Imagine, if you can, industry leading the way to the SDGs


“Imagine all the people, living life in peace….no need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man.”

Those lyrics are surely familiar to you. They are from one of the most successful songs of all time, Imagine, by John Winston Lennon. Lennon, singing of his better world, voiced certainty that he “was not the only one” with this dream. Now, prominent corporate leaders have begun a new firm with the express purpose of making business and industry better global citizens. They have named the firm, Imagine, after the song. On this episode, Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman discuss Imagine and talk with two of the founders, Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, and Valerie Keller, a well-known CEO whisperer, coach and expert in transformational business leadership. With governments acting too slowly or in many crucial places gridlocked, more focus has fallen on the role of business in curbing climate change and achieving the other Sustainable Development Goals. Keller and Polman argue that much can be accomplished by creating “collective courageous behavior” by corporations working together to achieve what no one of them might take on alone. There first effort is underway in the Fashion industry and they talk about future plans for travel, tourism and, perhaps, even energy. Claudia observes that Imagine, the song, which was written in 1981, seems to call for the Sustainable Development Goals long before they were created in 2015. But Lennon also sang of “no possessions,” which might be a step further down a socialist road than Imagine, the company, envisions. Edie and Claudia discuss Imagine, the company’s place in what they describe as a movement to create a “better capitalism,” not replace it. “What we are really seeing in this world is that many people are dreaming for a better world than we have currently,” Polman says.

Facts and Actions “to help meet the moment…the decisive decade of the 2020s” are from a leading expert in sustainable business, Aron Cramer, President and CEO of BSR, a not-for-profit which advises companies on sustainability. You can read Cramer’s 2019 CEO letter, “A New Climate for Business”.

Laura MacKenzie, Senior Vice President of our sponsor, Mastercard, describes Mastercard’s work creating digital systems to pay garment workers, predominantly women, around the world. This protects their earnings and increases their access to the formal financial system. “many of the women,” MacKenzie says, “also have ambitions of their own. They would like to own land they would like to start a business. That’s what’s so exciting about this work.”

Photo credits: Hirsty65

Featured guests

Paul Polman

Paul Polman is Co-founder and Chair of IMAGINE, a benefit corporation and foundation accelerating business leadership to achieve the Global Goals. He also serves as Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, The B Team, Oxford Said Business School and is Vice-Chair of the U.N. Global Compact.

He was CEO of Unilever for 10 years where he demonstrated that a long-term, multi-stakeholder model goes hand-in-hand with good financial performance. During his tenure, Unilever was one of the best-performing companies in its sector, delivering ten years of consistent top and bottom line growth.

Paul was appointed to the U.N. Secretary General’s High-level Panel that developed the Sustainable Development Goals and has played a leading role since in highlighting the business case for the 2030 development agenda, including as a founder member of the Business & Sustainable Development Commission. He remains a U.N.-appointed SDG Advocate.

Photo credits: @justinwu

Valerie Keller

IMAGINE Co-Founder and CEO, Valerie Keller helps leaders use their power for good. With deep expertise in transformation, she helps global corporations become purpose-led and future-fit — and convenes cross-sector coalitions to accelerate tipping points for humanity’s Global Goals.

Valerie is also an Associate Fellow of the University of Oxford Saïd Business School where she directs executive education programs.

Founder of Veritas and of Beacon Institute, she served as EY Global Markets Executive Director and CEO of US-based social enterprises addressing homelessness, healthcare and housing.

She was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and serves on the Harvard Kennedy School Women’s Leadership Board. 

Photo credits: @justinwu

Aron Cramer

Aron Cramer is recognized globally as a preeminent authority on sustainable business. In addition to leading BSR, which has grown substantially throughout his tenure as President and CEO, Aron advises senior executives at BSR’s more than 250 member companies and other global businesses on the full spectrum of social and environmental issues.

Aron joined BSR in 1995 as the founding director of its Business and Human Rights Program, and later opened BSR’s Paris office in 2002, where he worked until becoming President and CEO in 2004. Aron serves on advisory boards to CEOs at Barrick Gold, Marks & Spencer, and SAP, and previously for AXA, Shell, and Nike. He is also a director of the Natural Capital Coalition, the International Integrated Reporting Council, and We Mean Business, and serves as a member of the Steering Council for the World Economic Forum’s Board of Stewards of its Future of Consumption System Initiative.

