Berkeley MBA Team Among Winners of Dow Sustainability Challenge

Two Berkeley MBA graduates were part of a team awarded $10,000 this October in the 2010 Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge.

The team–one of three UC Berkeley projects to win an award in the Dow Challenge–consisted of Cindy Chen, MBA 10; Matt Evans, MBA 08; and Evan Haigler, MS 08 (Environmental Health Sciences). Their Impact Carbon nonprofit develops partnerships with clean-burning stove enterprises in developing countries, helping to identify and develop markets, train local entrepreneurs, and access financing for both producers and consumers. Impact Carbon then sells the carbon offsets generated from clean-burning stove use and applies the money to supporting those partners in business expansion pursuits, such as dropping prices, extending credit to consumers, and improving quality.

The Dow Chemical Company Foundation sponsors the challenge, which asks students to generate sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing social, economic, and environmental problems. UC Berkeley is one of seven universities worldwide invited to participate. Other participating schools include Northwestern University, the University of Cambridge, and Peking University. Individuals and teams from each of the schools submitted proposals last spring and winners were honored at a celebration at Tufts University from Oct. 20 to Oct. 22.

Evans and Haigler spun off Impact Carbon as an independent nonprofit from a research center within UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Evans now serves as managing director, Haigler is the nonprofit's executive director, and Chen is a consultant at Impact Carbon. They have shifted their focus from developing comprehensive methodologies and instrumentation for evaluating stove performance to quantifying reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and building business models for reinvesting carbon revenues to increase stove distribution.