Center for Environmental Studies was established as a response to environmental issues in Indonesia to which academia were committed. As early as the 1970s, awareness about sustainable development was increasing, and the Ministry of Environment was created. The academic communities in several Indonesian universities, including Gadjah Mada University, started to develop Centers for Environmental Studies.
The main mission of the Center is to develop environmental science and practices, to enhance the development of manpower necessary to support environmental management and help solve environmental problems and social conflicts with regards to environment. The Center was inaugurated on April 1st, 1979 as Research Center for Environmental Studies. The Rector of Gadjah Mada University through UGM Rectorate Decree No 25/P/SK/HKTL/2001 change the name of the Center to the Center for Environmental Studies. The Center has led or participated in studies and activities directly or indirectly enhance the management of the environment in Indonesia. Due to the growing complexities of environmental issues in the future, the Center is continually improving its strategies and plans to contribute significantly to the sustainability of the earth.