With natural disasters and inclusive growth issues increasingly affecting the world, the need for solutions to environmental and social issues has never been greater.
Every year, the Kellogg School of Management and Morgan Stanley partner to host the Sustainable Investing Challenge. The competition calls on hundreds of graduate students from around the world to propose financial innovations that tackle environmental or social problems, while also offering investors the potential for competitive market-rate financial returns.
Ideas as diverse as the education of low-income children in India, to de-mining Angolan farmland have won in past years, and with so much global focus now on fostering inclusive growth and mitigating climate change, the Challenge attracts increasing numbers of student participants as well as private sector attendees.
“In the first few years of this competition, the attendees of the judging panel were foundations and impact investors,” says David Chen, Adjunct Professor of Finance at Kellogg and Chairman of Equilibrium Capital. “But in the last couple of years, it’s shifted significantly. We now have hedge funds and large global financial services companies attending.”
The 2017 Challenge in April attracted 198 students from 37 schools targeting sustainability issues across 22 countries. They create teams of four, and 10 teams meet at a final event to present their proposals to a panel of judges.
Next year's Challenge is gearing up for an even broader group of students interested in a sustainable investing field that's growing at a rapid pace.
“Millennials are taking notice and action on how to address our social and environmental issues through financial vehicles and are a key growth driver for sustainable investing,” says Audrey Choi, CEO of Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing. “Drawing on finance to help solve some of the world’s most pressing issues is the future of finance. And the students who take part in the Challenge already know that.”
Proposals from student teams are due on February 20th, 2018. Learn more about other key dates and how to apply for the 2018 Sustainable Investing Challenge.