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Resilient Waters Fund Wins the 2024 Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge

  • Sustainable Investing Challenge brings together future leaders addressing critical sustainability issues through innovative financial solutions
  • University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business awarded top prize for proposal to save Utah’s Great Salt Lake
  • Second- and third-place prizes awarded to students from the University of Navarra’s IESE Business School and Columbia Business School

The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing and Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University today announced that the Resilient Waters Fund team was named the winner of the 14th annual Kellogg-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge. The global competition inspires graduate students to address critical social and environmental issues through innovative financial vehicles. The winning team was one of 12 finalists selected from a competitive field, which included 84 teams comprised of 290 students from 44 countries.

The graduate students from the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business were awarded the top prize of $10,000 for their proposal to help protect the Great Salt Lake, a keystone ecosystem and economic engine at significant risk of drying up in the next five years. The Resilient Waters Fund would catalyze federal, state and investment funds through a creative land trust mechanism to spur irrigation efficiency, responsible cropping and water savings. The winning team consisted of Cody Clifford, Hunter Conrad, Michael Hall and Alex Parlogean.

“Through the Sustainable Investing Challenge, students develop financial solutions to real-world issues, providing them with invaluable experience and insights into sustainable finance,” says Jessica Alsford, Morgan Stanley’s Chief Sustainability Officer and CEO of the Institute for Sustainable Investing. “As the demand for sustainability talent grows across industries, we’re excited to help cultivate a pipeline of emerging leaders committed to driving the transition to a more sustainable future.”

The finalists pitched a wide variety of ideas, addressing social and environmental issues including decentralized microgrid development in the US, wealth transfer in Mexico's manufacturing sector, the sustainability transition of Indonesia’s shrimp industry and grazing land restoration in Kenya.

The second- and third-place prizes of $5,000 and $2,500 were awarded to the Caatinga Bank team from the University of Navarra’s IESE Business School and the Renewable Back Security team from Columbia Business School, respectively.

The Caatinga Bank proposal aims to provide farmers in the Caatinga region of Brazil with working capital loans in the form of seeds, resources, technical knowledge and cash. The team consisted of Gabriela Ferreira Galera, Luana Gomes Nogueira, Carolina Pascotto and Danielle van Drunen. The Renewable Back Security team, including Ignacio Aguirre, Nadim Dabbous, Dion Koreman and Diego Rehder, developed a solution to reduce the cost of capital necessary for emerging and developing economies (EMDEs) to scale up renewable energy adoption in southern and central Africa and the US.

“Every year, these teams of graduate students demonstrate incredible creativity and drive with their solutions to global problems,” says Dave Chen, Professor of Finance at Kellogg Management School, CEO of Equilibrium Capital and the founder of the Sustainable Investing Challenge. “This year’s winner and runners-up are no different, and we are excited to support them in helping make their ideas a reality.”

The three prize-winning teams were selected by a panel of sustainable finance experts and senior practitioners across the industry to advance to the final round, pitching to judges at Morgan Stanley in New York on Friday, April 19. More information on this year’s teams and their projects can be found here.

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in 42 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

About The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing

The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing (The Institute) builds scalable finance solutions that seek to deliver competitive financial returns while driving positive environmental and social impact. The Institute creates innovative financial products, thoughtful insights and capacity building programs that help maximize capital to create a more sustainable future. For more information about the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, visit

About Kellogg School of Management

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. To learn more about Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, please visit


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