics and Organization (JLEO), , and Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T). Toffel has also published managerial articles in Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, and The Atlantic Monthly.
Prof. Toffel serves on the Editorial Boards of the Strategic Management Journal (SMJ) and Organization Science. He is involved in several initiatives to foster high-quality research on corporate environmental sustainability. At Harvard, he is engaged in the HBS Business and Environment initiative and is a faculty affiliate of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and the Regulatory Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government's Center for Business and Government. He also serves as a founding board member and is on the board of theAlliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability (ARCS) that spans several leading universities, has served as a faculty mentor for Academy of Management's Operations Management doctoral student research symposium, and helped establish the Harvard-MIT Private Governance Working Group.
His co-authors include Julia Adler-Milstein, Ronnie Chatterji, Magali Delmas, Anil Doshi, Glen Dowell, Kira Fabrizio, Chonnikarn (Fern) Jira, Matthew Johnson, Andrew King, David Levine, Mike Lenox, Julian Marshall, Chris Marquis, Melissa Ouellet, Lamar Pierce, Erin Reid, Tim Simcoe, Sara Singer, Jodi Short, and David Vogel.
He recommends Environmental Leader, Grist, Ethical Corporation, and SustainableBusiness.com to keep up on corporate environmental news.
Toffel has organized several conferences related to his research, includig conferences on corporate sustainability at HBS (2010), the role of information disclosure in corporate transparency and accountability at the National Press Club in Washington DC (2009), business and human rights in operations and supply chains at HBS (2008), and industry self-regulation at Dartmouth (2007) .
Professor Toffel received a Ph.D. from the Haas School of Business' Business and Public Policy department at the University of California at Berkeley, an MBA from the Yale School of Management, a Master’s in Environmental Management (Industrial Environmental Management) from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and a BA in Government from Lehigh University. He has worked as the Director of Environment, Health and Safety at the Jebsen & Jessen (South East Asia) Group of Companies, based in Singapore. He has also worked as an environmental management consultant for Arthur Andersen, Arthur D. Little, and Xerox Corporation. He started his career as an operations management analyst at J.P. Morgan.
Prof. Toffel serves on the Advisory Panel of the Newsweek Green Rankings and on the School Site Council of the Edward Devotion School, a public school in Brookline, MA.