Brownfield Remediation Proposal Wins First Place in Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge

Brownfield Remediation Proposal Wins First Place in Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge

Graduate school student teams from around the world propose innovative investment vehicles to tackle social and environmental challenges

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Fresh Coast Capital -- Kellogg School of Management: Nathen Holub, Nicole Chavas, Laura Kimes, April Mendez (l. to r.)

Monday, April 7, 2014 - 12:30pm

CONTENT: Press Release

NEW YORK, April 7, 2014 /3BL Media/ – A proposal to create an investment vehicle to remediate brownfields using poplar trees has taken first place in the 2014 Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge.  A team of students from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University presented the investment strategy behind the proposed Fresh Coast Forest Fund last week at Morgan Stanley’s New York City headquarters.  The team proposed leasing contaminated land from municipalities to plant poplar tree farms that have remediation properties and can be harvested for use as biomass or wood product.

The Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge is the preeminent global competition for students to develop investment vehicles aiming to deliver positive social and environmental impact and competitive financial returns.  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 even greater emphasis on sustainability at graduate schools around the world.

At last week’s final event, ten finalist teams from ten graduate school programs 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.

“We congratulate all the students on their dedication to creating innovative ideas that apply core financial and investment principles to address some of the most pressing issues of our time,” said Audrey Choi, CEO of the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing.  “The Sustainable Investing Challenge will continue to cultivate emerging innovators and finance professionals as they take a holistic approach to advance investing and sustainability.”

The winning team consisted of Nicole Chavas, Nathen Holub, Laura Kimes and April Mendez. 

The team from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley – Zach Knight and Chad Reed – won second place for their proposal, myCatch, of 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,” said 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.”

Said Christine Driscoll Goulay, Associate Director of the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, “INSEAD is very proud to be part of this competition.  It is apparent from the impressive work of the students competing today that some of the best and brightest minds are looking to sustainable investment as a means of helping to solve global problems.  It is also inspiring to see support from sponsors, mentors, and judges, all of whom contribute to making this competition a success.  With so many people working together to develop this space, it is clear that the future of sustainable investment is bright.”

To learn more about the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge and this year’s winner and finalists:

  • Visit the Challenge’s site

About the Kellogg School of Management
The Kellogg School of Management is one of the world’s top business schools.  Located in Evanston, IL, near Chicago, Kellogg was founded in 1908 and has earned a global reputation as a leading management institution, particularly in the marketing discipline.  Kellogg is known for its collaborative, team-oriented student culture.  For more information about the Kellogg School, visit

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 organizations. A global perspective and cultural diversity are reflected in all aspects of the school’s research and teaching.

With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and Abu Dhabi, INSEAD’s business education and research spans three continents. 145 renowned Faculty members from 35 countries inspire more than 1,000 degree participants annually in the MBA, Executive MBA, Specialized Master’s degrees (Master in FinanceExecutive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 9,000 executives participate in INSEAD’s Executive Education programs each year.

In addition to INSEAD’s programs on 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, and Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington, DC.  In Asia, INSEAD partners with Tsinghua University in Beijing and CEIBS (China Europe International Business School).  INSEAD is a founding partner 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 opening of the Fontainebleau campus in Europe in 1960.  In 2000, INSEAD opened an 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 programs to provide business leaders with the knowledge and sensitivity to operate anywhere.  These core values have enabled INSEAD to become truly “The Business School for the World.”  For more information about INSEAD, visit


About the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing 
As a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services, Morgan Stanley is committed to mobilizing the power of the capital markets to achieve sustainability – for clients, communities and stakeholders.  Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing, launched in November 2013, aims to mobilize capital to address pressing global challenges.  The Institute centers its work on the belief that private sector capital can play a key role in driving large-scale solutions to the most critical challenges to widespread prosperity and well-being.  For more information about the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, visit


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