State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Fall 2021 Internships at the Center for Sustainable Investment

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), a joint center of Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute, is accepting applications until September 15, 2021, for internship positions for the Fall 2021 semester. (Internships can be done remotely). Interns are staffed to one or more specific research projects depending on the background and interests of the particular applicant. Select work-study administrative positions are also available, and course credit can be granted in some cases.

CCSI is a leading applied research center and forum dedicated to the study, practice and discussion of sustainable international investment. Our mission is to develop and disseminate practical approaches and solutions to maximize the impact of international investment for sustainable development. The Center’s work is organized around 3 major areas of research: Sustainable Investments in Mining & Energy, Sustainable Investments in Land, Agriculture & Food Systems, and Sustainable International Investment Law & Policy, with cross-cutting research related to climate change, human rights, the energy transition, and business & finance.

Candidates must commit to at least 10-15 hours per week, unless otherwise noted. Continuation into subsequent terms is possible, and in some cases, preferred.

To apply for a Fall 2021 internship, please send a cover letter, CV, and writing sample, (all together in a single file, in that order), by September 15, 2021 to CCSI’s Executive Coordinator, Nancy Siporin (, unless otherwise specified. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. Please indicate if you are work-study eligible (preferred but not required). The cover letter should include a distinct list of which internships you are applying for (you may include as many as you’d like).

Fall 2021 internship opportunities are currently available for the following (remote possible):

Paid internship: Responsible and Rights-Respecting Land Investments
CCSI seeks a JD, LLM, or other graduate student (or a motivated and high-performing undergraduate student) to support the Center’s research and advisory work on responsible and rights-respecting land-based investments. The internship will involve working closely with senior staff on priority projects requiring research, analysis, and writing. These projects may include supporting the development of innovative responses to, and resources for, communities or governments in specific country contexts, the private sector (including development finance institutions, ESG investors and renewable energy companies), and other stakeholders. Preference will be given to candidates with strong research and writing skills. Knowledge or experience of issues relating to responsible land-based investment, land rights, government policymaking related to investments, and/or community rights in the context of resource investments is desirable. French language is also desirable.

Internship (Paid or for credit): Aligning the Food Sector to the Sustainable Development Goals
CCSI seeks a graduate student to support its work on aligning the practices of food sector companies with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This work will include conducting research and analysis related to the various ways through which businesses, particularly in the food sector, can affect achievement of the SDGs. Research topics range from nutritional health and environmental sustainability to human rights and corporate governance (which includes tax practices and lobbying). The intern will work closely with CCSI researchers, including the Project Lead, Food Sector and the SDGs. Preference will be given to students with strong research and writing skills. Familiarity with the food sector and corporate responsibility is a plus. This internship can be done for class credit or as a paid internship.

Paid Internship: Arabic-Speaking Researcher on Sustainable Finance
CCSI seeks a law or policy graduate student (or a motivated and high-performing undergraduate student) to support the Center’s research and advisory work related to sustainable finance. In particular, the research will support an analysis of the alignment of Islamic Finance with ‘ESG investing,’ and other selected sustainable finance frameworks. The researcher will also support broader research on how investments or projects might be assessed, selected, and shaped to align with the SDGs, and the tools available to governments to support such policies. The internship will involve working closely with senior staff and the Center’s director on research, analysis, and event organizing. Knowledge of sustainable finance is strongly preferred. Speaking and reading in Arabic is necessary for this work.

Paid internship: Operations Assistant (work study)
CCSI is seeking an undergraduate or graduate work-study student to assist with a variety of substantive operational tasks. The work-study position primarily will entail helping with business and administrative tasks related to the operational functioning of the center, with an opportunity to specialize in one of several areas including business operations, editing, communications, events or workstream support, assisting one of the three CCSI workstreams in Extractives; Land, Agriculture & Food Systems; or Investment Law & Policy. Preference will be given to responsible, detail-oriented undergraduate or graduate students. Those with long-term availability are preferred. To apply for this Operations Assistant position, please send a cover letter and resume to CCSI’s Director of Operations, Paulo Cunha. (

For more information on internship opportunities and how to apply, please see our website.  

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