Aron speaks frequently at leading business forums and is widely quoted in top-tier media such as the Financial Times, Le Figaro (France), The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He is co-author of the book Sustainable Excellence: The Future of Business in a Fast-Changing World, which spotlights innovative sustainability strategies that enable business success.

Prior to joining BSR, Aron practiced law in San Francisco and worked as a journalist at ABC News in New York. He holds a B.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Laura Mackenzie

As Senior Vice President of Global Prepaid for Mastercard, Laura is responsible for developing, executing, leading and adapting the global product strategy for Mastercard’s core prepaid products. In addition, she is responsible for driving product solutions to deliver Mastercard’s commitment to the World Bank to include 500 million people into the formal economy by 2020 through the development and deployment of innovative products and delivery channels.

Prior to this role, she spent 12 years leading Mastercard’s US Merchant acceptance for core merchant verticals. Mackenzie began her career in fashion with luxury global brands Ralph Lauren, Ann Klein and Nicole Farhi before making a move into the financial realm with South African start up joint venture e-commerce companies. She has spent many years living and working overseas in London, Barcelona and Johannesburg.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Coming soon!

‘My Number was 453’ – One migrant’s story


More than 30,000 African migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean. Ibrahim Kondeh narrowly escapes becoming one of them. But through luck and courage, he makes it across to Italy, although he pays a terrible price on the way. Claudia Romo Edelman and Edie Lush complete the story of this one migrant. “The story of migrants should be told more,” Ibrahim says in this episode.

“People tend to follow what the media tells about migrants and refugees — seen as people who come in to steal jobs, criminals. So, as a result, no one knows what our actual stories are. Positive stories can change the mindset of people.” 

Ibrahim encounters frustration and racism in Italy. But he also is helped along the way, particularly by an innovative use of text messaging called U-report. Tanya Accone of Unicef explains that U-report connects Ibrahim and other migrants and refugees with experts who can advise them when they are at their most vulnerable, alone in a new land without language our resources.

With the help of U-report Ibrahim navigates the Italian immigration rules and enrolls in high school. “A simple SMS,” says Tanya Accone, “can it change your life? I think Ibrahim would say, yes, it has.”

Facts and actions are offered by one of the creators of U-report, Mathias Devi Nielsen of Unicef.

“U-report is a tool for all youth to raise their voices battle stereotypes connecting youth to serve on a global scale. “

 U-report currently operates in 65 countries with 8.5 million uses. It is growing rapidly. Mathias invited companies, agencies, NGOs and youth groups to partner with u report to help provide migrants and refugees with answers to their questions

 * * *

The episode is brought to you by Mastercard, dedicated to building an inclusive world in which the digital economy works for everyone, everywhere

Global GoalsCast also welcomes a new partner, Universal Production Music, one of the world’s leading production music companies, creating and licensing music for film, TV, advertising, broadcast, and podcasts, including Global GoalsCast.

Featured guests

Ibrahim Adnan Kondeh

Ibrahim Adnan Kondeh, is a young man, 20 years of age, from Sierra Leone. He lived in a village with his family, helping with the farm and local shops. As a result of his family’s huge sacrifice, he used to go to school there, so he wasn’t among the poorest. Sadly, he was forced to escape when approached by a secret society that “grooms boys to become men”, facing tortures and threats. He then went on a journey eventually making his way into Italy. He arrived in Italy as an unaccompanied minor 3 years ago at the age of 17. The way there was not easy. He was kept as a slave in various locations on this journey. His boat was rescued crossing the Mediterranean Sea. His arrival at a reception center for refugees in Calabria was not very welcoming, the center was very crowded and would not offer services, such as education, for minors. After overcoming these roadblocks, and even learning Italian, Ibrahim was recognized as a bright writer, winning renowned competitions, such as the Moleskine Foundation and the U-Report Contests. Once his voice was heard, he became a U-Ambassador and active member on the platform and U-Blogger on the move. Thanks to his active participation, he applied to Refugees Welcome for a chance to be hosted by an Italian family, He was accepted and is now living there. He was also granted the Never Alone bid for a 2-year scholarship at the renowned United World College of the Adriatic.

Tanya Accone

Tanya Accone’s career has focused on helping international public and private sector organizations understand how to amplify their impact through the convergence of people, ecosystems and innovation. She is committed to applying innovation for social impact and as a public good, especially with and for young people.

