Kellogg School Takes 1st Place in Sustainable Investing Challenge

A team of students from the Kellogg School of Management has taken first place in the 2014 Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge with their proposed investment vehicle that would remediate contaminated land in the U.S. through reforestation.

This preeminent global competition is geared for students to develop investment vehicles aiming at delivering positive social and environmental impact and competitive financial returns.

Last week at Morgan Stanley’s New York City headquarters, Kellogg’s Nicole Chavas, Nathen Holub, Laura Kimes and April Mendez presented their winning idea for the Fresh Coast Forest Fund, which would lease 25,000 acres of contaminated municipal land to plant poplar tree farms on contaminated urban and industrial sites. Poplars naturally clean and restore soil by absorbing toxins, and could be harvested for use as biomass or wood product.

As a collaboration among the Kellogg School of Management, INSEAD, and the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, the competition seeks to identify the next generation of sustainable investing practitioners, connect emerging leaders with industry professionals, and foster even greater emphasis on sustainability at graduate schools around the world.

At last week’s event, ten finalist teams proposed investment vehicles addressing issues including agriculture, solar energy and sanitation. In February, more than 220 students from 39 schools in 10 different countries submitted prospectuses for the competition.

A team from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business won second place for their proposal, myCatch, a lending vehicle that would provide loans to organizations on behalf of small-scale sustainable fisheries.

“It is exciting to see today’s students—tomorrow’s financial professionals—pushing the frontiers of financial innovation to achieve positive social or environmental impact,” says Jamie Jones, Director of Social Entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School of Management. “The young leaders who participated in the competition will be a driving force for the conversation about sustainable investing at their academic institutions.”

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