Stopping the Scourge of Modern Slavery: HRH Princess Eugenie & Julia de Boinville, Anti-Slavery Collective


” It’s remarkable seeing someone make you believe, like we grumble about rain, but there she is teaching us how we can actually look at the world and how we can fight something.” – HRH Princess Eugenie

Even here in the 21stCentury human beings are still enslaved by other human beings. Hard to believe? Listen to HRH Princess Eugenie of York and her friend and colleague, Julia de Boinville, describe their campaign to stem the scourge of Modern slavery. An estimated 40 million people, many of them women and children, are sold into bondage for sex or labor. The ISIS slave market described by Princess Eugenie may sound much like slave markets of old, but modern slavery can look very different from what you imagine from history. Modern slaves often work in domestic labor or even cleaning offices. They walk among us, explains Ms de Boinville. Edie Lush points out that Sustainable Development Goal eight calls for ending slavery by 2030, as part of creating proper working conditions for all. Princess Eugenie urges every one to play a role by asking how your food and services are brought to you, especially if they seem surprisingly inexpensive. Unquestioning consumers help make Slave labor hugely profitable for businesses who get away with it.

Featured guests

HRH Princess Eugenie of York

Princess Eugenie is a member of the British royal family. She is the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah, Duchess of York. She is ninth in line of succession to the British throne, after her elder sister, Princess Beatrice of York. Princess Eugenie completed her degree in Art History, English Literature and Politics at the Newcastle University in 2012. She is currently working at Hauser & Wirth art gallery as a director. She is a Patron of many charities, including the Elephant Family, Teenage Cancer Trust, Coronet Theatre, and Tate Young Patrons. This year, she announced the Anti-Slavery Collective, a new initiative aimed at abolishing modern slavery, with her friend and co-worker, Julia de Boinville.

Julie de Boinville

Julia de Boinville holds a First-Class Honors degree in History from the University of Newcastle. She currently serves as Vice President of Business Development for Afiniti and has manages the Advisory Board. She spent most of her career as an Associate at Floreat Group, a boutique investment company based in London.


[00:00:04] Claudia Edelman Welcome to the Global GoalsCast, the podcast that explorers if we can change the world. Every one of our guest of the Global GoalsCast is special, but not every one of our guests is royalty. Today we explore modern slavery with Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie and Julia de Boinville who are forming the Antislavery Collective. My Co host, Edie Lush, sat down with them recently at the change makers summit in London, organized by our partner, Seven Hills.

[00:00:38] Credits: Thanks to HARMAN, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

[00:00:47] Edie Lush:So, I am delighted to be joined today by Her Royal Highness, Princess Eugenie and also by Julia de Boinville. You guys have been best friends forever, right? [Over 13 years. It’s quite scary.] That is good. Okay. [I feel old.] Now we’re talking today about fighting the scourge of modern slavery. Tell me first of all your Royal Highness how you guys got involved in this issue.

[00:01:12] HRH Eugenie: Being best friends. Jules and I went with my mom to visit Calcutta, India, back in 2013 and we met, uh, is amazing woman called [inaudible] who started the Women’s Interlink Foundation and she works to take trafficked girls and women off the streets and teaches them a vocational skill such as printing on fabrics, making these amazing handbags and scarves and dresses and just beautiful products. And I’m Jules and I, that was the first time we ever really saw what modern slavery was and human trafficking and what really that is in the modern age. We didn’t know this to the extent of what this global epidemic was. We didn’t know. We thought, oh, William Wilberforce, you know, he did away with it in 1833 and Britain lead the way. And that was just what happened. But we realized then that it’s a huge problem and it happens all across the world and even in an hour from where you live. It’s happening in the UK. So that was our first experience of it.

[00:02:17] Jules: Slavery today is not, it’s not like it was in the 1800’s, you know, slaves walk amongst us. It’s not shackles and chains that they’re normal people walking on the streets. So it’s, it’s really terrifying.

[00:02:30] Edie Lush: And you came back from that and I think something happened with Top Shop. Am I right? Tell me about that.

[00:02:35] HRH Eugenie: So we came back to London and Jules now wants to continue our education. From that, my mom and uh, my father with our help set up the Key to Freedom, which is the sort of fashion brand of Women’s Interlink which sells products done by these girls to shops like top shop, Where 100 percent of the wage goes back to the girls in Calcutta and gives a job, a wage, keeps them off the streets, keeps them going back to their traffickers sometimes which happens. And it was really fulfilling. It was amazing to see that this could actually happen, that we can make change. And so from that Jules and I started our education and have done so for the last five years. Just continued to read as much as we can, meet as many people as we can, talk to policy makers, change makers as we did today, talk to governments and millennials and as many people as possible to really learn about this, but also see how we can affect change.

[00:03:34] Edie Lush: So it’s interesting to me because it’s an issue of affecting every single corner of the world. It’s hard to estimate than actual numbers of people who are in modern slavery. So an estimated around $40 million people. So just to put that in perspective, it’s about the population of Poland. What I love about what you guys have done is go around and educate yourself. So go out and meet some of these people. Tell me a little bit about some of the women you’ve met along the way.

[00:04:01] Jules: One Lady springs to mind. A young lady called Florida. Eugenie and I met Florida at the end of last year and Florida is from the Yazidi tribe in northern Iraq and Florida was trafficked by Isis, the men in her family. So her husband, father, brother, were all killed before her eyes and dumped in a mass grave, her and her sister were then trafficked. And She described these horrific scenes of what sounded more like a sort of cattle market where slaves were taken to the village and traded, you know, and men would buy them mostly for sexual exploitation, keep them for a day, sometimes a week, and when they tired them, they would take them back to the market and trade them in again, and that was her life. And Florida managed to escape only to be recaptured again and for the same horrific ordeal to happen all over again. And then she escaped again. And this is when she came across a wonderful organization called Yazda and Yazda has taken care of her. They’ve helped her write a book, help give her a platform to tell her story. She’s spoken at The Hague and that this is one story that actually has a happy ending. So she now lives in Germany and she’s happily married and she’s devoted her life to helping other people in her situation. But think of all the people who haven’t escaped, but it’s really amazing doing what we do and to be able to meet these people. It’s so incredibly humbling when someone has been through what she’s been through yet still wants to devote her life to this cause.

[00:05:35] Edie Lush: We’re recording this in London. The UK of course, isn’t immune to modern slavery. The National Crime Agency here last week, so that more than 5,000 potential victims of modern slavery and trafficking were referred to UK authorities last year. Half of those or forced labor around a third are People exploited for sexual purposes, once again and children affected more. Tell me about some of your encounters with slavery closer to home.

[00:06:05] HRH Eugenie: There’s about 13,000 people trafficked in the UK and it was a few years ago. Uh, I met the salvation army and they really, really hit home the extent of what’s going on in the UK. We’re leading the charge. We’ve, we’ve passed them on slavery bill, we’ve got an independent slavery commissioner. It’s fantastic the work that’s being done. But I did, we did go and visit the salvation army, went to a safe house and we met this unbelievable go called Sharon because we’ll keep her anonymous, but she was trafficked by her next door neighbor in Manchester to a gang within Manchester and the gang did horrific things to her from setting her on fire, to smashing bottles inside her and from that she’s had countless surgeries to re-correct that and to make her whole again. But what is amazing about this story and what stayed with Jules and I and will stay with us forever is Sharon is the most incredible 21 year old girl You would have me. She walked in and smiled and told her story with such courage and conviction and sat there and said, I just want to fight with you and I just want to make change and I just want to keep going or she wants to do is just keep us going. Like it’s her mission to keep Jules and I fighting. It’s remarkable seeing someone make you believe, like we grumble about rain, but there she is teaching us how we can actually look at the world and how we can fight something. It gives me goosebumps thinking about it and it’s something that we want to continue to do for her.

[00:07:47] Edie Lush: You guys were setting up something called the Antislavery Collective. Tell me how that’s going and what you’re doing.

[00:07:56] Jules: So the Antislavery Collective is all about raising awareness for modern slavery as a global epidemic. Um, and we’ll do this through various different platforms be it a book we want to publish, social media, events, our website. Eugenie and I both believe that two heads are better than one. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel and set up another charity. There are so many amazing organizations out there doing phenomenal work, but we want to shine a light on them and bring people together to share ideas, to share resources, to share data and not just NGOs as well. It’s about getting business leaders, policymakers, NGOs, individuals, all in the same room to convene and agree on, on a way forward to make change.

[00:08:43] HRH Eugenie: And I think the main thing to focus us at the beginning is is a website. I think technology is just the greatest source for us all to actually talk and we kind of forget because I’m not very techie, I’m more creative, but it is the way forward and it’s all about engaging gen Z millennials. It’s about getting a new audience. It’s about getting those new audiences to talk to top level politicians and change makers and policy makers. It’s all about using technology to bring everyone together. And the website as a first port of call will be hugely fantastic for people to to look and find amazing stories as well as statistics and things that can help them learn.

[00:09:30] Edie Lush: So learning is part of the process. We on the Global GoalsCast also talk about actions you can take. There’s this great unicef campaign that says that likes don’t save lives, so just by liking something isn’t going to do anything, but I know that you guys can give us some actions on what people can do.

[00:09:49] HRH Eugenie: Yes. Some of the things that Jules and I talked about regularly is asking the question, and this is something salvation army have done wonderful work with, with a campaign which I helped them with, but it’s about asking the question and being aware. It’s about downloading some apps that you can get. There’s a, there’s an app called not my style and also good on you and that teaches about ethically sourced fashion labels and what you can see where they’ve come from supply chains, um, and just jump in because you’ve got a really good one.

[00:10:21] Jules: The United Nations violence against women campaign are also developing something called the orange label whereby luxury fashion brands are rewarded this orange label that they can incorporate into their logo as a sort of seal of approval to show that they are ethically sourced. Supply chains is a big one for businesses and the consumer, the consumer has the responsibility to put pressure on big businesses because that’s who they’re gonna listen to and big businesses owe it to their consumer to be conscientious and accountable for their supply chains.

[00:10:53] HRH Eugenie: Yeah, and I think also following on from that, it’s about when you look at your nail salon or your car wash or a, when you go across overseas in, you find that tomatoes are really cheap there and more expensive there. It’s about asking the question as to why that is and being aware of, of of that just changes your whole perspective on what actually is going on in the situation. It’s not just about sexual exploitation, it’s about domestic servitude, workforce labor and all the many kinds of modern day slavery that aren’t in the open.

[00:11:27] Edie Lush:So my producer, producers just asked a fantastic question, which is what’s at the root of this idea of modern slavery?

[00:11:34] Jules: Well, essentially it’s, it’s organized crime, you know, it’s run by rings and gangs all over the world and it’s incredibly profitable. Uh, so, so one organization we’ve worked with ’em, they go about tackling the source, so they go the very, very top levels and infiltrate these nasty gangs because if they believe that if you can stop it at the top, it’ll stop the kind of, the filtering down process,

[00:12:02] HRH Eugenie: It is also supply and demand

[00:12:02] Jules: It’s a business

[00:12:04]Edie Lush: So the Sustainable Development Goals, which of course we talk about on this podcast, Sustainable Development Goal eight is about promoting sustainable economic growth. Decent work for all. Part of this is ending slavery by 2030, which seems quite soon. In fact. What would you like? Yeah, what would you like to see from businesses? How can they get involved?

[00:12:28]HRH Eugenie: They can get involved with Antislavery Collective, we’d love to, we’d love to have lots of businesses involved. Um, supply chains is a really obvious one.

[00:12:37] Jules: We’re seeing a lot of forced labor in cleaning companies at the moment. So for example, a big hotel chain might outsource the cleaning function to a third party without maybe checking the viability or permits that their workers and that kind of falls under this sort of domestic servitude bracket as well. But supply chains go on and on and there’s so many layers. And so it’s just about being as thorough as possible. And the way that the modern slavery bill has been set up is not to kind of prosecute and pointing the finger, but to help businesses discover if there’s, um, modern slavery in their supply chain that’s in the UK. Yeah. People are rewarded for coming forward and saying, oh actually this is what we’ve found. Not, not prosecuted it, it’s, it’s about collaborating and working together.

[00:13:33]HRH Eugenie: There’s a fantastic book called Half the sky, which Jules and I just read and it’s remarkable and it’s called Half the Sky because Chinese proverb says, women hold up half the sky and how can a world ever survive or exist when half of its population is not being treated justly and you know, women and girls, but you know, especially trafficked. What’s going on with human trafficking and how many it’s happening to is it’s really something that we’ve all got to open our eyes to work together towards, focus on, you know, we cannot say we did not know. Quoting Wilberforce, he really is a hero for us because we can’t turn a blind eye to it. It’s something in society. It’s something that all societies sort of exacerbates because it’s sometimes a huge subjects and you don’t want to broach it. You get overwhelmed, but it’s about all of us working together and as Jules said, it’s not about pointing the finger, it’s about all of us aligning and knowing that this is right and that we can fix this and that this is something that can be eradicated by 2030. I would love that to happen.

[00:14:46] Jules: I think. I think everyone, businesses, individuals, we have to take an element of responsibility, you know. I don’t want to speak to my child in however many years time, my unborn child and have to say, Oh God, yes, slavery existed in my lifetime and I started my hands and I didn’t do anything about it.

[00:15:04] Edie Lush: When I was preparing for this yesterday. In fact, I was looking at the facts and came up with this fact about these 5,000 reported cases last year in the UK and my 10 year old came up and she went, well in the UK, that’s here. I mean, it is extraordinary.

[00:15:21]HRH Eugenie: It is. And something I. I’d just like to tell all the listeners is, don’t be overwhelmed by it. It is, you know, so many people in this field who are working, who have been working at and continue to work in this field. They even say it’s me, oh sometimes I get frustrated and disheartened, but it doesn’t mean they’ll give up and I think that’s something all your listeners should know is that if you could save one person’s life or if you can help one person or whatever it is or support one charity, then you’re doing something incredible and you’re really changing the world.

