An investment vehicle that aims to alleviate drought and reduce forest fire risk while seeking market-rate returns for investors has won first prize in the 2015 Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge. Blue Forest, a team of students from the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley, presented the investment strategy last week at Morgan Stanley’s London headquarters. The Blue Forest Conservation Notes proposal outlines a proactive and strategic forest thinning program that works to monetize the value forest management brings to numerous stakeholders, including public utilities and government agencies.
As a collaboration among the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, INSEAD Business School and the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge seeks to identify the next generation of sustainable investing practitioners, connect emerging leaders with industry professionals, and foster greater emphasis on sustainability at graduate schools around the world.
The Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge is the preeminent global competition for students to develop institutional investment vehicles aiming to deliver positive social and environmental impact alongside competitive financial returns. At last week’s final event, ten finalist teams from nine graduate school programs proposed investment vehicles addressing topics including renewable energy, desertification and agriculture. In February, 380 students from 78 schools in 20 different countries submitted proposals for the competition.
“We commend all the students for creating sustainable investing concepts that combine ambitious visions for impact with a focus on financial rigor,” said Audrey Choi, CEO of the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing. “The Sustainable Investing Challenge is a call to the next generation of finance professionals to match their business acumen and investment creativity with their passion for producing a positive impact, and this year’s participants answered the call with great success.”
The winning team consisted of Zach Knight, Leigh Madeira, Chad Reed and Nick Wobbrock.
The team from the National University of Singapore Business School – Gustavo Bernal, Leslie Chua, Animesh Pant and Oscar Posada – was selected as runner-up for their CampoColombia Fund that proposes a real estate investment fund supporting the development of sustainable agricultural business opportunities for displaced Colombian farmers.
“This competition channels the growing desire in graduate students, globally, to use the tools of capital and capitalism to shape our environment and society for the better,” said Dave Chen, Adjunct Faculty of Finance at Kellogg School of Management and CEO of Equilibrium Capital Group. “We want to congratulate the ten finalists, our winners, and each of the over 120 teams that entered the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge, who challenged themselves to create investment strategies that can deliver profits, scale and intentional positive impact.”
Hans Wahl, Senior Director of the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, said, “INSEAD is very proud to be an academic partner for the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge. We have seen an increased interest in sustainable investing from our students, alumni and other stakeholders every year. This competition is a powerful mechanism for harnessing that interest and channeling it into creating viable solutions for some of today's pressing societal and environmental problems. It is apparent from the impressive work of the students competing today that some of the best and brightest minds are applying themselves in this growing field. INSEAD looks forward to continuing to support these efforts.”
To learn more about the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge and this year’s winner and finalists:
The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University develops brave leaders who inspire growth in people, organizations and markets. Based just outside of Chicago, the school is a global leader in management education, renowned for its distinctive thought leadership and pioneering approach to learning. Kellogg offers an innovative portfolio of programs: four Full-Time MBA programs including leading one-year program and joint degree programs with the engineering, law and medical schools; a Part-Time MBA Program; the premier Executive MBA global network; and extensive non-degree Executive Education programs.
About INSEAD, The Business School for the World
As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to change lives and to transform organisations. A global perspective and cultural diversity are reflected in all aspects of our research and teaching.
With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and Abu Dhabi, INSEAD’s business education and research spans three continents. Our 150 renowned Faculty members from 34 countries inspire more than 1,300 degree participants annually in our MBA, Executive MBA, specialised master’s degrees (Master in Finance, Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 11,000 executives participate in INSEAD’s executive education programmes each year.
In addition to INSEAD’s programmes on our three campuses, INSEAD participates in academic partnerships with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia & San Francisco); the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago; the Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington DC; the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York; and MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Asia, INSEAD partners with Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai. INSEAD is a founding member in the multidisciplinary Sorbonne University created in 2012, and also partners with Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil.
INSEAD became a pioneer of international business education with the graduation of the first MBA class on the Fontainebleau campus in Europe in 1960. In 2000, INSEAD opened its Asia campus in Singapore. And in 2007 the school began an association in the Middle East, officially opening the Abu Dhabi campus in 2010
Around the world and over the decades, INSEAD continues to conduct cutting edge research and to innovate across all our programmes to provide business leaders with the knowledge and sensitivity to operate anywhere. These core values have enabled us to become truly “The Business School for the World.”
More information about INSEAD can be found at www.insead.edu
About the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing
The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing maximizes capital to build a more sustainable future – seeking both competitive financial returns and positive social and environmental impact. The Institute is dedicated to accelerating mainstream adoption of sustainable investing by developing industry-leading insights and scalable finance solutions to address global challenges. For more information about the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, visit www.morganstanley.com/sustainableinvesting