Spring 2023 Internships at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), a joint center of Columbia Law School and Columbia Climate School, is accepting applications until January 15, 2023 for internship positions for the Spring 2023 semester.

These 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. Its 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 three major areas of research: sustainable investments in mining and energy; sustainable investments in land, agriculture and food systems; and sustainable international investment law and policy, with cross-cutting research related to climate change, human rights, the energy transition, and business and 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 Spring 2023 internship, please send a cover letter, CV, and writing sample, (all together in a single file, in that order), by January 15, 2023to CCSI’s Executive Coordinator, Nancy Siporin (nancy.siporin@columbia.edu), 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).

Spring 2023 paid internship opportunities are currently available for the following:

Legal and Policy Research on Energy, Climate Change, and Sustainable Development (Native or Fluent Spanish Speaker)

CCSI is seeking an LLM or JD student intern with native or fluent Spanish skills to assist with legal and policy research, writing, and other activities relating to various projects in CCSI’s energy and climate change work. Tasks will include cataloging and examining the allocation of liability for decommissioning of offshore oil and gas facilities and infrastructure in leases and contracts for extraction of fossil fuels in various jurisdictions; identifying, cataloging, and examining best practices in the relevant scholarly and practitioner literature regarding the prevention of environmental pollution and liability-shifting away from the lessee; and identifying potential statutory, regulatory, and contractual improvements to existing regimes or practice. Preference will be given to candidates with strong legal research and writing skills, and candidates who have experience or demonstrated interest in issues relating to energy or climate change.

Open Land Contracts 

CCSI is seeking a highly motivated, organized, and detail-oriented undergraduate or graduate student intern to help with the administration of CCSI’s transparency tool: OpenLandContracts.org. The intern will assist with the management of certain administrative tasks associated with the website, which aims to empower communities, civil society organizations, host governments, and other actors to better understand the details of deals surrounding agriculture, forestry, renewable energy, and other land-based investment projects in the global south. Strong preference will be given to candidates native or fluent in French. Knowledge of Python script could also be helpful but is not essential. Work study allocations are an asset but not required. Time commitment: Ad hoc, as needs arise.

Antitrust, ESG, and Sustainability Mapping 

Over the past few years, there have been growing academic, political, and social debates about the boundaries of competition and collaboration in markets for non-economic benefits, including efforts to mitigate environmental impacts, to accelerate the energy transition, to protect human rights, and to advance worker rights and prosperity. Questions and controversies have arisen both with respect to joint standard-setting and activities among companies and industry-wide collaborations, as well as with respect to coordinated engagement by investors and financial institutions. Increasingly, antitrust-related questions and challenges are said to be chilling necessary engagement and mobilization of private actors to address climate and other sustainability-related challenges. CCSI and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law are undertaking a multidimensional mapping of this problem space, identifying the parallel and intertwined debates and legal questions, the political and other challenges and dynamics, and the range of actors at the center of the debate. Preference will be given to law students with a background in competition law.

Integrating Climate and Human Capital Management Considerations in Asset Allocation and Strategy

CCSI and the Earth Institute’s Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management are seeking graduate student interns to assist with reviews of academic and practitioner literature concerning, respectively, climate change and human capital management as relevant to investment strategy. This work will support a broader project focused on helping a large public pension fund understand the potential impact of environmental, social, and governance factors on the long-term value creation and effective risk management within its investment portfolio, and to draw larger lessons applicable for universal asset owners, especially ones that are intergenerational and fiduciaries to their members. Students with relevant experience in law and finance are strongly encouraged.

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. 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 (pcunha@law.columbia.edu).

For more information on internship opportunities and how to apply, please see CCSI’s website.


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