[00:15:57] Edie Lush: Thank you guys very much for joining me here on the Global GoalsCast and I’m Edie Lush.

[00:16:02] HRH Eugenie:Thank you so much, Edie, for, for having us here today. It’s um, it’s a huge honor to be able to talk to you about the Antislavery Collective and more from us soon

[00:16:11] Jules: And if anyone wants to imagine where we all were in a very dark black room, but the big round thing in front of offices, but we’re all smiling.

[00:16:21] New Speaker: This podcast is powered by CBS news digital.

Have we made progress on the SDGs?


“The clock is ticking, but the transformation toward resilient and sustainable societies is not only still possible—it is an absolute imperative.” – Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations

On this episode of Global GoalsCast, the UN Foundation is taking over to discuss how countries are measuring their SDG progress. From a rural health clinic in Uganda to the bustling streets of New York City, hear how policymakers, entrepreneurs and individuals in 193 countries are joining forces to tackle climate change, eradicate poverty and, ultimately, save the planet.General, Amina Mohammed said ‘we can do this and we have to do this.’

Featured guests

Rajesh Mirchandani

Rajesh Mirchandani is a global communications leader and former British television journalist. Currently, Rajesh is the Chief Communications Officer for the UN Foundation.  Previously, he spent more than two decades reporting from around the world as a BBC correspondent and news anchor, covering international events from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to the Academy Awards in Hollywood, Calif. His award-winning reporting has been broadcast on the BBC World Service and BBC World News. 

Minh-Thu Pham

Minh-Thu Pham is Executive Director for Policy at the United Nations Foundation, where she develops and leads strategic initiatives to strengthen the UN’s ability to solve global problems and brings together governments, civil society and thought leaders to help reach global agreements. Over the last four years, she has led UNF’s effort to support the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She recently taught international policymaking at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and has over 15 years of experience in foreign policy, international diplomacy, and fieldwork.

H.E. Hala Helmy El-Saeed

H.E. Hala Helmy El-Saeed is the minister of planning and administrative reform for the Ara Republic of Egypt.Dr. Hala El-Said worked as Executive Director of the EBI, Central Bank of Egypt, during the period January 2003 – August 2011. She worked also as Professor of Economics at Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University since September 2004. El-Said is considered as women’s banking figures. She led the Egyptian Banking Institute (EBI), which is the training arm of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) for a period of eight years, during which EBI has the international accreditation «2006-2008» .

Pearnel Charles Jr.

Pearnel P. Charles Jr. serves the people of Jamaica as Senator and Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. He previously served as the Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security. Mr. Charles had specific responsibility for the Department of Correctional Services, the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force and other projects within the national security portfolio.  He served as the Jamaica Labour Party Deputy Spokesperson for National Security in 2014, advocating for progressive policies to effect sustainable reduction in crime and violence as well as the introduction of innovative technology to support and advance the efforts of the security forces.  Senator Charles is an Attorney-at-Law with qualification to practice law in Jamaica and the United States of America (New York Bar).

H.E Nayef Hmeidi Al Fayez

H.E Nayef Hmeidi Al Fayez has occupied the posts of Minister of Tourism and Antiques and Minister of Environment in Jordan for several times.  In 1993, Al Fayez Joined the Royal Hashemite Court served closely to H.M. King Abdullah II and Queen Rania. Al Fayez served as Head of Protocol for Her Majesty before starting to work in several advanced positions within the Jordanian Government in 2006 focusing on development of tourism in Jordan and heading several leading companies and entities such as Jordan Tourism Board, Royal National Co. for Tourism Development, Royal Academy of Culinary Arts – Les Roches and Jordan Heritage Revival Company. H.E. appointed as a Chairman of the National Microfinance Bank in February 2017 and elected for the position of Chairman of The Jordanian Microfinance National Network and He is a member of the higher steering committee of Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND). 

John McArthur

John W. McArthur is a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution. He is also a senior adviser to the UN Foundation and a board governor for the International Development Research Centre.  He was previously the chief executive officer of Millennium Promise, the international nongovernmental organization. He has also been a senior fellow with the Hong Kong-based Fung Global Institute, a faculty member at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and policy director at the University’s Earth Institute.

Alexandra Hiniker

Alexandra Hiniker is Strategic Relationships Manager for the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs, where she is responsible for highlighting the connections between global and local sustainability through the Global Vision | Urban Action portfolio. Before joining the Mayor’s Office, Alexandra was the PAX Representative to the United Nations, focusing on the protection of civilians in Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan. Previously, she worked on humanitarian disarmament in some of the world’s most bombed and mined countries, first with the United Nations in Cambodia, and then with the Cluster Munition Coalition in Laos, followed by Lebanon. She began her international development career implementing pandemic preparedness projects in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

Helen Medina

Helen Medina joined Nestlé in February 2017 and was appointed the role of Senior Public Affairs Manager, Government and Multilateral Relations. She is responsible for building internal government and multilateral organisation relationships and engagement plans coordinating across functions, markets and globally managed businesses. She is also responsible for the implementation and communication of partnerships. Helen joined Nestlé from the US Council for International Business where she led work on, food and agriculture, health care, product policy and intellectual property. 

Justin Perrettson

Justin Perrettson is Head of Global Engagements (Corporate Sustainability & Public Affairs) for Novozymes, the world`s leading bio innovation company. Active across a number of areas that address the interface between business and public policy, Justin works on a number of issues related to Sustainability, Climate and the Environment, including the development of innovative Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) approaches. He has been at the forefront of Novozymes’ strategic engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda since 2012.

Gerbrand Haverkamp

Gerbrand Haverkamp is the founder and Executive Director of Index Initiative. Index Initiative one of the founding partners and drivers behind the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA). The WBA intents to fund, house and safeguard publicly available corporate SDG performance benchmarks. Free corporate benchmarks aligned with the SDGs will help companies, investors and others drive change by raising awareness and promoting a corporate race to the top. Before starting Index Initiative Gerbrand worked for the Dutch Government in the areas of inclusive business, sustainable agricultural supply chains and food security.

Govind Pandey

Govind Pandey is the Chief Executive Offive of TBWA\Group India.  With over 20 years in the industry, Govind has led the TBWA\Group India operation over the last 12 months, deepening the agency’s capabilities and talent, which has resulted in interesting new business wins and award-winning creative for our clients.  Pandey’s rich advertising career, spanning over two decades, has seen him hold senior positions in some of the world’s most respected agency networks. Prior to joining TBWA\India, Pandey was chief operating officer of McCann Worldgroup, India, a network he worked at for 14 years. He has also worked with Ogilvy & Mather, and Lintas, in India.

Xeenarh Mohammed

Xeenarh Mohammed as the Executive Director of Nigerian LGBT rights group The Initiative for Equal Rights. Xeenarh is a lawyer, activist, community organiser and holistic security trainer with over a decade of experience working on human rights issues across sectors within and outside Nigeria. Xeenarh has in the last few years worked with organisation such as Open Technology Fund, Love Nigeria Foundation, Heinrich Boll Stiftung and freelanced for many other organisations on issues relating to human rights, gender and social development. Xeenarh is skilled in digital security and sexual rights, specifically LGBT rights and network of partners working on similar issues across the world. She will be ensuring our commitment to providing a safe space, ensuring a healthier community, legal protection, and changing narratives remains a key focus.

Alexandria Lafci

Alexandria Lafci is the Head of Operations and Co-Founder of New Story – an innovative nonprofit that transforms slums into sustainable communities around the world. Alexandria has a decade of work, academic, and volunteer experience in domestic and international development. She taught in inner city D.C., led financial capacity building efforts in rural Central America, and briefed African heads of state on poverty alleviation through land reform, and was recently named to the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng is a Malaysian actress who achieved fame in the early 1990s, after starring in a series of popular Hong Kong action films in which she performed her own stunts. Born in Ipoh, Malaysia, she is known internationally for starring in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, and the Chinese-language martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in 2000.

Driven from their Homes, the Displaced bring Hope and Opportunity


“The key to the narrative is to re humanize the population and to give them their faces and their stories back and I think it’s really important that we’re able to do that now.” – David Miliband

In the developed world, refugees are often viewed as a menace or a burden. That is just one of the myths busted in this episode of the Global Goalscast. For one thing, nine out of ten refugees don’t come to the developed world. They flee from one poor country to another. For another, in many of those countries, innovative thinking has turned refugees into an opportunity to develop the economy and make life better for both newcomers and their hosts. Uganda gives out land to refugees. Kakuma Camp in Kenya creates business and agriculture zones where hosts and refugees can work together. Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman talk to the International Rescue Committee, UNHCR, Western Union and others about this urgent topic. Urgent because in the years to come the number of displaced persons will climb as climate change adds to the disruption.

Above Image: UNHCR staff and partners in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, relocate a group of Rohingya refugees from areas in the Kutupalong settlement at risk of landslides and floods to safer shelters in the Camp 4 Extension site.

Featured guests

Mary Nyiriak Maker

Mary Nyiriak Maker is a firm believer in the power of education as a transformative tool for peace building and rebuilding lives. She found normalcy and hope through education after fleeing South Sudan’s conflict.

Apurva Sanghi

Dr. Apurva Sanghi is the World Bank’s former lead economist for four countries in Africa. He spearheaded a ground breaking study “Yes” in My Backyard? : The Economics of Refugees and Their Social Dynamics in Kakuma, Kenya”. This study has also been instrumental in the planning and implementing of the new Kalobeyei settlement.

David Miliband

David Miliband is President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), where he oversees the agency’s humanitarian relief operations in more than 40 war-affected countries and its refugee resettlement and assistance programs in 28 United States cities.  From 2007 to 2010, Miliband was the 74th Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom, driving advancements in human rights and representing the U.K. throughout the world. In 2006, as Secretary of State for the Environment, he pioneered the world’s first legally binding emissions reduction requirements. He was Member of Parliament for South Shields from 2001 to 2013. Miliband graduated from Oxford University in 1987 with a first class honors degree in philosophy, politics and economics, and received a master’s degree in political science in 1989 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which he attended as a Kennedy Scholar.

Melissa Fleming

Melissa Fleming is Head of Communications and Chief Spokesperson for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and recently served as Senior Advisor of the UN Secretary General. She travels to war zones and refugee camps to give voice and build support to the millions of people forcibly displaced worldwide. She leads global media outreach and campaigns to generate news coverage, and operates a multimedia service to distribute refugee stories. She is a frequent interview guest on international media platforms and a leader in social media engagement. Her talks are featured on She is the author of the book, A Hope More Powerful than the Sea.

Hikmet Ersek

Hikmet Ersek is President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of The Western Union Company, a Fortune 500 global leader in digital and retail cross-border money transfer and payments services. With more than 30 years of executive experience in financial services, Ersek joined Western Union in 1999 and became CEO in 2010. Under his leadership, Western Union has successfully diversified and evolved its business to become a global payments company.  Ersek began his career in financial services in Europe when he joined Europay/MasterCard in Austria in 1986. A decade later, he joined General Electric (GE) Capital, where he also represented the GE Corporation as the National Executive in Austria and Slovenia. He speaks English, German and Turkish fluently, and enjoyed a short career as a professional basketball player in Europe prior to his private sector experience. Ersek holds a Master’s (Magister) degree in Economics and Business Administration from the Wirtschaftsuniversität (University of Economics) in Vienna, Austria.

Elizabeth Roscoe

Elizabeth Roscoe is Executive Director of the Western Union Foundation. Roscoe joined Western Union in 2013 and most recently served as the head of Global Product Marketing, Brand and Communications for Western Union Business Solutions where she was responsible for leading the Global Product Marketing and Brand teams to develop marketing programs that create demand for products and services including WU® EDGE, and Western Union Business Solution’s Education and NGO platforms. Roscoe has 20 years of marketing experience that spans financial services and consumer goods. Prior to joining Western Union, Elizabeth held a range of marketing roles at American Express, PepsiCo, Sainsbury’s, Campbell’s Soup Company and Nestle.

Ravi Gurumurthy

Ravi Gurumurthy is the Chief Innovation Officer and head of the Airbel Center at the International Rescue Committee.  Prior to joining the IRC as Vice-President of Strategy and Innovation in 2013, Ravi spent 15 years in the U.K. Government, holding a number of senior roles in social, environmental and foreign policy. From 2007 to 2010 he was the Strategic Advisor and Speech Writer to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, David Miliband.  From 2010 to 2013, Ravi was the Director of Strategy and head of the Office of Climate Change at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.  Ravi began his career at the UK think-tank, Demos.

Grant Gordon

Grant Gordon is a policymaker and political scientist who specializes in humanitarian intervention. He’s the Director of Innovation Strategy of the Airbel Center at the IRC and has worked on humanitarian and development policy for the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the UN Office of Humanitarian Coordination, the UN Refugee Agency, as well as the Rwandan Government, Open Society Justice Initiative and other organizations. Grant works on the some of the world’s worst problems and conflicts, and tries to figure out which interventions will help. He’s embedded with the Congolese military to try to understand why soldiers attack citizens, he’s analyzed the use satellites to monitor and deter genocidal violence in Darfur, and he’s studied the ways in which peacekeepers can win hearts and minds with local communities in Haiti.

Additional Resources

Want to listen more to of the TEDx Kakuma Camp? 


Read more about Global Trends in Forced Displacement from the UNHCR



Mary Maker: [00:00:01] Now I want you all to be very quiet just for a moment. Did you hear that the sound of silence. No gunshots. This was my first memory. 

Apurva Sanghi: [00:00:25] Most people don’t know that nearly nine out of ten refugees are hosted not by richer countries but by poorer ones.

David Miliband: [00:00:34] And the truth is that what is rampant is not the measured care for fact based arguments about refugees and displaced people. What is rampant is mythology about that says refugee is another codeword for terrorist. 

Claudia: [00:00:54] This is the Global GoalsCast. 

Edie: [00:00:56] The Podcast that asks if we can change the world. 

Claudia: [00:01:00] On this episode we’re going to be talking about refugees, innovation and opportunities related to them. 

Edie: [00:01:06] We’re going to be busting myths about refugees by visiting a camp that shows how refugees can be an economic boon rather than a burden. 

