• Institute for Sustainable Investing

The Challenge: Devise a Novel Financial Instrument to Improve the World

Twelve teams of graduate students are named as finalists in the 2019 Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge.

Each year, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Morgan Stanley's Institute for Sustainable Investing invite graduate students from around the world to submit ideas for innovative financing and investment vehicles that address critical environmental, social and governance issues.

Now in its ninth year, the Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge invites teams of graduate students to propose a creative financial solution that addresses one or more of these issues, while aiming to provide competitive market returns to private-sector investors.

This year, 109 teams from around the world submitted proposals that seek to improve everything from plastics recycling in Vietnam to economic inclusion for transgender people in India. Twelve finalist teams have been chosen to present their ideas at Morgan Stanley’s Hong Kong offices on April 12th, and the winning team will receive $10,000.

This year’s competition drew more interest than ever: A total of 365 students from 80 graduate schools submitted investment prospectuses targeting sustainability and impact challenges in 31 countries. The growth in overall proposals submitted and the breadth of the problems they aim to address underscores that a new generation of investment leaders view finance as a critical tool for solving global challenges.

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The Finalists

First round judges weighed each proposal on its merits
and selected these 12 finalist teams:

CSRi: A Fixed-Income Pay-for-Impact Fund

Proposal: Pay-for-impact fixed income fund designed to help corporations enhance measurable impact of corporate sustainability.
School: New York University, Stern School of Business; New York University, Wagner School of Public Service

DoubleUp ADU-Backed Securities

Proposal: Collateralized debt obligation that aims to unlock liquidity for the construction of accessory dwelling units(ADUs), increasing availability of affordable housing in tight real estate markets.
School: University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business; University of California Berkeley, College of Environmental Design; Columbia University, Columbia Business School

Fund for the Rehabilitation of Australian Mines and Environment (FRAME)

Proposal: Up-front financing of mine sites to decrease risk of process and economic disruption, and ensure environmental remediation.
School: University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

Grey to Green Fund (G2G)

Proposal: Multi-asset fund seeking to reduce water consumption by acting as a market aggregator for hotel greywater infrastructure.
School: Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies; Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs; Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences

Humana Support Bank

Proposal: Micro-credit to support the integration of Venezuelan refugees into the Colombian economy through job growth.
School: ESADE Business School

Indian Smart Solar Muni+ Fund

Proposal: Levered private equity fund designed to improve air quality and increase renewable energy use by bundling municipal debt earmarked for solar projects.
School: Tufts University, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Omega: Combat Climate Change with Bayannur

Proposal: Tax equity and convertible debt to support improved air quality through investments in biofuel plants.
School: Peking University, HSBC Business School

Sort it Out Recycling Fund

Proposal: Revolving loan fund providing supply chain financing to grow China’s circular economy.
School: Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Yale University, School of Management

Sustainable Livelihoods Opportunity Fund

Proposal: Galvanizing opportunity zone investments to bring sustainable forest products manufacturing to rural communities.
School: University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

The Carbon Yield Fund

Proposal: Debt financing to provide farmers advance access to capital generated through carbon credits and bridge access to organic marketplace returns.
School: Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management

The Krishak Development Fund

Proposal: Infrastructure fund directing investments to reservoir projects to increase crop yields and improve rural farmer’s income.
School: Singapore Management University

Utility Wildfire Resilience Bonds

Proposal: Outcome-based securities for microgrid development in wildfire-prone areas to limit impact of power outages and enable de-energization.
School: University of California Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management; University of California Los Angeles, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

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