What IF?

Tuesday November 10, 2020

New ideas often begin with this simple question. Then, with ideation and implementation, they become products, solutions and initiatives.

Are you ready to join the CSE in exploring ‘What If…’? The Center for Sustainable Enterprise (CSE) is excited to announce our new initiative, Invest for the Future (IF), which will help businesses and train our future business leaders to drive positive social and environmental impact through profitable investments. Our goal is to design the most comprehensive and cohesive *ESG integration and *Impact Investing program among business schools. ESG integration and Impact Investing are growing quickly. Achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals could lead to at least $12 trillion of opportunities annually (and maybe two to three times more). ESG driven assets hit $40.5 trillion in July 2020 and Impact Investing sits at $715 Billion in AUM. We are excited to begin welcoming alumni and industry leaders to our Invest for the Future Leadership Council, which will help us grow and adapt to what the industry needs from the CSE.

We already have curricular and co-curricular programming at Kenan-Flagler. We provide courses in ESG and Impact Investing, Social Innovation and Financial Inclusion, Sustainable Finance and more. This year will be the 14th Invest for Impact competition, which invites student teams from around the world to assume the role of venture capitalists and evaluate real entrepreneurial ventures. Our students participate in the Turner MBA Impact Investing Training Network (Turner MIINT). This year, thanks to a generous donation, we have 20 MBA students taking part in Turner MIINT. We have four ESG integration and Impact Investment speakers visiting undergraduate business classes this fall. Our first step is to highlight and connect all these experiences. Our work through IF is also leading and supporting the creation of new educational and experiential opportunities related to the entire range of sustainable finance and sustainability-related investment.

The next step is already underway! Our goal is to support faculty and students who want to include some aspect of ESG integration or Impact Investing into their research and teaching. We had an amazing intern on our team this past summer, Yingxi Huang, who spent her time exploring impact investing and the role the CSE can play. The CSE team is excited to welcome in new MBA and undergraduate students to our team to evaluate the global state of ESG and Impact Investing, identify trends and engage key players to better educate our students, create opportunities for our alumni, work with ESG and Impact Investing organizations and inform IF.

IF also aims to connect corporate sustainability decision-making and impact management practices with investment. So our team is working hard to bring our alumni network together along with professionals around the globe to make sure we are fulfilling the roles industry needs, while simultaneously providing networking and career development opportunities to our students. If you are interested in joining us, please send an email to cse@unc.edu today!

*ESG Integration: “The explicit and systematic inclusion of Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) issues in investment analysis and investment decisions”. Principles for Responsible Investment definition.

*Impact Investing: “Investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return”. Global Impact Investing Network definition.