Duke students take 1st place in Yale Low-Carbon Portfolio Case Competition

A Duke team took 1st place in the second annual Yale University Low-Carbon Portfolio Case Competition, on Friday, Nov. 13.  The team won $10,000 and automatic entry into the final round of the Business for a Better World competition, which will be held in Davos during the World Economic Forum on January 22, 2016.

The winning team was comprised of five Duke students who are enrolled in the three-year joint Master of Environmental Management/MBA degree. They were tasked during the competition with developing an investment product focused on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors that could be marketed to private investors.  Team member Sidney McLaurin (Duke MEM/MBA’17) said, “There is an increasing trend toward client demand for investments that incorporate ESG criteria. Historically, much of the work in this area has focused on ‘negative screens’ – placing filters on investments to screen out companies and industries with the highest carbon emissions. The main issue with this approach is that it may limit the scope of available investments, resulting in lower returns – especially for portfolios with high carbon exposure. Today, we are seeing institutions offer innovative new metrics and approaches to low-carbon investments.”

Of the case competition experience, first-year student Eric Smith said: “Overcoming our knowledge deficiency in a short time period proved to be the biggest reward. Not only did we learn a ton, but we found that as dual degree MEM/MBA students we have a lot to add in this emerging space.”

Yale Low Carbon investment competition 2015

Pictured: Team members Sidney McLaurin (Duke MEM/MBA’17), Tripp Burwell (Duke MEM/UNC MBA’17), Sarah Hoyt (Duke MEM/MBA’16), Xander Kent (Duke MEM/MBA’16), Eric Smith (Duke MEM/MBA’18), with judges Catherine Keating and Bob Litterman of Commonfund, and R. Paul Herman, founder of HIP Investor

You can read more about the case competition and its winners.  We’ll be looking forward to hearing about their results at the Business for a Better World competition in January!

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