ImpactAlpha, Apr. 13 – Sustainable investing assets have boomed amid COVID-19, the climate emergency and a racial reckoning.
Now comes the rush for sustainable investing talent.
The final rounds of two showcases for such talent, the Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge and the Turner MIINT competition, featured dozens of graduate policy, engineering and business students pitching financial vehicles and social ventures targeting mounting impact and sustainability crises.
The students are “impatient for and insistent on change and rapid progress for the benefit of people and the planet,” said Kellogg School of Management’s Megan Kashner.
The BeeBank & Brokerage, which would pool loans and contract assurance to help beekeepers scale operations and conserve biodiversity, brought the first prize at the Sustainable Investing Challenge to Oxford graduate students Noah Law, Dawn Musil, Emilé Radyté and Annabella Wainer.
Stanley’s Matthew Slovik said the proposal from Oxford students was “an excellent example of an innovative financial approach” needed to address today’s global challenges.
Previous projects launched at the Sustainable Investing Challenge, now in its eleventh year, have gone on to raise and deploy capital in the real world. Secha Capital, a 2012 finalist from Duke University, last year reached the first close of a second fund for early-stage enterprises in South Africa. Others include Blue Forest, Greenprint Partners and Carbon Yield Fund.
A team from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management took a special prize for vehicles focused on plastic waste with The European Circular Fund. The team proposed a plastic packaging-focused cap-and-trade system designed to support a loan fund for waste collection, treatment and recycling companies in the European Union.
The winning pitch for the Turner MIINT competition (for MBA Impact Investing Network & Training), now in its tenth year, came from a team of business students from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.
For their successful pitch, Christy Tsui, Emily Dinino, Katie Quilligan, Lucy Maybank and Morgan Owens scored a $50,000 investment for Denver-based InScribe, which uses artificial intelligence to connect students with each other and with experts.
“Your interest in impact investing – using business as a force for good – has never been more important to the global community and never been more rewarding as an investor,” Turner Impact Capital’s Bobby Turner told the competing teams before announcing the winner. Last year, Bobby and Lauren Turner gave $2.5 million to sustain and strengthen the MIINT.
Runners up included teams from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which pitched efficient heating company Harvest Thermal, and Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, which presented renewable chemicals startup Golden Leaf Energy. Each company will receive $25,000.
Student-managed investment funds are tilting toward impact as well. Nearly $70 million, or 10% of assets in 40 student-managed investment funds, have a clear sustainable investing strategy, according to Intentional Endowments Network.
Institutions designed to anticipate tomorrow’s challenges and prepare students to enter the workforce, says IEN’s Nicole Torrico “have a responsibility to respond to the emerging trends of sustainable investing.”