Claudia: [00:01:15] And we will be talking about refugees as opportunities, how they contribute to the communities that they have moved into… 

Edie: [00:01:20] How They can be a source of development and growth… 

Claudia: [00:01:23] And How refugees are human just like the rest of us. And every one of us can be a refugee. 

Edie: [00:01:30] I’m Edie Lush, here with Claudia Romo Edelman here in London. And we’re going to be back after this. 

CREDITS: [00:01:39] Thanks to HARMAN. The official sound of Global GoalsCast. 

Edie: [00:01:47] Welcome back. So the world as you know has a very big challenge of displaced persons, the world’s largest refugee crisis. But we are not here today to depress you. Instead we want to capture the scale of the challenge, share some positive things that are working and describe some potential solutions for tackling this crisis as it’s an issue that will only continue to grow. 

Claudia: [00:02:08] That is right. For one thing the narrative is often inaccurate. Many refugees have actually improved life in the places that take them in. If that’s a process you are even if it doesn’t just keep listening to help us understand their refugee situation. I spoke to one of the world’s experts on the topic, David Miliband who’s the head of the International Rescue Committee which was created to resettle the millions of people driven from their homes by World War Two. But Miliband and the IRC have a new challenge now. 

David Miliband: [00:02:43] Let’s start with the context which is that there are more refugees and displaced people than at any time since the Second World War. That’s why I think it’s right to talk about displacement crisis. 25 million refugees and 40 million internally displaced. These are people who are fleeing from war and conflict and persecution. They’re not economic migrants moving from one place to another in search of a better life. They are people fleeing for their lives so that that is the community that we are talking about. Today, the average displacement is decades and that means that we’re talking about a multigenerational displacement that is increasingly in urban areas not in refugee camps where there are new opportunities for people to participate in the market economy as well as in the wider society. And it’s imperative if someone is displaced for 10 20 years it’s imperative on that timespan to work not just to help people survive by giving them sufficient food or water or healthcare but actually give them the chance to thrive. The truth is that what is rampant is not the measure to care for fact-based arguments about refugees and displaced people. What is rampant is mythology about that says refugee is another code word for terrorists that says the reason there is unemployment is because there are too many migrants. Theres a set of catch phrases that aren’t based on reality but are nonetheless far more powerful than the effort that we’re making. The key to the narrative is to rehumanize that population and to give them their faces and their stories back. And I think it’s really important that we’re able to do that. 

Edie: [00:04:29] Remember there’s a difference in international law between refugees and migrants. 

David Miliband: [00:04:34] It’s not that one is good and the other is bad is that they’re different and there are different legal and moral responsibilities attending to states and to citizens when it comes to people who are bombed from their houses as it does to people who are choosing to leave their houses. And my own view is that countries will always insist that they have to keep their immigration policies as a matter of national jurisdiction. I think it is possible to argue that when it comes to refugees there are international obligations and that is an argument that still has to be prosecuted. There are still 50 or so countries that haven’t signed the Refugee Convention and some important countries. And I think that it’s going to be really important that we don’t lose the integrity of that commitment. 

Edie: [00:05:33] David Miliband says we need new ways to handle displaced persons. So the Global Goals cast went out looking for them and we found an incredible example in Kenya. 

Claudia: [00:05:43] Not far from the Rift Valley the birthplace of humanity. Economist Apruva Sanghi explained why the success of this Kakuma Camp is so important. 

Apruva Sanghi: [00:05:55] Most people don’t know that nearly nine out of 10 refugees are hosted by richer countries but they can do it with almost half a million refugees. It is countries like Kenya that have become the shock absorbers for people fleeing their homes from conflict. 

Edie: [00:06:17] Built in 1992 Kakuma is home to more than one hundred eighty five thousand people who have fled conflict and disaster from South Sudan Somalia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo and it’s located in the northwest corner of Kenya the border with South Sudan Ethiopia and Uganda. 

Claudia: [00:06:37] In the developed world, Refugees are often portrayed as a burden and as a threat. But Kakuma has become a thriving marketplace benefiting the refugees and their Kenyan host. There are more than 2000 businesses in operation. The refugees trading with local community host by everything from food and cosmetics to mobile phones. The area generates more than 56 million dollars in business and approximately 69 percent of the camp’s residents also had access to mobile services and the Internet. 

Edie: [00:07:10] That’s right. I spoke with Melissa Fleming the head of communications and chief spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees about Kakuma. 

Melissa Fleming: [00:07:19] There is a section of the camp called the Calu Bay and this is a new tape. We don’t even call it a camp anymore. We call it a refugee settlement and it’s a settlement because it includes the host community. It includes an agricultural zone where refugees and the local community can grow their own food. It includes an economic zone where refugees and the host community can start businesses. It has health clinics and schools where both the host community and the refugees can have access. So it is an integrated approach where self-reliance is fostered and an investment in that community where there was nothing before is taking place. 

Edie: [00:08:10] So Melissa told me about an event that Kakuma hosted recently. They have the first TEDx in a refugee camp. 

Claudia: [00:08:18] And Kakuma is such an extraordinary place. I’ve been in Kenya a number of times in other refugee camps like Nadab where they are used to be there for 30 years and only receive they cannot afford, they can’t produce, they only get. Kakuma seems to be thriving and giving to their host communities. We have a voice from the refugee camp. This is Mary Maker who spoke at the Kakuma TEDx event. 

Mary Maker: [00:08:46] Gun shots were the audio of the day my community was constantly under attack. Planes would drop these spinning and terrifying bombs That chopped off people’s limbs. The most terrifying thing ever single parents was to see their children being abducted and turned into child soldiers. My mother dug a trench that soon became a home but yet we did not feel protected. She had to flee search of a safe place when I was 4 years and my younger sister was two. We joined a huge mass of people and together we walked for many agonizing days in search of a secure place. But you will barely rest before we were attacked again. We finally made it across the Kenyan border. Yes that was the longest journey that I have ever had in my whole life. My feet were raw with blisters. To Our surprise we found other family members that had fled into the camp early on. Now I want you all to be very quiet just for a moment. Did you hear that. The Sound of Silence. No gunshots. Peace at last. That was my first memory of this camp. 

Claudia: [00:10:34] This could be me and it could be you. 

Edie: [00:10:38] Yeah and this is where we really bust up the narratives here in the developed world. We are used to hearing these tales of escape being the end of the story. The miracle is that that sound of silence from Mary Maker and the other refugees in Kakuma the miracle is what happened next. They become productive members of their new society in Kenya. 

Claudia: [00:10:59] The truth is that most refugees are not living in Western countries like Germany or the U.S. Eighty five percent of refugees live in developing countries. 

Edie: [00:11:07] So guess who host the most refugees? Turkey Uganda Pakistan Lebanon Iran and Jordan. 

Claudia: [00:11:15] Jordan, absolutely. 

Edie: [00:11:17] And to make that work. We need more and more as places where communities are refugees and communities are people who take the men are both better off than before the refugees arrive. 

Claudia: [00:11:28] Everyone around Kakuma does better. Economy better, refugees better Here is economist Apurva Sanghi again and by the way Dracona the county where Kakuma is located. 

Apruva Sanghi: [00:11:42] Because of refugees Draconas economic output, which is the total value of all goods and services produced in Dracona county, has increased permanently three and a half percent. So if you’re a Dracona resident making say 100 Kenyan shillings by selling food such as ugali Kenyan maize before refugees arrive. Since their arrival net of inflation you will now be making over a hundred and three shillings, Year after year. Not only that refugee presence has also added jobs to the economy. So for every hundred jobs previously available there are now a hundred three jobs, year after year. Now I know what some of you are thinking you are thinking hm Apruva these 3 percent increases are not exactly shall we say killer statistics. I’d agree but perceptions aside we also wanted hard data. So we compared various measures of physical well-being of Dracona residents. One good measure is SSF, sum of skin folds. SSF measures body fat content which in impoverished settings such as these is a positive indicator of a person’s physical well-being. And we found that Dracona residents who lived closer to the camp had higher SSF numbers and this is true for both men and women. So refugee presence has grown the economy, added jobs, And has increased well beings for all Dracona residents. For sure not everybody benefits but the average is more than gloom. 

Claudia: [00:13:38] Skinfolds? What A way to measure success. 

Edie: [00:13:40] I know rather than being a humanitarian challenge, refugees can be a development opportunity. Melisa Fleming explains more. 

Melissa Fleming: [00:13:48] The secretary general visited Bangladesh together with the president of the world bank Jim Kim with the high commissioner for refugees and committed to developing that very poor region of Bangladesh that is taken in one million Rohingya refugees so that their hospitals their school systems their roads are also improved and that there is for the host community that has been willing and been so compassionate that they’re going to get some value out of being such good people. 

Edie: [00:14:26] So measuring skin folds is one type of innovation. Here’s another. 

Melissa Fleming: [00:14:30] Uganda’s one really good example of enlightened policies that say coupled with innovation. It used to be that the response to a large number of refugees coming into countries was OK. The government would say we will keep our borders open we’ll provide safety but you have to live in a camp and you’re not allowed to work and you’re not allowed to go anywhere outside of the camp. This has changed. Uganda for example offers every refugee who comes into their country A piece of land and on that land they can grow their own food. They are also allowed to move throughout the country to start a business if they want. And we’ve seen huge benefits to the refugees. First of all they’re self more self-reliant than they would be before. And also they’re able to contribute to the economy in some way. 

Edie: [00:15:23] So this different attitude towards refugees being allowed to work is in itself an innovation. 

Claudia: [00:15:29] In Uganda as well, there is some example of Belgium changing the way they give bilateral help to the country by using a third party company telecoms to give credit to women giving birth and registering their babies. That is an incentive. We said that one of our goals was to change the narrative about refugees. 

Edie: [00:15:50] That’s right. One of the most contested stories in this area is the role of the private sector plays sending money backwards and forwards between refugees and migrants in their home countries and that contested story that contested role that Western Union and other companies in the private sector play. 

Claudia: [00:16:07] But I have a different take. So I went to talk to the CEO of Western Union Hikmet Ersek who is a migrant himself. 

Hikmet Ersek: [00:16:14] Some of my employees say that when I get out of the plane in Istanbul I walk like a Turk. When I got out of a plane in theU.S. I walk like an American or talk like an American. In Austria Talk Like A Austrian. So this challenge in the past, Claudia, made me actually an advantage now to communicate with people from different race different religions different backgrounds very easy. People feel that what they tell me that I am the same like them. 

Claudia: [00:16:46] What is western union not only a commitment but also work with refugees? 

Hikmet Ersek: [00:16:50] As a global company we take global responsibility. The refugee crisis is a global issue and try to build bridges as we’ve seen in building walls. Building bridges means that the road will be in a better position by building bridges. Good things happen. People move jobs got created Money Moves. By building walls, allthings stop. You don’t want that. I think as Western Union, a global company take a stand on that. Don’t forget refugees are people like you and me. I can tell you a story as the Syrian refugee crisis started, we exactly knew that where they come from and where are they going to be next going. Because we were following them. It was sent money from Turkey to Syria to them from Greece to Turkey or from Serbia to Turkey to the loved ones or from Sweden to Turkey or to Syria to support their loved ones. And you could imagine we could track them how much they say. 

Claudia: [00:17:50] And you were the first one to start actually paying attention to that moment. You were predicting through tracing the movement that there was something cooking and you were able to negotiate on behalf of these people to say how can we do something so that they can get money and access money and transfer the money so that they can survive. 

[00:18:08] It was more a support thing we didnt want to make huge money out of that we just went to cover our costs and be paid special fees for refugees to send money to Syria or to send money to refugees. We gave specialI.D. restrictions for refugees. We talked to theU.N., we talked to our money laundering regulator. And I have to say that it was unbelievable, the stories behind that supporting the families was really good. And the good thing is that today’s refugees who use that on that day is where they were challenged are becoming customers. 

Claudia: [00:18:44] I know how committed you are to changing the life of other people because you’re one of them. I want to I want to ask from that amount of money that is exchange every year from the 300 billion to the 600 billion in general. There’s a report that says that 32 billion dollars of those are lost in your high fees and high commissions and. Tell me tell me what is the issue. 

Hikmet Ersek: [00:19:13] The issue is definitely something brought up but we always show that it’s not the case we operate in 200 countries. We operate we call it Corridor sending money from one country to another country from Germany to Russia from Germany to Egypt from US to India or fromU.S. to Mexico. If you calculate that there are 30 to 221 to 40000 corridor’s for every corridor every destination has different needs different prices different consumer behavior. So there is no one rule that every transaction seem. In average are transactions are 300 dollars dependent on various said you will send money to India, Maybe the charges are a lot less but you will send money to Pyramus but the charges are higher because we have low access there. Maybe it costs us more in special circumstances. We do that as I said earlier we are a very mission driven brand. Like when Hurricane Maria happened in Puerto Rico immediately we bring the prices down to 0 fee or a flood in Bangladesh or a refugee crisis in Syria immediately bring the prices down to zero fees and we don’t make money in that corridor for a certain time. 

Claudia: [00:20:37] So it was important for us to present the perspective from the company’s side. We also asked the head of the Western Union Foundation Elizabeth Roscoe ‘what was Western Union doing?’. 

Elizabeth Ruscoe: [00:20:49] We created a global campaign called ‘I Am More’ to really help individuals understand that refugees are so much more than the circumstances that define them. They are not just people with their doctors their teachers their mothers. People here have lives too. 

Edie: [00:21:05] Along their journey Western Union came across that actor Forest Whitaker known to me first for playing Idi Amin. Hes also very involved with helping refugees. 

Elizabeth Ruscoe [00:21:18] While employing the fantastic lady called Judy who was really engaged in the work that we’re doing with Forest Whitaker’s organization. Basically she runs our loyalty ppoints program which gives consumers the opportunity to use those points not for a service or something for themselves, but to donate to charity and to partake in charity. And we have an incredible response consumers only 2 years ago. This year we took that one step further and we actually enables consumers to crowd fund their points the loyalty points and to donate them to help an individual child to go to school in the and on the settlement and Uganda working with Forrest Whitaker. It costs about 150 dollars a year to go to secondary school which means very very few children get the opportunity to secondary school. So our goal is to try and see if we could fund maybe 50 kids to school. In 24 days, consumers had funded 100 children to go to school and thats only going to continue. 

Claudia: [00:22:25] We’re talking to you about refugees because you have to face it, this it is going to continue growing. 

Edie: [00:22:32] Exactly. 

Claudia: [00:22:33] Climate change is exacerbating the issue. 

Edie: [00:22:35] And the estimate of the people who will be migrating due to climate change, it ranges from 25 million people to a billion people moving around by 2050. Now these include people moving from within their own country and across borders. If you just think about glaciers melting sea level rising unpredictable weather patterns crop failures the salinization of freshwater and flooding of coastal cities it doesn’t respect borders it happens indiscriminately. 

Claudia: [00:23:07] In 2016 over 24 million people were newly displaced by sudden onset climate related hazards. 

Edie: [00:23:16] In 2016 the 10 largest displacement events that’s people being moved around were related to climate. 

Claudia: [00:23:24] From those 24 million people that are not only happening in developing countries. Countries with low displacement associated with disasters are China Philippines India Indonesia but also the United States with one more more than one million one hundred thousand people. Cuba Japan Myanmar Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. 

Edie: [00:23:45] So now to join us to wrap this up are Ravi GarMurthy and Grant Gordon. They’re the co host of another podcast called ‘Displaced’ made by Vox Media together with the IRC. So we focus on this episode on new approaches to refugees because this challenge is getting bigger much bigger. Over the next 30 years,Climate change will displace tens of millions maybe even hundreds of millions of people. So resettling displaced people will become essential on a scale that we’ve never dealt with before. And the big idea is to change the narrative so we’d see refugees as contributors. Human beings who can help the communities that take them in. We’ve looked at this in Uganda and Kenya but I know that you guys have done some work on this in Jordan. Can you tell me about that? 

Grant / Ravi: [00:24:28] Yes typically if you think about what the refugee journey looks like, when they flee over a border they are often denied the right to work the rights to send their kids to education. And that’s done because those countries often want to deter new refugees coming over the border. Unfortunately that obviously denies them the right to provide for their family. That also denies them the opportunity to contribute and be a benefit to local communities. And what was interesting about the refugee compact that was developed in Jordan was it tried to change that and make refugees more of a win-win benefit both for local communities and for themselves. So the international community the World Bank major donors agreed a compact with the Jordanian governments that enabled them to benefit from concessional finance from the World Bank and from lower trade barriers into the European Union. If they increase the level of employment of refugees and while the actual combat hasn’t been as successful as it might have been because the incentives were probably not strong enough I think it does show the right way of dealing with refugees and providing the kind of support incentives for host countries. 

[00:25:38] The crucial insight here is that this moment demands a rethink of the policy and formed the programs that allow us to really reshape the debate from one in which we see refugees that come in one in which we we’re used to seeing them as investments. And these are going to be the tools that innovation that allows pierced through the politics of the moment. 

Claudia: [00:25:59] And that is the purpose of this episode we want to make sure that we move the conversation from a political one to an innovation and opportunities one so that we can get even more private sector involved more partnerships. I love What you guys did with Sesame Street for example. 

Grant / Ravi: [00:26:15] Yeah I mean that’s an incredible partnership that was thanks to the MacArthur Foundation. We’ve been giving 100 million dollars to work with sesame on a program that will provide refugees in Jordan Syria Iraq and Lebanon with a combination of some Sesame Street for Syrian children but also home visits for parents to help them parent better and preschool services. And the really interesting thing about it is that it shows the potential of mass media to combine with face to face services obviously providing preschool services is challenging critically inside Syria when it’s very dangerous or it can be quite costly to do that. But if you can combine that with digital offerings on mobile phones and to TV you can start to create really really cost effective programs that can access refugees. 

Claudia: [00:27:06] We’re excited about the opportunities and one opportunity like a lot is a global compact for refugees that is going to be signed in September and ideally puts a framework to the discussion about refugees so that everybody seems sings from the same songship. 

[00:27:23] I think a crucial question for Compact and framework as well as all of the work that’s being done right now is whether it provides the type of clarity a commitment to actually move the dial. And so you know over the past few months there have been multiple drafts of this coming out. I think there is a hope for this contact but also a desire for it to be much stronger on identified objectives much stronger on how we’re actually going to measure that objective. And at the core of it a real sense of what it actually means to share responsibility between nations? What did it mean for how many refugees countries should absorb? What does it mean for How much money countries should be providing into the international system? These are the nitty gritty the question that to really make a change at this moment we’re going to have to answer. 

Claudia: [00:28:18] And I love the fact that it is almost like playing basketball for the last 50 years without really having a clear global set of rules of what’s in what’s out. What goes into it you know like what. How do we play together. I love the fact that we’re very close. 

Edie: [00:28:33] One of the things we do on this podcast is give our listeners actions that they can go out and take. So I wonder what actions you guys have for people who are interested in this idea of refugees and innovations. How can people get involved. 

[00:28:47] I think first and foremost Yeah I just want to say that voting matters. The elected officials that we put into office really shape the policies that affect refugees lives an effective moment in getting engaged politically is absolutely crucial. I think it’s also important if you’ve got even more time and energy to get involved and help support refugees in most of the countries that we see there are refugees migrants asyum seekers. Because of that you can support and help integrate into your communities in the United States where the IRC resettles refugees you can reach out and volunteer and engage with refugees to help them integrate and support them in their transition. There’s a lot of innovation happening in the sector right now and that’s absolutely crucial. And there’s a number of prizes hackathons, ideas boards where anybody whatever they’re thinking can kind of come and contribute their thoughts on how to address this moment. It’s a great way to plug it intellectually. 

[00:29:54] One of the things that I’ve been doing. 

Creativity for Good


“Well, the fundamentals are that we believe creativity drives awareness in a far stronger way than any other approach you can use.” – Terry Savage, Chairman of the Cannes Lions

The Sustainable Development Goals have excited the creative industry – fierce rivals in marketing and communications have found common ground to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.  Because of the broad range of issues and necessary advancements touched upon by these 17 Global Goals, every brand, agency, and creative can weave purpose into their narrative and directly influence their consumers, regardless of their product or solution.  The creative industry has the ability to widen perspectives and speak to the hearts and minds of the people, positively altering consumer behavior related to each goal. Purpose-driven campaigns, creative expressions, and recognized influencers has the unlimited potential to inspire action and progress towards advancing a better world. The Sustainable Development Goals Lions have been introduced to celebrate examples of successful implementation of this potential.

In this episode, Global GoalsCast will explore the stories behind the partnerships that have resulted in some surprising changes in consumer behaviour. 

In preparation for the festival and the historic, inaugural year of the Sustainable Development Goals Lion Awards, this episode of Global GoalsCast to further examine how the SDG Lion Awards and initiatives by creative forces, such as SAWA, are increasing attention on the Global Goals. Partnerships forged for good are partnerships that create positive change and are key to advancing the SDGs, humanizing all people, and generating positive impact on a global scale. We all have a role to play in building a better world by 2030.

Featured guests

David Griner

David Griner is Adweek magazine’s Creativity and Innovation Editor. He has been covering the advertising world for more than a decade and previously spent eight years working in the creative department of an ad agency. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and is the host of Adweek’s weekly podcast, “Yeah, That’s Probably an Ad.”

Terry Savage

Terry Savage is Chairman of Cannes Lions, the world’s leading celebration of creativity in communications. Prior to his appointment in 2003 as CEO of Cannes Lions, Terry Savage, an Australian national, was Executive Chairman of the global cinema advertising company Val Morgan, in Australia. Under his leadership, Val Morgan expanded from Australia into New Zealand, USA, South America, Middle East and Asia. During this time he was also President of the International advertising trade body SAWA (Screen Advertising World Association). Terry was the Australian representative for Cannes Lions for 15 years and during this period, promoted Australian creativity at the international event.

Nicolle Fagan

Nicolle is a One Young World ambassador and a co-founder of the Palau Legacy Project, which created and launched the award-winning Palau Pledge campaign in December 2017. She specializes in marketing & communications and has a passion for creating campaigns for social good. Prior to her time in Palau, Nicolle worked in advertising at Arnold Worldwide. She currently lives in Boston with her husband and young daughter, and she works as Marketing Director for the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Health at the New England Aquarium.

Cheryl Wannell

Cheryl Wannell joined SAWA in 2003 when she relocated to London and in 2006 returned to Australia and now runs the Secretariat from the Sydney. In 2004 she became General Manager and subsequently in 2017 became CEO and is responsible for running the Global Trade body. Previously, Cheryl worked for 20 years with Val Morgan Cinema Advertising based in Australia and was at the time of relocating to London was Managing Director Worldwide. Her background is in Marketing, Sales and Business Management. In 2015, SAWA and the global cinema advertising companies launched the first ever Global Cinema ad and as a medium became a supporter to promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals to the core global cinema audiences of millennials and Generation Z. Cheryl drives this initiative as part of her role at SAWA.

Amina Mohammed

Ms. Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria is the current Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.  Previously, she was Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from November 2015 to December 2016, where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action, protecting the natural environment and conserving resources for sustainable development. Prior to this, she served as Special Adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning, where she was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals. 


[00:00:00] Terry Savage Well, the fundamentals are that we believe creativity drives awareness in a far stronger way than any other approach you can use.

[00:00:10] Misc One day a giant came to visit our home…

[00:00:14] Nicolle why can’t we take the same practices that caused behavior change from a business perspective and apply that to environmental activism or an environmental campaign…

[00:00:24] Announcer The United Nations has launched a plan to fight poverty, injustice, and climate change…

[00:00:36] EGL Welcome to the Global GoalsCast

[00:00:39] CRE The Podcast that explores if we can change the world  

[00:00:42] EGL   We want to inspire you to join us. I’m Edie Lush

[00:00:46] CRE … and I’m Claudia Romo Edelman

[00:00:50] Credit Thank to HARMAN, the official sound of Global GoalsCast

[00:00:57] EGL this episode is about creativity for good– why it’s so important that the skillsets of the creative industry and honed to solve the most challenges issues of our time, and why it matters so much to win the hearts and minds of people in order to make a difference.

[00:01:12] CRE We want to shine the light on major campaigns happening around the Sustainable Development Goals.  We want to show that there is a market for good stories as more consumers are buying with their beliefs. We want to make the case for more brands and marketers to get involved in making a difference.  So this episode, we will cover a number of very interesting cases. I will be telling you about how we’re launching a major new awards initiative at Cannes called ‘The SDG Lion Awards’.

[00:01:43] EGL: And we’ll be talking about how the seeds of some really exciting projects were actually sewn in Cannes, among them “Common Ground” – an unprecedented commitment by the marketing and communications industry to put aside their usual fierce rivalry in order to support the Sustainable Development Goals.

[00:02:00] CRE: We will take an example of how the creative industry, combined with some enterprising people from the archipelago of Palau, have worked together to create a groundbreaking pledge that everyone visiting the country now has to sign.

[00:02:16] EGL: It’s a promise that all tourists have to make, right?

[00:02:19] CRE: A promise to be good environmental stewards for the duration of your stay. We will hear more about that later.

[00:02:27] EGL: Also today on the Global GoalsCast, we have an creative industry insider, David Griner, he joins us from New York. He’s the Creative and Innovation Editor of Adweek. He’s a busy guy and part of his role is to overseeing Adweek’s very popular  podcast “Yeah that’s probably an ad.”

[00:02:45] DG: Very happy to be here!

[00:02:46]  CRE : I like the title of your podcast – “Yeah, that’s probably an ad”  it implies for me that advertisers are getting smarter about how they put their messages across ….  David, in this podcast we always give away interesting pieces of data to show off with your mother in law and some ACTIONS that you can take.

[00:03:03] DG: Yeah, I love that, bringing practicality to some of this is really important cause this is, these are big goals, as I’m sure you talk about on each episode and it’s really important to show people how these things come to life in the real world.

[00:03:16] EGL So we’re going to come back to you in just a minute, David, cause I know that you are also going to be in Cannes.  But first of all, Claudia, the Cannes Lions advertising festival, you’ve been a regular delegate there, tell me a bit about it.

[00:03:29] CRE: The advertisement festival has been going on forever, 50 years, but over the last 5-7 years I think change improved dramatically, and the industry itself, I mean it’s reflecting what the industry itself has changed about.  So, when I started going, it was a little bit like the series ‘Mad Men’ where I could see all the agency people and getting the creatives from there, and then all of the sudden, BAM, you have creative created by countries, like Mexico, or by technology companies, like Facebook and Instagram, they are competing for the same pot. So, it shows that creativity somehow belongs to everybody, particularly because technology has allowed us to have access to new tools that make more people creative.  But there is one thing that is clear to me, if you are a creative, the Cannes Lion is the Oscar prize that you want to win in your lifetime.

[00:04:26] EGL:   So why is it called Cannes Lion?

[00:04:49] CRE:  Well, the first festival took place in Venice and the awards took their name from the lion of the piazza de San Marco. It then alternated between Venice and Cannes until 1984 when it finally settled in Cannes.  

[00:04:43] EGL: It’s now huge, right?

[00:04:45] CRE: It is.  It’s five days of discussions, arguments, laughter, tears with some of the most creative people around. But mostly, it’s about the competition between the best creative pieces in the world.  This year, there will be over 1600 delegates from industry superstars to musicians, actresses, formerly the Smiths, CEO of Youtube, etc

[00:05:12] EGL: And this is an important year for you as well, Claudia, right?

[00:05:16] CRE This is the most important Cannes Lion Awards that I probably will witness ever. This is the time in which the SDG Lion Awards will be launched and created for the first time.

[00:05:27] EGL:  Claudia, remind our listeners what’s behind the Sustainable Development Goals and why we have them.

[00:05:32] CRE: The Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals, as we call them, are the masterplan for the people and its planet It is 17 goals ratified by more than 193 countries after 5 years of negotiation.  There is no plan B but there is no planet B either! And this is the time to act. We are the first generation that can eradicate extreme poverty for the world. We are the last generation that can stop the impact of climate change. And this is the first time in history that we can elevate the playing field for all.  But in order to make the Sustainable Development Goals happen, everybody needs to play a role and get involved. And that is why creativity and communication is so critical to penetrate the zeitgeist of the people.

So here is Terry Savage, or Savage, who is the Chairman of the Cannes Lions telling me about the important role that creativity plays in spreading the word about the goals.

[00:06:38] TS:  The fundamentals are that we believe creativity drives awareness in a far stronger way than any other approach you can use. In terms of the Sustainable Development Goals, what we have done, we have created a category that will award—by goal—a lion, and in that way we’ll enable people to focus very specifically on entering the awards, this particular category, by specific goals. So we’ll have a climate change lion. Will have a hunger lion. And that will give a lot of focus to people to create work that is very creative, to create a greater awareness level.

[00:07:23] EGL Terry Savage from the Cannes Lions there. Claudia, You were part of the the driving force that created these awards. Why did you think they were so important to create?

[00:07:31] CRE There are so many reasons, Edie. First of all, because we do have this historic master plan and It is a great framework.  And it’s a great framework for governments and for you know like industry, but you know also for the advertisement industry or a festival like Cannes.  So when I was part of the announcement of Common Ground, I went to talk to the organizers and I said, Listen, this is a great framework, we should use it to organize your creative industries that are related to purpose, social causes, and I think that by doing that, you not only are oging to have some framework and some structure  to put education to compete with education entries and the girls to girls, as opposed to girls compared to toothpaste or so on. But at the same time, it is an incredible incentive for the industry to have an award that ideally incentivizes them to create more of those type of entries.

The data is very clear The 2017 Edelman Brand Study shows that 60% of Millennials buy with their beliefs.  This isn’t just in the US where 47% of consumers are belief driven, its actually higher in China (73%) and India (65%) consumers. Consumers want brands to speak up and have a position

[00:08:31] EGL So, David, you  have been watching this industry for awhile, how do you think the SDG Awards fit into the wider advertising industry and what impact do you think they are going to have?

[00:08:40] DAVID: Well, as Claudia said, these are the Oscars of advertising.  To win one of these is basically the highest honor you can hope to get if you’re in advertising.  And so, when they add a new award, and Cannes certainly has added different Lions over the years, you know Creative Data and you know these ones, but those aren’t quite as exciting as when they create one like the Titanium Lions that recognize emerging types of marketing that doesn’t quite fit into any category.  And then most notably, the Glass Lion, which are specifically for campaigns and ideas that help empower women. And those Glass Lions really elevated the discussion of gender balance and equality and empowerment. The impact was very noticeable and very immediate. And now you’ve seen campaigns like fearless girl go on to win Glass Lions and become these big international discussion points.  Creating this award, it’s not something Cannes does lightly and it will bring a lot of spotlight to some really great initiatives.

[00:09:36] EGL So in case people haven’t heard of the fearless girl, it is a statue, right? Of a girl in her power pose.

[00:09:43] DAVID: Yeah, she was placed on international Women’s Day about a year ago facing down the charging bull, the famous charging bull of Wall Street.

[00:09:50] EGL Just so I can be clear, cause I’m not the expert here, are you guys both arguing that this could make the industry, and by industry we mean technology companies, we mean countries, we mean advertising agencies, creative companies in general, get more involved into purpose-driven campaigns?

[00:10:07] DG I believe it can.  I think anything you do that  basically says there is value in doing marketing for good, because there are, to be honest very limited opportunities for advertisers to be awarded for that. There is a lot of debate  within the ad industry about how many pro bono, how many nonprofit, how many causes you should be embracing because we are here to help clients, we are here to make money. And you know, Cannes has traditionally only given one grand prie, it’s their biggest award, the biggest thing you can win at Cannes is the Grand Prix, and they give it out quite a few of them, but thye only give out one to work for nonprofits or for causes.  And so that has been a real limitation in my mind. But the whole point of that is that they want to say ‘Oh, cause marketing is easy, anybody can do cause marketing that powerful. Doing work for a carpet company or a toothpaste, that’s hard!’ And I disagree with that fundamentally and I think that this is a good turn of events to create more opportunities to show that initiatives that accomplish this kind of greater good, that they should be celebrated and that they can be celebrated at festivals like Cannes.


[00:11:13] EGL OK so now we’re going to turn to a story, born at Cannes, and it’s led to the normally fiercely competitive advertising agencies working together for the common good. Claudia, tell me about Common Ground.

[00:11:25] CRE I love Common Ground and it was really, for me, one of the key things that I saw happening as a result of the Sustainable Development Goals being born, which was that the 6 advertisement agencies that normally compete fiercely, as you just said, decided to start a dialogue and let’s put down our differences and for once create a campaign of the campaigns.  Let’s create Common Ground and use the power that we have to advance the one goal that we have. And Common Ground was created and incentivized, by the industry, supported by the United Nations. I happened to be part of the Secretary-General’s office at that time. And I cannot tell you how important, how emotional I was when I was sitting in the audience of the Cannes Advertisement Festival in 2016, seeing the heads of the 6 advertisement agencies together with the Secretary-General where he said ‘ this ring that you see, this ring that has 17 colors that represent this is the logo of the Sustainable Development Goals, make it big, make it like a ring for the Olympics.  Make it symbolize, if the Olympic ring symbolized the best of sport, make this ring of the SDGs symbolize the best of humanity.’ I still get chills.

This podcast is produced by the We Are All Human Foundation, an organization that aims to advance equity, inclusion, and representation in a world where divisive language is getting traction, where we are forgetting that we belong to the same human family, and where the sustainable development goals can never be achieved if we don’t recognize that we are simply one.  That we are all human. Creativity matters in this sense because it is the one tool that is able to open the doors and open the hearts and the minds of the people regardless of where they are. We’re aiming to see a creative industry that is more inclusive, that brings more people that have not been able to have the chance to show their creativity to the world, of making the world a better place through communication. I am sure that festivals like the Cannes Advertisement Festival, will have increasing numbers and efforts to bring Hispanics, African-Americans, Africans, people from different regions around the world, to show what they can do the ideas that they have, be represented in festivals for creativity, particularly if it’s under the Sustainable Development Goals Lion Awards incentives.

[00:14:25] EGL You’re listening to the Global GoalsCast. Thank you for being with us. If you’ve joined us before you’ll know that in the first of our green miniseries we heard how remote islands are some of the first to be affected by climate change, caused by industrialisation on the other side of the world. But on the tiny Pacific island nation of Palau the problem is even more urgent. Palau is my idea of paradise, a beautiful island set in turquoise sea. But the sea level around its 700 islands has risen by about 9mm a year since 1993, almost three times the global average rate.

[00:15:03] CRE: But Palau has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to conservation. In 2015, they created the world’s sixth largest marine sanctuary. And last year, they came up with an amazing idea. Picture the scene; you are about to land in Palau and an in-flight movie comes on…….

[00:15:27] CLIP One day, a giant came to visit our home.  He stomped on our reefs, gobbled up our precious animals, took fruit from our gardens, even stuffed his pockets with turtle shells…

[00:15:50] Nicolle: The Palau pledge is a pledge that every visitor to Palau must take when they enter the country when they prior to leaving their country

[00:15:56] CLIP The children of Palau, I take this pledge as your guest, to preserve and protect your beautiful and unique island home.  I vow to tread lightly, act kindly, and explore mindfully.

[00:16:11] Nicolle: When they’re actually in the air, they’ll watch an in-flight video which briefs them about the Palau Pledge and then when they get to Palau they will sign the  pledge as part of official immigration process for their entry into the country. And the Palau Pledge is a promise that they’re going to make to the children of Palau that they’ll do the right thing for the country for the sake of the children’s future.

[00:16:34] EGL Nicole Fagan there, part of the team that came up with the Palau Pledge campaign, and a One Young World Ambassador, one of our partners.  I love that idea, and this more than just a clever promotional gimmick. It’s officially part of Palau’s immigration process, having the pledge itself stamped in your passport.

[00:16:53] CLIP I think it’s important we sign the Palau Pledge to preserve the environment and show our commitment so everyone knows about the fragility of the nature here / I hope my children can see the beautiful place one day as I see today / At first I was surprised to have to do it. It’s not something I’ve ever had to do in any other country before but it really does make you think about what actions you can do to help protect the environment. And I think it’s a great idea for other countries to follow / Especially in places like Palau where their livelihood their culture, pretty much the economy of the island depends on it.  I personally feel that President Remengesau was doing a great thing by inventing this pledge.

[00:17:39] CLIP: Thomas Remengesau Jr The ocean is like a sick person. So we do have to partner in the challenge to not only restore the damages but really to prevent the environment from being further destroyed or damaged. And to do this we have to do a partnership with a tourist and visitors to Palau.

[00:17:58] EGL Some of Palau’s visitors and Palau’s president Thomas Remengesau  talking about the pledge. Nicolle Fagan told me how living sustainably isn’t a new thing for Palauans.

[00:18:08] Nicolle They’re very aware of the issues facing their environment because they’re so dependent on it. As a tiny island nation, they rely on their natural resources so much from the fish to the land to everything in between. And they’re so acutely affected by climate change that they’ve really had to be sustainably minded,  from when you know we weren’t thinking about sustainability Palauans have been living sustainably.

[00:18:34] CRE But whilst Palauans themselves know the importance of taking care of their environment, tourists, which are so vital to the area’s economy, aren’t always so knowledgeable and can disrespect and harm the delicate natural and living ecosystem through ignorance. Nicolle here again…..

[00:18:53] Nicole And we’ve really looked at the core problem being a lack of education among our incoming tourists and if we could figure out how we could educate them then perhaps we could have an influence on how they behaved while they were here in  Palau. We put together a brief and we started reaching out to our friends and we said we need help with this problem and we know that creatively we can solve it. And one of the friends that came back to us was the agency Havas Australia. The passport stamp was in early you know right away that was an early idea that we were excited about we were excited because they kind of nailed an opportunity that we hadn’t thought of as as our core group so we thought that this was just a really great partnership. We really believe in the power of an amazing idea. And while we know that of course the four of us could come up with great ideas, an agency like Havas that’s their bread and butter. That’s what they do. They come up with groundbreaking ideas. So you know while they might be traditionally used to sell more Jack Daniels why can’t we look at you know influencing behavior to prevent people from throwing their trash on the ground or stepping on coral. So we brought them in because we knew that they could bring to life these amazing ideas. And it’s a new approach for a country for Palao and people would be open to it because it’s kind of a new way of thinking about it.

[00:20:12] DG So I think what’s a great example about the Palau Pledge is that advertising effectiveness is often measured by, what they call, impressions, which is everytime one of us sees an ad, that’s called an impression. I’ve actually seen it.  You could make the best idea in the world but if no one sees it, people are going to say ‘Aw well that just wasn’t really effective’. What’s different about this example is that everyone who needs to see it, sees it. You’re going to see it, you’re going to see the in-flight video that we heard, you’re going to see it on your flight in, you’re going to literally have the pledge stamped onto your passport into your visas and you’re going to have the sign it.  And so that is the easiest ad campaign I’ve ever heard of to measure because everyone that comes in is going to see it. If more campaigns can think of ways to innovate where it’s not about how many ad dollars you put into promoting this thing in ads around the world, it’s about making it where it is integrated into what you do, and Palau has done a fantastic job of that. I think agencies are really going to take that lesson to heart.

[00:21:05] EGL and I love that kids play such an important role in this story.

[00:21:09] NicoleWe got the kids involved to help write the pledge. We’ve had kids involved at every step of the way. And as a Phase 2 of the project over the course of the next two years, we’re actually going to be taking the Palau Pledge and bringing it into the Palau curriculum in some way. We want to make sure that the plow pledge isn’t just something that is a campaign targeting tourists but it’s something that becomes ingrained in Palauian culture moving forward.

[00:21:36] CGE This is a perfect example of the importance  of enabling children, young people and the larger community to participate and have a direct voice in the development, implementation and evaluation of policies, and laws that affect communities. Young people are the foundation for effective development, and if we engage them, they will improve many of the structural development challenges that we’re facing today.

[00:22:02] EGL So this is a brilliant campaign that by the way, our partner One Young World alerted us to, connects so well with the theme of our show. You have people in Palau, who have worked for generations to look after their island, but with a real need for new creative ideas that go beyond what they’ve already done.


[00:22:23] Now, from the small screen of an in-flight movie to the wide-screen of the movie theatr. SAWA may not be a name you are familiar with, but if you’ve been to the cinema there is a good chance you’ve seen their work.

[00:22:34] CRE Yes, SAWA, the Global Cinema Advertising Association, actually set up the Cannes Lion Festival over 60 years ago. Their main job is helping advertisers and agencies get their campaigns on to huge cinema screens. Now they are helping to make the Sustainable Development Goals famous by creating big budget cinema ads and get them everywhere.  One of the most memorable call to actions on behalf of the UN and the goals was created by SAWA. Here’s SAWA’s Cheryl Wannell

[00:23:11]Cheryl Well SAWA brought John Hegarty to the table, and Richard Curtis, famous film director as I’ve said, worked together on the on the creative idea with Aardman Studios who are Wallace and Gromit fame, and they made this ad. We ran it in thirty five countries around the world. We reached 100 million people. But, in a retentive way, in an intrusive way. Not a passive way. And we then got Nielsen (the big research company out of New York) to do a case study, and we got incredible recall that, when we actually saw the results we actually didn’t believe it. We got one in three people recalled the ad “We Have A Plan” with all these animals set in the General Assembly in the United Nations, and one in three people recalled it after seeing it once, one week later on cinema. It’s almost unheard of recall which is amazing.

[00:24:10]CLIP We have a plan, the Global Goals for people and planet. To end poverty, to fight inequalities, and to defeat climate change. And I am proud to announce, the plan is agreed by everyone. The United Nations has launched a plan to fight poverty, injustice, and climate change.  Tell everyone. Join us at

[00:24:50]CRE Overall for me, the big question is what would it take to see more creativity for good, to see more of those goals stamped into the creative briefs of every agency and everyone working in creativity? What would it take to have that incredible ring, the symbol of the best of humanity that is represented on the Global Goals seen on the back the cereal boxes and everywhere around the world? What would it take? How do we make the case for creativity for good?

[00:25:23]David I think the answer to your questions is the clients.  That when agencies, they dedicate as much time as they can into efforts for nonprofits that maybe can’t pay that much or maybe can’t pay them anything, they give as much of their time as they honestly can to those projects and these awards, like at Cannes, give them a lot of publicity to help, but it doesn’t really pay the bills.  You know this kind of work often is something they are doing out of passion. I think things will change when the clients, the brands, the global brands especially, really can buy into these and not just say, of course they are all going to say that they agree with the goals, but when they really get earnestly true about it, when you see those executives coming to Cannes and saying ‘I’m going to make a commitment, this amount of my budget is going to go towards supporting these goals.’  That’s when the agencies will breathe a sigh of relief and say ‘great! We will do even more and spend more of our time and we’ll put our best talent on it.’

[00:26:15] CRE But clients will move with consumers, isn’t it? So it’s all about where you start the cycle because if consumers buy products that have a good heart and a good brand, even if they sometimes are more expensive, if they are green, if they are environmental or whatever, organic, where do you start?

[00:26:33]David We’ve seen time after time that there is data showing that there are consumers, especially millennial consumers and moving into Gen Z, that they really do appreciate when brands share their values and sometimes that gets political but often times it’s just showing that they have a commitment, and an earnest commitment, again not just a PR line of ‘yes, we love the planet and we want to help the planet’ but you’re actually doing something, you’re actually making a commitment.  Those brands have proven to be more effective with their consumers and i think they are trying to find more agency partners who can help them grow even bigger in that space and do more good in the world.

[00:27:06] EGL So do you see a tipping point, cause we know that things change once the ship starts to turn, there’s sort of nothing that will stop it.  Do you see things changing?

[00:27:18]David I think every year that I go to Cannes, and Claudia’s probably seen the same thing, is these initiatives, this kind of work, becomes a little less fringe and a little more on the main stage.  I think the examples, she’s given of bringing together all the holding companies that own the vast majority of advertising agencies in the world and having them on one stage saying ‘We share a belief in this cause that cause’ those make a difference. I think over the years, we’ve really seen that these companies that are driven by profit and really are focused on the bottom line, that they are starting to spend more time thinking about the greater good.  These tipping points they don’t happen in one year, it’s not like everyone says, you know overnight everyone just gets it but we see that these causes that when on the main stage at Cannes they say ‘Oh, this is what my clients want, this is what the people want, this is what my industry is doing, I’m going to do more of it, you know I’m going to be a leader in this space’ and i think we’re seeing more of that in the last few years.

[00:28:16] CRE And I would like to conclude from this, that yes, we’re making progress, yes we’re in the right path, yes we celebrate the SDG Lion Awards and SAWA and Common Ground for trying, yes we celebrate the UN Agencies and everyone that is working on this field to try to open up and partner more and we want to celebrate brands and companies to look even more for their consumers that are growing into buying with their beliefs.  Because if we continue working in this direction, we will make the change.

[00:28:49] EGL So we’re now at the point in the show where we give you some actions that you can go and take.  Claudia, what’s the first one?

[00:28:56] CRE Action #1: Palau Pledge – go and sign it at   Anyone can sign to show their support.

[00:29:05] EGL Leonardo DiCaprio signed it, and in fact, I signed it the other day. So David, do you have an action that our listeners can take or a message to the industry?

[00:29:13]David I have a little of both. I would say if you’re just not in the advertising industry but you want to help encourage brands, to Claudia’s point, they listen to consumers. So if you haven’t taken the time to thank a brand, a company, that you think is doing something commendable, take the time on social media, especially just to send them a note saying ‘I really appreciate this’ because, believe it or not, you’d think they just get so many messages that they don’t see it but they see those and those messages do get back to the people that matter.  I would say within the industry, I would encourage folks at the agency level to be proactive. Clients love it when agencies are proactive and bringing more information, new information to them, to help shaped their marketing efforts. I would say take the time to go over and introduce them to the Global Goals and make sure that they understand why this is important to your agency and why you think it’s important to brands and why you think it’s part of a larger movement within the industry. I think that kind of one presentation could end up yielding a lot of benefits over the long term.

[00:30:10]CRE My third action for today is for the creative industry.  Alright creative industry, badge your creative briefs. Stamp them with the logo of the SDGs.  Add into it, if the client is not asking you to do anything related to the SDGs, try to find a way to badge your creative brief with the SDG lens.

[00:30:35]Edie We’ve got an extra action in this episode that comes from a collaboration between Common Ground, we talked about them earlier in the episode, and Google, inspired by the idea that exponential change can be made possible through repeating little actions by the largest generation on earth, Gen Z. The project invites participants to share their stories, actions, and changes on YouTube.  Here’s Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammad, talking about Little X Little.

[00:31:02]AM Young people are part of the largest generation in history, 2 billion strong.  Your passionate, connected, informed, and you care deeply about our world. Right now, our world needs action, for gender equality, for the environment, for decent job, secure communities, and so much more.  We have a blueprint for a better world, the Sustainable Development Goals. Around the globe, young people are coming together to build a movement for success, they call it LIttle X Little. It’s based on a power notion. Yes, we face a number of big problems, but we can start fixing them through a lot of small actions. So listen up.  You are one of 2 billion young people. If each one of you takes action, you will create a wave of change that this world has never ever seen. Join the mission. Be part of 2 billion acts for good. Because step by step, little by little, we will get to a better world. Together, let’s get the job done.

[00:32:05]Edie Amina Mohammed there talking about the COmmon Ground Google Campaign, Little x Little.  Search for it on YouTube.

So now, we’re going to give you some data to take away that you can look really smart with your mother-in-law at Sunday lunch, 2017 Edelman Brand Study shows that 60% of Millennials worldwide say that they buy with their beliefs. They will buy your brand, buy more of it, switch from it, avoid it and at the extreme, boycott it over your stance on a controversial or social issue. This is now the new normal. This is why right after the incident in Philadelphia, where two African Americans were arrested in Starbucks for asking to use the bathroom, reacted so swiftly with a day of unconscious bias education.

[00:32:53] CRE This isn’t just in the US where 47% of consumers are belief driven, its actually higher in China (73%) and India (65%) consumers.

The good news is that a lot of companies see this as an opportunity because they realize that consumers will use their brand as a statement of what that they personally care about.

Before we go, thank you, David, where can we listen to your podcast?

[00:33:20] David We our podcast for Ad Week is call ‘Yeah, that’s probably an ad’ it comes out every week, usually on Mondays, and you can find it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher, or Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts, same as you guys!

[00:33:32] EGL Thank you so much, David, for joining us. 

[00:33:35] CRE That was Edie Lush, and I am Claudia Romo Edelman. See you next time!

A Sustainable Future But Also Trillions of Dollars of Opportunity


Co-hosts Mustafa Alrawi and Edie Lush of Global GoalsCast discuss the Sustainable Development Goals which are large-scale, ambitious and inspiring. They are also changing the way we seek out investment opportunities as we move to meet this defined future with over $12 trillion up for grabs for the private sector according to the UNDP.

The podcast was produced as part of The National’s Future Forum initiative which over the next year will examine how advancements in technology and societal developments will impact our future, and also coincides with The National’s tenth anniversary.


Weekly, from The National’s newsroom in Abu Dhabi, the Business Extra podcast provides insight and additional analysis on the biggest business, economic and finance stories affecting us here as well as the wider region and the world. Find us on Apple Podcasts as well as our website Follow on twitter and all social media channels.

The National was founded in 2008, setting a new standard for quality journalism in the Middle East. 

Each day The National reaches an influential, English-speaking audience to deliver the latest in news, business, arts, culture, lifestyle and sports, while leading the region in analytical content and commentary.

Featured Guests

Mustafa Alrawi

Mustafa Alrawi, a British national of Iraqi descent, is the current Business Editor of Abu Dhabi-based The National newspaper. A journalist and editor with sixteen years of experience in the UK and the Middle East, Mustafa is an expert in business and finance. His work has been published in The Guardian, The Independent, Lebanon’s Daily Star and Esquire Middle East. He has also consulted for UAE and GCC clients across a number of sectors including banking & finance, real estate, oil & gas, telecoms, technology and the environment. He is an accomplished public speaker and a published novelist.

Mona Hammami

Mona Hammami is a senior director at the Office of Strategic Affairs, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court. Her role includes analyzing social and economic developments, globally and locally, and drafting publications and white papers to influence policy making. Prior to joining the Crown Prince Court, she was a lead associate at Booz & Company as part of the public sector practice team focusing on a wide range of issues including: social and labor policies, macroeconomic policy, governance frameworks, organizational restructuring, agriculture policy reform, and structuring Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). 

Reuben Abraham

Dr. Reuben Abraham is CEO and Senior Fellow at IDFC Institute, a think/do tank set up by India’s largest infrastructure finance company. He is also on IDFC Institute’s Executive Council. IDFC Institute’s focus is on the political, economic, and spatial causes and consequences of, and obstacles to, India’s ongoing transformation from a low income, state led economy to a market based democracy, a journey many emerging markets share. He is also a non-resident scholar at the Urbanization Project at New York University’s Stern School of Business. 

Robert & Barney Swan


Green Miniseries Part II: The Commitment


‘This ice was melting 4 months before it ever had melted and it was terrifying.  That, for me, was the beginning of saying ‘this is happening!’ Robert Swan

In celebration of Earth Day, Global GoalsCast will release the second episode of the Green Miniseries. In this episode, join veteran explorer,  Robert Swan on the bottom of the earth where we find him not elated, but heartbroken. He’s just discovered his boat has sunk, leaving him $1.2 million in debt and reneging on his promise to look after Antarctica.  

Robert’s exploration of the South Pole takes place the same year the hole in the ozone is discovered above the continent and the human impact on the stratosphere is beginning to be understood.  Global GoalsCast hosts explore the current ozone layer repair efforts and are joined by British Antarctic Survey’s Jon Shanklin – part of the team who discovered the hole in the Ozone layer – and Nathan Kurtz – of NASA’s IceBridge project documenting the glacial retreat – to dig into the realities that fueled Robert’s crusade.  

Travel with us to discover the surprising friendship, born of Robert’s obsession with Captain Scott, that restores his grit and determination to erase his debt, make good on his commitment to the southern continent, and become the first man to walk to both the North and the South Poles. Then, meet Barney, Robert’s son, and hear how climate action strengthens their relationship as they create a personal mission to protect the planet, together.

Featured guests

Robert Swan

Robert Swan is the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles. His leadership and determination made his 900 mile journey to the South Pole, the longest unassisted march in history. He was awarded the Polar Medal by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth.

Robert is a polar explorer, a leader in energy innovation and founder of the 2041 Foundation. This story of unbelievable spirit will take you on a journey of inspiration, courage and humility. Robert committed to his dream at the age of 11, achieved it with a team after 22 years and is now, on a 50 year mission to help preserve Antarctica.

Barney Swan

Barney Swan was born in London, United Kingdom, and then moved to tropical Far North Queensland, Australia at the age of 7. Being raised off grid in Australia helped him developed an acute understanding of how valuable energy is, with conveniences often not being an option. With degrees in Business and Multimedia, Barney now lives and works in California, co-directing 2041’s expeditions and ventures. Over the last 5 years, he has applied and trained skills in outdoor leadership, team management, & project strategy.

Nathan Kurtz

Nathan Kurtz received the B.S. degree in Physics from Iowa State University in 2004, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Atmospheric Physics from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in 2007 and 2009, respectively. He joined the Cryospheric Sciences Branch in the Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2013. His research interests are in remote sensing of the polar regions with an emphasis on the use radar and laser altimetry data. He is currently the IceBridge Project Scientist and is the principle investigator responsible for the production of the IceBridge community sea ice data products.

Jonathan Shanklin

Born in Wrexham, and educated at King’s School, Chester, Jonathan Shanklin has worked for the British Antarctic Survey since 1977 after graduating from Cambridge University. In the early 1980s he was instrumental in the discovery of the Antarctic Ozone Hole with Joe Farman and Brian Gardiner. He has made 20 visits to the Antarctic and received the Polar Medal in 2006. Other interests include amateur astronomy, where he is an expert on comets, and botany, where he is county recorder for Cambridgeshire.

Additional Resources

Photo credit: British Antarctic Survey.

Click to view: The first comprehensive study of snowfall across Antarctica provides vital information in the study of future sea-level rise.

Photo: Dr Liz Thomas, lead author, measuring ice cores in the field. The study analysed 79 ice cores collected from across Antarctica revealing a 10% increase in snowfall over the last 200 years.


Coming Soon!

Our first blog post

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Green Miniseries Part I: The Promise


‘The draw was the place itself, the tragedy, the drama, the story, the diaries of Scott.  There is no edge, there are no lies because it wants you dead.’ Robert Swan

Approximately 61% of all fresh water on the Earth is held in Antarctica.  The melting ice in Antarctica is a symptom of global warming, which impacts sea levels around the world. This treacherous, yet invaluable place, is the setting for the Green Miniseries as we follow the history and present day expeditions of explorers Robert and Barney Swan across Antarctica, and spreading the message about the importance of climate action to curb climate change.  This series begins with World Water Day, continues past Earth Day, until Ocean’s Day. 

In Part I of this miniseries, take a detailed look at the amazing career of veteran explorer, Robert Swan.  Listen and passionately experience how human vulnerability reflects the Earth’s fragility as this episode touches on the experiences of his previous expeditions to the North and South poles (he was the first explorer to reach both Poles) and the inspiration that these experiences played on his growing passion towards climate action and the preservation of Antarctica.  During this episode, Robert also reflects on the experiences, both the successes and failures, of great historical explorer Robert Falcon Scott who attempted a journey to the South Pole in the early 20th century.  Throughout the episode, hear how the impact of climate change affects Antarctica and the rest of the planet, from sea levels rising in Fiji to commercial extinction threatening the global shrimp population.

Featured guests

Robert Swan

Robert Swan is the first person to have walked to both the North and South Poles. His leadership and determination made his 900 mile journey to the South Pole, the longest unassisted march in history. He was awarded the Polar Medal by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth.

Robert is a polar explorer, a leader in energy innovation and founder of the 2041 Foundation. This story of unbelievable spirit will take you on a journey of inspiration, courage and humility. Robert committed to his dream at the age of 11, achieved it with a team after 22 years and is now, on a 50 year mission to help preserve Antarctica.

Adam Baukus

As a Research Associate at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Adam’s work focuses on marine fisheries. He studies the distribution, abundance and behavior of a variety of finfish and shellfish species, such as cod, monkfish, herring and shrimp. The projects he works on are interdisciplinary so he works with a diverse group of people and we apply what we learn to things like fishing gear design to reduce bycatch, increase our understanding of ecological systems and increased knowledge and opportunities in seafood marketing.

Colles Stowell

A seafood-loving New Orleans native, Colles brings passion and dedication to classrooms, restaurants and communities as he discusses the myriad issues affecting seafood systems. He launched the non-profit One Fish Foundation in 2015 to talk to students of all ages about such critical issues as how seafood is harvested or farmed, climate change impacts on marine ecosystems, and fisheries management policies. The One Fish Foundation mission is to ensure students, their parents, consumers and local communities understand that where their seafood comes from, how and when it was harvested and even by whom matters.

Tom Perry

Tom Perry has worked for over ten years telling stories from across East-Asia and the Pacific, including four in the Solomon Islands as part of the Pacific’s largest peacekeeping/development operation, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI). Tom is currently the World Bank’s Team Leader for Pacific Communications where he has led the production of the World Bank’s Virtual Reality (VR) storytelling initiatives. Tom previously worked for humanitarian organization CARE International, leading CARE’s media and communications responses to disasters and humanitarian crises in South Sudan and Vanuatu.

Additional Resources


[00:00:00] Robert Swan: The draw was the place itself.  The tragedy, the drama, the story, the diaries of Scott…

[00:00:10] Robert Falcon Scott: The eternal silence of the great white desert…

[00:00:13] RS: It was my first proper expedition…

[00:00:15] RScott: Cloudy columns of snowdrift advancing from the South…

[00:00:18] RS: The place itself has a fascination for me.

[00:00:21] RScott: Pale yellow grates held in the coming storm

[00:00:24] RS: There is no edge, there are no lies because it wants you dead…

[00:00:41] Edie Gorman Lush: Welcome to the Global GoalsCast.

[00:00:43] Claudia Romo Edelman: The Podcast that explores if we can change the world.

[00:00:46] EGL: This episode is the first in our Green Mini-Series, that we’re airing from Water Day to Earth Day to Ocean Day. 

[00:00:52] CRE: The whole series is about Robert and Barney Swan, Father and Son.

[00:00:56] EGL: I really wish I had a penny for every time I’ve heard you say that.

[00:00:59] CRE: I’d have some pennies for you.  Today, we are focussing on Water Day, and you might be wondering how this connects. Well, approximately 61 percent of all freshwater on the Earth is held in Antarctica. We’re talking about the Swans because their story mostly takes place in Antarctica and helps us illustrate how climate change could affect us all.

[00:01:23] EGL: The melting ice in Antarctica is a symptom of global warming which impacts sea levels around the world.

[00:01:29] CRE: This series is about Robert’s drive to walk to both the North and the South Poles.

[00:01:35] EGL: It’s about how he battled depression and financial ruin as a result of his polar obsession. 

[00:01:41] CRE: It’s about how Robert and his son, Barney, achieved another first – a trek to the South Pole surviving solely on renewable energy.

[00:01:51] EGL: We’re going to tell you about how human vulnerability reflects the earth’s fragility. And we’re going to tell you about how the Global Goals provide a way for us to protect the poles – the Earth’s early warning system.

[00:02:03] CRE: Well, that’s a lot of things in one episode.

[00:02:05] EGL: That is true, but we are ambitious!  We use stories to tease out the wider issues of the Global Goals.  With these episodes, we’re going to play some special music when we zoom out of Robert’s story to look at some other stories associated with Antarctica and what climate change and human impact has brought. Would you like to hear the music?

[00:02:24] CRE: I would.

[00:02:32] CRE: Well, that was nice music. Before we get to Robert Swan’s trek to Antarctica with his son, Barney, we want to take you back in history. Just at the time of the origin of Robert’s obsession with Antarctica.

[00:02:46] EGL: Let’s go back to before you knew him, to a time when he was discovering what really drove him.

[00:02:56] RS: “I saw a film on Christmas Day called ‘Scott of the Antarctic’…all about a very brave British explorer who got to the South Pole against huge odds, a tough journey.  You’ve got to imagine that Antarctica is twice the size of Australia and no one had ever been to the South Pole. And when Captain Scott arrived at the South Pole, they looked ahead and suddenly, they saw a flag in the middle of nowhere.  And realized that they’d been beaten to the South Pole by the greatest of all explorers, a gentleman from Norway called Roald Amundsen.  And he’d beaten Captain Scott and his poor team by one month. Think of that! And then very sadly on the way back he and his whole team died of starvation and cold out on the ice cap.  So deep down inside me, I had this feeling that maybe I could level the score. That was just a silly little thing as a kid I thought about”

[00:04:34] CRE: Even before those early explorations of Antarctica by Robert Swan’s heroes, came those looking for more than adventure and glory.   Captain Cook’s voyage in 1773 reported vast seal populations and that led to British and American hunters to head South. 

[00:04:54] EGL: I really like how you say voyage…OK, the polar region was considered untapped wealth. These original inhabitants of Antarctica were hunted and killed for their fur.  By the early 20th century seals were considered commercially extinct – no longer viable to catch.

[00:05:11] CRE: Yes, Edie, this is still happening all over the planet.  In the story you’re about to hear, commercial extinction is caused not by hunting, but possibly climate change, forcing fishermen in the Gulf of Maine to adapt.

[00:05:26] EGL: Colles Stowell of One Fish Foundation and Adam Baukus of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute tell us more.

[00:05:35] CS:It started in 2011 when the harvest of Northern Shrimp ‘pandalus borealis’ dropped off more than 50%. And then from 2011 to 2012, it dropped by more than 150%. It went from about 2500 metric tonnes of Northern Shrimp in the northern Atlantic, down to about 350 metric tonnes. So, they immediately put a moratorium on the shrimp.

[00:06:10] AB: “So right now the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than many other places in the ocean, making it less and less hospitable for shrimp. The survival of the eggs, the juveniles, the adults and their spawning behaviour is all closely affected by temperature, and shrimp prefer colder water. We use acoustic instruments which are basically a fancy version of a fish finder that you see in many boats. We developed a survey using 10 boats spread across the coast to go out and look for shrimp to determine if they are moving further East perhaps chasing colder water temperature. The preliminary results definitely showed us that we saw shrimp signal even further East in colder waters than historically would expect to see shrimp”.

 [00:06:55] EGL: And it’s not just Shrimp. There are worrying signs that Lobster numbers are declining, Colles Stowell again…… (Coles Stow-ell)

[00:07:02] CLIP: Colles “This recent study suggests that if global warming keeps at its pace in warming up the Gulf of Maine, as it has been which is, again, faster than 99% of oceans on the planet, the lobster harvest will likely be dropped by as much as 60%. That will put lobstermen out of business, that will affect waterfront communities”.

[00:07:29] AB: “In the world of fisheries, there is a lot of effort right now thinking about how we adapt? The species that we’re used to seeing are potentially going down, cod and shrimp are two examples in the Gulf of Maine, and new species are coming in and so it’s all about working together to try and adapt to the changes”.

[00:07:50] CRE: Adapting to change is a common theme on a global, as well as personal, level and is often fraught with difficulties. The conditions needed for good change require resilience and innovation, themes that are essential for the Global Goals to be delivered.

[00:08:07] EGL: Colles and Adam’s research is ongoing and there are still a lot of unanswered questions. One thing we do know is that the planet’s average surface temperature has risen by about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, that’s a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.  The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters of ocean showing warming of point three degrees Fahrenheit, just since 1969.

[00:08:37] CRE: We will catch up with Colles and Adam in a future episode to find out the latest developments. Thanks to our partner, Slow Food for their help with this story.

[00:08:48] EGL: Back to Robert Swan. That moment in front of the TV on Christmas Day watching Scott of the Antarctic was the beginning of a lifetime obsession. During his time at Durham university, Rob discovered a set of Scott’s journals in a used book shop. 

[00:09:03] CRE: He says this ‘foolhardy purchase’ of a hard bound, two volume set, emptied his bank account.  It also deepened his obsession to follow in Scott’s shadow.

[00:09:16] EGL: He still wanted to be a polar explorer, but there were a few obstacles in his way.

[00:09:21] RS: “The day I left university, I realised two things. One is that I had no experience at all.  So, I had no credibility.  So, there were two things on my mind.  One is that I had to find the right people and I didn’t know anybody. And secondly, I’d have to raise a huge amount of money because through my research I’d realised that If you wanted to go there you’d have to buy a ship, you’d have to spend a year living in a hut on the edge of Antarctica.  Then you’d have to walk to the pole and hope to hell is to your ship returned to collect you.  So, the first thing was to get credibility. And the only credible thing I could think of doing was to visit Antarctica. Normally, the British Antarctic Survey only takes scientists and serious mountaineers. So, I applied to join the British Antarctic Survey as a box mover.  I’ve always been quite good at moving boxes.  So, after a bit of a struggle I was accepted by the BAS.  Went to Antarctica, fell in love with the place and met the people that I believed were the right people that could execute the expedition to the South Pole. And I remember writing them all a letter at the end of this six months period in Antarctica saying, ‘Would you like to join me, one day I’m going to walk to the South Pole”, and nobody replied.  Six or seven years letter, I wrote to them again, and all of them said, ‘yeah we’ll come’.”

[00:11:05] EGL: In 1984, Robert found support in one of the sponsors of his past heroes, Shell, who fuelled Scott’s ship 75 years earlier. Without Shell’s support, Robert admits the trip never would have happened.

[00:11:18] CRE: Sir Peter Scott, the son of Robert’s hero, also became a patron in exchange for Rob naming the expedition, ‘in the footsteps of Scott’.

[00:11:30] EGL: We asked Rob what kept him going through the seven years it took to raise the 7 million dollars he needed to fund the journey.

[00:11:37] RS: “The draw was the place itself. To actually relive this historic journey to the South Pole. I had no idea what it was gonna take. I had absolutely no idea how much it would hurt, I had no idea what it was going to be like, but it was the tragedy, the drama, the story, the diaries of Scott, the film ‘Scott of the Antarctic’, all of these things to rather a naïve brain were driving me forward.  And as people joined us, then the thing took on a life of its own.  And suddenly ships were arriving”

[00:12:23] EGL: Rob’s mother named the ship that would take them to Antarctica the Southern Quest.  They nearly didn’t make it out of London.  At a launch attended by press, broadcasters, well-wishers AND a full military band, they ploughed straight into Tower Bridge. As the papers said the next day, their trip was “Starting out with a bang!”

[00:12:42] CRE: The southern quest was originally a fishing trawler, it needed work, mainly done by volunteers, to strengthen the hull, fit ice deflecting plates and supplies to fuel the 10,000 + mile voyage to Antarctica via New Zealand.

[00:12:57] EGL: While this was happening, Rob’s companions, Roger Meers and Gareth Wood worked on navigation, logistics and the materials to build a hut they’d use as basecamp.

[00:13:08] RS: “We will come back because we’ve taken every measure including having our wisdom teeth out and our appendix to make sure that we don’t suffer the same fate Scott did. But I’m not stupid enough to say the Antarctic and its winds and its weather temperatures down to minus 50 minus 60 degrees centigrade winds up to 125 miles an hour. I’d be crazy if I didn’t say that that didn’t frighten me. But we feel that we’ve prepared sufficiently to have cautious optimism about the expedition.

[00:13:37] CRE: That was Robert Swan in 1984.

[00:13:44] CRE: The southern quest left the UK in November 1984, calling into Cardiff for coal supplies.

[00:13:50] EGL: Rob, Roger and Gareth joined the rest of the crew in New Zealand and Rob used his time at sea to ground himself in the expedition. After many months of being in what he called ‘salesman mode’. He spent weeks working below deck in the ships engine room before he and his companions arrived in the most famous waters of the Southern Ocean, McMurdo Sound. Those birds you hear are the south arctic skuas, widely known as the pirates of the avian world.

[00:14:15] CRE: Rob climbed into the ships crow’s nest contemplating what he was doing in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet and saw Cape Evans, and the building he had spent most of his life dreaming about.

 [00:14:33] RS: “There was Scott’s Hut that I’d studied in history and I knew every inch of it and I had it in my head.  And I remember walking into Scott’s hut and truly expected somebody to come around the corner and say, ‘you know well we’ve been expecting you for a while, Swan’. There was a real sense that I was back in this place that perhaps I’d been before, in some strange way”

[00:15:07] EGL: Captain Scott and his team had built the hut in 1911. It had room for 25 men, 19 Siberian ponies and months of supplies. It was the base for Scott’s fatal trek to the South Pole and was inhabited by Scott’s crew until 1913, when the Terra Nova expedition officially ended.

[00:15:26] CRE: With the failures of Scott’s expedition in his mind, Robert started to fully comprehend what he’d got himself into. After seven days offloading 64 tons of supplies,

[00:15:39] EGL: Well, he did say he was good at moving boxes…

[00:15:42] CRE: He and his companions watched the Southern Quest sail off, leaving them alone in the icy wilderness.

[00:15:49] EGL: They knew they had nine months ‘wintering over’ with only 2hrs of sunlight a day at their newly erected base, and 900 miles to march before they would see their ship again.

[00:16:01] RS: “It was frightening to be left for a year on your own with no communications with the outside world and know that at the end of that year you’d have to deliver a journey of nine hundred miles on foot with no back up at all to the South Pole. And it was my first proper expedition.  So, it was a very, very soul-searching year there before we even left for the Pole. With people that didn’t like each other very much. So, you had that problem too.  Strong, different characters which I was very glad I chose, because I’d learned something as a kid, being number 7 in a family, that the reason that people upset you is because normally they’re right. So, I didn’t choose my best friends, I did choose people who were very very different than me.

[00:17:04] CRE: The ship was essential because they were wintering over before starting their march across the ice. That meant they needed shelter, a generator, fuel and supplies for nine long months of Antarctic winter.

[00:17:17] EGL:  It was one of the questions Rob was asked the most, ‘why did you have to winter over?’

[00:17:22] CRE: Their schedule was squeezed by weather at both ends. In November, the summer made it warm enough to walk, but it wasn’t warm enough to break up the ice for the ship to get to McMurdo Sound until January.

[00:17:36] EGL: So, they left Britain in the northern hemisphere in the autumn, arrived in the Southern Ocean in December, made it through the ice pack to drop off expedition members and supplies, and then got the boat heading North before the ice imprisoned it. They then had a nine month wait before expedition season – that is the optimal three months when the weather is inhospitable rather than lethal.

[00:17:59] CRE: During those nine months, Rob struck up a long-distance pen pal relationship with John Mills, the actor that played Captain Scott in the film that had inspired him nearly two decades earlier.

 [00:18:13]RS: “So I wrote to John Mills saying, ‘Dear Sir John it’s all your bloody fault.  I’m stuck in a hut with four people I hate.  We’ve been here for nine and a half months. I’ve got nine hundred miles to walk to the South Pole.  I haven’t seen a lady in a year and it’s all your bloody fault.’ So, I got a reply which was just a really nice photograph of John Mills in Ealing Studios with plastic snow on his face from the 1949 production of Scott of the Antarctic saying at the bottom, ‘Dear Rob, if you don’t look like this after a while you’ll know going the wrong way, Yours, Jonny”

[00:18:55] CRE: I love this story.  This fledgling friendship with the man Rob considered to be Scott, would come in handy later in his life.

[00:19:06] EGL: Here’s a diary entry from Captain Scott – Arctic prose at its best.

[00:19:11] RScott: The eternal silence of the great white desert. Cloudy columns of snow drift advancing from the south, pale yellow wraiths, heralding the coming storm, blotting out one by one the sharp cut lines of the land.

[00:19:25] RS: I spent a hell of a lot of time living the history of Scott, feeling what it would have felt like, looking at their old equipment.  So, once we started the journey it became a machine. Where you are using minimal energy to do everything. So, you pull your sledges up, you put the tent up, so there is a well-oiled machine that gets better oiled as you go.

[00:19:56] CRE: Robert, Gareth and Roger left their hut on October 25th, 1985. They put on their sledge harnesses and began to pull loads double their own body weight.

[00:20:08] EGL: As they left, they passed the McMurdo Williams airfield, used by the Hercules aircraft on their way to the South Pole, a mere three hours away by air. Rob wouldn’t see the South Pole for another 90 days.

[00:20:23] CRE: He wrote in his book about the expedition:

[00:20:26] EGL: “Early on, for me, there was only the sledge, the harness. I tried to make it my friend. I saw no other option. But how do you not grow to hate your torturer? Always it was there, the weight, the pull, the dull slog. Slide one ski forward and pull. Now slide the other ski forward and pull. Repeat ad nauseam.”

[00:20:49] CRE: After 450 miles, Rob’s dream shuddered.

[00:20:54] “My sledge was starting to get heavier and heavier and heavier.  And I started to feel much weaker than I thought I should be feeling. One day, 450 days into the journey I stopped, and I couldn’t move. And Roger, came back, very kindly, and said Rob, don’t’ worry, I’ll pull your sledge the last 500 meters to the camp which they’d set up waiting for me. And he put the harness on and he could hardly move the damn sledge. And he wrote in his book, that moment I realized Robert must have had a muscle for a brain. How the hell he wasn’t complaining pulling the log through the sand “

[00:21:49] EGL: In the tent that night, Roger examined Rob’s sledge and discovered the runners had been put on backwards, creating extra friction and requiring excess effort.

[00:21:58] CRE: Can you imagine?

[00:21:59] EGL: I can’t bear to think about it.

[00:22:01] “The next day, very kindly, Roger and Gareth said, ‘Hey Rob you just go ahead’. And I went ahead, putting in the same amount of energy as I had been.  And after about an hour I looked back and I couldn’t see the other guys.  They were miles behind me.  And on that day, I knew I had another 500 miles in me to make it to the South Pole.  That was a very, very difficult time.  At that time of those runners, and that very hard weakening of me mentally and physically was something that came back to haunt me very badly on the South Pole energy challenge that we’ve just undertaken. “

[00:22:53] CRE: We will get to the South Pole Energy Challenge in episode 3 – it’s the journey he did last year.

[00:023:01] “Had the situation just been a weakness of mine, not a practical weakness I think at that stage we might have been able to turn ‘round but probably not.   And we’d made a decision between us as a team that if somebody could not keep going then that person would be left to die. And the only decision that we’d never got ‘round to making which it was too hard to make was did you leave that person food. The place itself has a fascination for me because there is no edge, there are no lies it is entirely truthful because it wants you dead.

[00:23:48] CRE: One thing I’ve learned about Robert, his commitment to Antarctica is deep.  Here’s where he makes the first of many promises to the place he has idolized since his childhood.

[00:24:00] RS:  If I make a deal, I do it. And we were suffering, I was suffering, and I went quietly out, and I said, look, to Antarctica, don’t do us in, I’ll look after you. I wasn’t really saying you know I’ll have a whole plan and campaign and I will devote the rest of my life to preserving you. It was more like trying to get out of jail. It was just to do something, to say something that hopefully Antarctica wouldn’t kill us. I didn’t realize that it would then become a lifetime’s commitment.  I was inspired by Scott, Shackleton and Jacques Cousteau to continue with that promise.  But the promise came from panic. The promise didn’t come from some good feeling that I want to be doing the right thing.”

[00:25:05] EGL: I wonder if he has ever regretted making that promise.

[00:25:09] CRE: So, let’s look at why Antarctica is so important to protect.  It may feel like you’re on another planet when you’re standing in minus 60 degrees centigrade, but we know that we are all connected. What happens in the farthest polar region affects the most tropical of islands. 

[00:25:28] EGL: Time to put on your sunglasses, Claudia. From the sub-zero temperatures of the Antarctic, we’re now going to go warmer climates now in the South Pacific, where the islands of Fiji are some of the first to experience the impact of global warming, and the melting of the ice caps.

[00:25:43] CRE: This story comes to us through one of our partners, the SDG Action Campaign. One of the finalists in the awards that they organize is a 360° virtual reality video called ‘Our Home, Our People’, that explores climate change vulnerability and resilience in Fiji through the stories of four people. Here, producer Tom Perry tells us about the challenges that they are facing.

[00:26:10] Tom Perry: The Pacific is really on the front lines of climate change and Pacific islanders have done almost nothing to cause climate change and yet the Pacific is really the part of the world that’s already seeing its impact so severely.  Catalina is really the main character in the film and she is from a small community called Vunisavisavi which is in the north of Vanua Levu in Fiji, it’s one of the larger islands in Fiji, and the significance of this community is that it’s one of the first communities in Fiji where homes have already been moved because of the significant impact of sea level rise on that community already. And it’s already changing some of the dynamics of how people plant their crops and what people are doing for food and for fishing as well.  One of the striking things when you walk into this community is the soil is just rock hard and that’s because the salt water has just completely swamped it.  Particularly during the king tides which happen 2-3 times a year and that, as the community says, it’s only a few years ago that that wasn’t happening. There’s an enormous strength and sense of community in Fiji that is really tackling this issue head on. They really are coming together to build whatever the necessary changes and developments are that are going to protect themselves from climate change.

[00:27:42] CRE: Tom’s film captures their story beautifully. Even if you don’t have VR glasses you can see a web version of it at

[00:27:52] EGL: OK, Claudia, get the fleece mittens back on, we’re heading back to Antarctic. By the time the trio reached the Beardmore Glacier, they had bonded over their blisters, sores, aches and pains.

[00:28:04] CRE: As Robert wrote in his book, “Barrier, done. Glacier, done. Plateau ahead.”

[00:28:11] EGL: They walked faster, marching 9 hours a day, covering over 17 miles a day. Here’s Rob talking about his first sight of civilization for 90 days.

[00:28:20] RS: “We came up a hill and we could see the South Pole station for a good 20 miles. Which doesn’t sound very much, but that’s two days of walking, so it drove us nuts.  To be able to see this damn thing, it never seemed to get any bigger, but we could see it! We walked in to the under-ice station and everybody was clapping, and we felt so proud of what we’d done. Although we were very different people, we had come together, and we had done what people had said could not be done. And I was thinking about Scott and I was thinking about the upset that Scott must have felt arriving at the South Pole to find the Norwegian flag there.

[00:29:14] CRE: Before we go on, let’s hear what Captain Scott said when he reached the bottom of the earth.

 [00:029:20] RScott: We marched on, found that it was a black flag tied to a sledge bearer; nearby the remains of a camp. The Norwegians have forestalled us and are first at the Pole. It is a terrible disappointment.

We have turned our back now on the goal of our ambition and must face our 800 miles of solid dragging – and good-bye to most of the day-dreams!

[00:29:53] RS: “5 minutes after our arrival, the base commander came out from the South Pole and said sorry rob your ship just sank ‘five minutes earlier before we arrived. And the loss of Southern Quest suddenly mixed up history, mixed up me for, thirty-two years it completely screwed my head because – suddenly I was Scott”

[00:30:23] EGL He was Scott AND Shackleton – another great polar hero – all bound up in one.

Shackleton’s ship, Endurance, was crushed beyond repair by the force of millions of tons of ice on its 1914 attempt to cross the vast south polar continent.

[00:30:40] CRE: Robert’s boat, the Southern Quest, had cracked under that same immense power of nature. His escape vessel had become another shipwreck, joining Shackleton’s Endurance in some of the most lethal seas in the world.

[00:30:56] EGL: So Instead of revelling in the tremendous achievement, something he’d been looking forward to since he was 11, Rob stood there contemplating how he was going to get everyone home, thinking about the $1.2 debts secured by the boat, and the mess he promised he would never leave in Antarctica.

 [00:31:15] RS: So, I felt just as Shackleton must have felt when his ship went down, and I didn’t know what to do.  All I knew was that I’d lost a ship, I had twenty-five people standing on an iceberg, I had three people at the South Pole that all looked like somebody had forgot to have buried us. And I’d made commitments to leave Antarctica as clean and tidy as possible.  To Jacques Cousteau, I’d made the promise, although a bit hollow, I’d made the promise to look after Antarctica.  I realised if we did not pull something round, we’d just be seen as a failure.  And I don’t like that word very much.  It’s never been a part of my vocabulary, actually until recently.

[00:32:13] EGL:  Talk about a cliff edge!  I can’t imagine how Robert must have felt, but we won’t have long to wait to find out, because that’s coming up in the next show. In the meantime, let’s talk about water.

[00:32:22] CRE: We’re looking at the Swan’s journey, not only because we find it really interesting and close to us, but also because it helps us shine a light on how climate change is going to impact our life.  Global warming is causing the shrinking of the ice cap. 

Global warming is also causing the intensification of the water cycle that causes more extreme floods and droughts globally.

[00:32:47] EGL: Many dry regions, including the Mediterranean and southern Africa, will suffer badly from reduced rainfall and increased evaporation. Scientists estimate that around one billion people in dry areas, that’s thirteen percent of the world, may face increasing water scarcity.

[00:33:06] CRE: So here are three important facts. Water is a right, not a privilege: 2.1 billion people do not have access to safe water today.  That means one in four cannot get safe drinking water at home when they need it.

[00:33:23] EGL: Water is a daily chore.  For 263 million people – that’s more than the size of Brazil – it takes over 30 minutes per round trip to collect water.  Most of the time, this is women and girls. 

[00:33:38] CRE: By 2025, 1.8 billion people are expected to be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity.

[00:33:48] EGL: And here are three actions for today.  You can follow the Swan’s journeys on

[00:33:54] CRE: Visit the UNICEF website to see what they’re doing to improve water, sanitation and hygiene in over 100 countries worldwide

[00:34:02] EGL: You can also make a big difference yourself, in your own consumption

Join our social media campaign  #ICommitTo and commit to turning off the lights, walking more, carpooling or, even better, riding a bike instead of driving.  Eat the food you buy and make less of it meat.  

[00:34:23] Coming up in our next show, we head back to the South Pole, where we left Robert, his ship sinking and a team of explorers to get home. We’ll be hearing about what Rob did next, another chance meeting with an old hero, and a reconnection to those promises that Robert made to do everything he could to look after Antarctica.

[00:34:44] EGL: And, if you want to make sure you don’t miss that or any of our episodes, subscribe to us via Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. While you’re there, give us five stars, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, @globalgoalscast, for the latest news and developments.

[00:35:01] CRE:  That was Edie lush and I am Claudia Romo Edelman.

[00:35:04] EGL: That was the Global GoalsCast

[00:35:10] CREDITS: Thanks to HARMAN, the official sound of Global GoalsCast. 

Music in this episode was by Andrew Phillips, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Aasheesh Paliwal and Ellis.

Excerpts from Journals: Captain Scott’s Expeditions, used by permission from Oxford University Press.  

Global GoalsCast Trailer


Stories that change the world.  In this preview of the Global GoalsCast you’ll hear from heroes working to make the world a better place.

Lead by two women, a journalist and a diplomat, this podcast will tell stories of change, from healing the climate to offering quality education for all.

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