Jill Bunting '16

I am a second-year student at Columbia Business School. In college I discovered a passion for finding innovative ways to meet environmental challenges, a passion that I’ve put at the center of my career. My summer as a Sustainable Investing Fellow at Morgan Stanley provided me with a new understanding of how the intersection of finance and sustainability can address environmental challenges while unlocking value for investors, companies, and society.

After college I worked in consulting, focused on building sustainability and clean tech strategies for some of the world’s largest companies. Across sectors, sustainability trends like extreme weather, resource scarcity, and urbanization are exposing businesses to new risks and opportunities. Seeing the impact on clients led me to believe that transforming the way we use critical resources like energy, water, and food is both a moral and business imperative. Yet despite the need for innovation, constraints on capital often make it challenging to scale up revolutionary ideas into impactful businesses.

I came to business school to learn about tools for unlocking the potential of sustainable innovation. In particular, one of my main goals was to deepen my knowledge of investing and other ways of creating impact at scale. The Sustainable Investing Fellowship immediately stood out to me as a unique way to explore how capital markets can catalyze change. I was fortunate to spend the summer with Morgan Stanley’s Global Sustainable Finance team working on two projects.

My first project was a thought leadership piece for the Institute for Sustainable Investing, where I investigated sector-specific implications of sustainability trends. The work gave me both new insights into sustainability developments in certain sectors, as well as how those developments interact with traditional drivers of investor value. This work underscored for me that “sustainable investing” is not necessarily set apart from traditional investing. Rather, sustainable investing can be a lens for identifying material risks and opportunities in any investment class.

My second project focused on the Investing with Impact Platform, Morgan Stanley’s wealth management offering for clients interested in sustainable investing. Over $6 billion has been invested through the platform, and working with the strategies on the platform was an incredible opportunity to see the transformative effect of providing scale to sustainable investments.  

As someone coming in with a strong interest in the business implications of sustainability, the knowledge I gained as a Sustainable Investing Fellow was directly relevant to my career goals. However, the Fellowship also offers unique value to students with a wide variety of interests. Regardless of sector or role, sustainability trends will create far-reaching impacts for future of business leaders. The Fellowship enables students to gain first-hand knowledge in how companies and investors can manage risks and seize opportunities in an evolving world.