Accone has been at the forefront of advocating for and leading ground-breaking initiatives at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). As Senior Advisor on Innovation at Scale, she has led UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre to support 90 countries to identify, adopt and adapt innovative solutions that have changed the lives of 180 million children and their communities. 

Among these initiatives are U-Report, a youth engagement and empowerment platform that facilitates 8 million young people in 60 countries to speak out on development issues, support child rights and improve their communities. And UPSHIFT, an initiative that empowers youth to build skills and opportunities through social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Accone joined UNICEF to design the organization’s first internet strategy and led its implementation in more than 100 countries. UNICEF received the internet-equivalent of an Oscar – a Webby Award – from The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in recognition of the excellence of part of this work. She went on to establish and lead the organization’s human capital futures and analytics portfolio. 

Prior to joining UNICEF, Accone worked in the private sector. She was part of the team that first took The Washington Post digital, and has launched technology businesses across sub-Saharan Africa. 

Accone is a Fulbright Fellow with multiple graduate degrees including in Studies of the Future. She is the fourth-generation of her Chinese family to be born in South Africa, where she spent her childhood on the outskirts of Tshwane. She tweets at @accone.

Mathias Devi

Mathias Devi Nielsen is a Youth & Innovation Specialist for UNICEF’s Office of Innovation. He manages the Global U-Report platform, a social messaging and youth empowering platform aiming to increase youth voices in legislation and setting the global agenda. With a background in Displacement and Emergency Response, Mathias has been deployed for the past 3 years in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and North-East Nigeria for the International NGO Danish Refugee Council.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Coming soon!

‘We are True Heroes’ – One Migrant’s Story


His name is Ibrahim Adnan Kondeh. He is one of thousands of young African’s who have crossed the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea in search of opportunity. Thousands more have died trying. We usually hear the tragedy and the controversy about migration, as cohost Edie Lush notes. So in this episode, Global GoalsCast wants you to meet one migrant and to hear his story, from him. Ibrahim is a remarkable young man. Courageous, resourceful and, it turns out, poetic. 

“In plastic boats, we are choked up as much as they can

   just like fishes in a sardine can. 

Irrespective of our religions, we pray for God’s mercy. 

 For it was only by his grace that we made it through that great sea. 

A true hero is what we are…”

Ibrahim retraces his journey from his village in Sierra Leone to the Libyan seashore. A trip that took him a harrowing nine months. He started as a teenager running away from tribal initiation. But by the time he was done he had joined an extraordinary stream of humanity flowing north. 

A report by the United Nations Development Program shows that Ibrahim is representative of a large group of young migrants from West Africa. They are by no means the poorest or the least educated from their countries, explains Mohamed Yahya, lead author of the report. Indeed, they are prompted to risk the dangerous journey as their rising aspirations outstrip their sense of opportunity at home. Yahya urges both African and European officials to address this opportunity gap. 

This episode also features Ann Cairns, from our sponsor Mastercard. She discusses Mastercard’s Digital Food initiative in partnership with the World Food Programme to provide money to refugees to buy food themselves, along with other basic necessities. 

Featured guests

Ibrahim Adnan Kondeh

Ibrahim Adnan Kondeh, is a young man, 20 years of age, from Sierra Leone. He lived in a village with his family, helping with the farm and local shops. As a result of his family’s huge sacrifice, he used to go to school there, so he wasn’t among the poorest. Sadly, he was forced to escape when approached by a secret society that “grooms boys to become men”, facing tortures and threats. He then went on a journey eventually making his way into Italy. He arrived in Italy as an unaccompanied minor 3 years ago at the age of 17. The way there was not easy. He was kept as a slave in various locations on this journey. His boat was rescued crossing the Mediterranean Sea. His arrival at a reception center for refugees in Calabria was not very welcoming, the center was very crowded and would not offer services, such as education, for minors. After overcoming these roadblocks, and even learning Italian, Ibrahim was recognized as a bright writer, winning renowned competitions, such as the Moleskine Foundation and the U-Report Contests. Once his voice was heard, he became a U-Ambassador and active member on the platform and U-Blogger on the move. Thanks to his active participation, he applied to Refugees Welcome for a chance to be hosted by an Italian family, He was accepted and is now living there. He was also granted the Never Alone bid for a 2-year scholarship at the renowned United World College of the Adriatic.

