Morgan Stanley’s Sustainable Investing Challenge

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - In recent years the financial sector increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social, environmental and economic problems; the industry is widely perceived to be prospering at the expense of the broader community. So, wouldn’t it be nice if the best business decisions were in parallel with the best ecological decisions? Where private capital needs, actually become a powerful force for sustainability, by harnessing the tools of finance to tackle global challenges?

Well, progress is being made! The Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge has just been announced. It aims to connect the power of wealth and investment with student creativity to create positive impact in a world of constant resource scarcity and continued population growth. Morgan Stanley has partnered with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and INSEAD for this Challenge, which graduate students globally can enter by submitting a proposal to create market-based solutions to world problems.

This “pitch” competition will focus on developing institutional-quality investment vehicles that not only seek positive environmental or social impact, but also competitive financial returns. It is an opportunity to use core finance and investment principles to help solve some of the most difficult issues of our times: water, energy, food, climate change, education and healthcare.  

Teams from business schools and other graduate programs around the world are invited to enter from February 3 with the deadline closing for entries on 25 February 25. Ten finalists will then be chosen and asked to present their proposals to a panel of judges at Morgan Stanley’s New York City headquarters. Morgan Stanley staff will lend their expertise to the Challenge participants by serving as judges and mentors and will advise finalist teams on the development of their ideas.

This Challenge is unique in that it provides an opportunity for students, professionals and investors in the sustainable investment space to work together on concrete, results-oriented ideas that help drive the field forward. It is seeking to cultivate the next generation of sustainable investing practitioners, building the intellectual and professional capacity needed for real progress against the major challenges of our time. It will be inspiring to see the proposals submitted to the Challenge and the steps that are put forward towards sustainable investment. Yet tellingly, will be if the winning proposal is implemented. As this next step always requires courage, because it goes against familiar practice and predictable financial self-interest. 

Photo Credit: The Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge