De-mining Angolan land and turning it into farming property is the winning proposal from three students at the USC Marshall School of Business.
Moving the needle on humanitarian problems in ways that philanthropy cannot was the inspiration behind the proposal by Terra Limpa, the three-member winning team of this year’s Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge.
The students from USC Marshall School of Business, beat stiff competition from nine other finalists presenting at Morgan Stanley’s Hong Kong office on Friday, April 15th, by proposing a for-profit method of de-mining agricultural land in Angola.
“When people think about the problems of land mines and the remnants of war, they think about it as purely in the realm of needing a humanitarian solution that’s NGO or development aid work,” says Ryan Alam, who with Suzana Amoes and Megan Strawther has spent the past four months working on their proposal. “The great thing about this win for us as a team is that it not only shines a light on Angola, but also the fact that you can explore solutions that are beyond development aid and grant dollars.”
The Challenge, presented by Morgan Stanley and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, invites graduate student proposals to address critical social and environmental challenges. The team was one of 10 finalists who pitched their investment vehicles and made their business case for a sustainability goal.
“It was incredibly difficult to choose the winning team this year,” said Audrey Choi, CEO of Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing. “The caliber of finalists was among the best in the three years that the Institute has been partnering with Kellogg on this. We look forward to seeing a number of breakthrough projects coming to fruition in coming years, as a direct result of the Challenge.”
The demand for sustainable investing has grown to the point where appetite for investment opportunities vastly outstrips the supply of investment-ready projects.
"This year's winner, Terra Limpa and their smallholder agriculture project, illustrates a belief we hold very dear at Kellogg—the idea that business can and will lead the way in improving sustainability and human outcomes,” said Megan Kashner, Clinical Assistant Professor & Director of Social Impact, at Kellogg. “Kellogg founded this challenge in 2011 ahead of this upsurge in demand, and we are pleased to continue to lead the way towards innovation and expansion in this area.”
The Challenge recognizes that sustainable investing requires a pipeline of innovative thinkers, and seeks to identify and nurture the next generation of business leaders. This year, more than 100 proposals were submitted to the Challenge, with impact innovations as diverse as refugee support, insect farming and flood mitigation. A total of 341 students made up 104 teams from 64 schools in 21 countries.