Mohamed Yahya

Mr. Mohamed Yahya resumed duties as Resident Representative of UNDP Nigeria on 20 June 2019. Prior to his appointment to Nigeria, Mr. Yahya was the Africa Regional Programme Coordinator for  UNDP between October 2014 and June 2019. Based in Addis Ababa, he was responsible for regional development initiatives in support of the African Union and Africa’s Regional Economic Communities. He has also served as UNDP’s post-conflict recovery specialist supporting UNDP interventions in
Afghanistan and Liberia. Before joining the UN, Mr. Yahya worked as a senior peacebuilding advisor for the non-governmental organisation, International Alert, with a focus on West Africa. Mr. Yahya holds a master’s degree in Conflict and Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and a bachelor’s degree in Politics and History from SOAS, University of London.

Ann Cairns

Ann Cairns, Vice Chairman of Mastercard. In her role as Vice Chairman Ann represents Mastercard around the world, focusing on inclusion, diversity and innovation.  She plays the important role of senior ambassador and executive leader and sits as part of the company’s global management committee. Ann is passionate about the role Mastercard can play in delivering inclusion through innovation and has continued to build new global partnerships with governments, businesses, organizations and NGOs including the World Food Programme. Ann sits on the group board of the Fortune 500 Company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and is chair of ICE Clear Europe. Ann has a Pure Mathematics degree from Sheffield University and a M.Sc. with research into medical statistics and honorary doctorate from Newcastle University. 

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Coming soon!

Maybe the Poor won’t always be with us


Is it possible to eradicate extreme poverty? Here is the remarkable thing. For the first time in history, the answer is yes. Co-hosts Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman talk about the new thinking about how to end the worst poverty. Macro solutions like growth, trade and migration still matter, a lot, they agree. But so do local solutions. Tanya Accone of Unicef explains how a failed effort to involve Silicon Valley in anti-poverty efforts produced a different approach in which solutions are developed with local communities not just for them. A good example from Uganda is Spouts of Water, which has invented clay pot filters that cost no more to use than the previous system of burning wood or coal to boil the water. Plus, Ugandans like the flavor! One of the basic lessons is that to help very poor people, often at the end of long dirt paths or isolated in slums, solutions must be designed for their situations, Accone explains. Context is crucial.

Edie and Claudia also discuss the meaning of two Nobel prizes that connect directly to eradicating poverty – the prize in economics for the new field of research-based solutions and the peace prize to Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, for his efforts to create stability in the Horn of Africa, one of the world’s poorest regions.

Ending extreme poverty is the first of the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Edie points out that the idea we can even talk about ending poverty as a serious goal captures how far the world has come. Both proportionally and numerically, the number of poor people has been shrinking for decades. Much of this has been the result of broad economic growth, particularly in China.

But that’s left us with some of the most difficult situations, for example in rural India and sub-Saharan Africa. It will require sustained effort on multiple fronts to address these areas. 

Facts and Actions are offered in this episode by Saskia Bruysten, co-founder of Yunus Social Business, which invests in sustainable businesses such as Spouts of Water.

Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chairman of our sponsor, Mastercard, describes their Hundred Million Meals program to keep children in school by making sure they are fed. The effort is run jointly with the World Food Program, a Global GoalsCast partner.

Featured guests

Tanya Accone

Tanya Accone’s career has focused on helping international public and private sector organizations understand how to amplify their impact through the convergence of people, ecosystems and innovation. She is committed to applying innovation for social impact and as a public good, especially with and for young people. Accone has been at the forefront of advocating for and leading ground-breaking initiatives at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). As Senior Advisor on Innovation at Scale, she has led UNICEF’s Global Innovation Centre to support 90 countries to identify, adopt and adapt innovative solutions that have changed the lives of 180 million children and their communities. 

Saskia Bryusten

A leader in the social business movement, Saskia Bruysten co-founded Yunus Social Business (YSB) together with Nobel Peace Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus. YSB is a Philanthropic Venture Fund that turns donations into investments in sustainable social businesses that provide employment, education, healthcare, clean water and clean energy to millions of people worldwide. Under Saskia’s leadership, YSB has also been working with over 20 global corporations to help them use their core competencies to address social problems. She was appointed to the EU Commission’s expert group on social business and has advised on Ban Ki-Moon’s UN MDG Advocacy Group. Prior to YSB, she was Co-CEO of the Grameen Creative Lab and a senior management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. She holds an MBA from the European Business School in Germany and an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Paul Matovu

Paul has worked in multiple charitable entrepreneurial roles in Uganda prior to joining SPOUTS.  He brings in extensive experience in impact evaluation and has been working with SPOUTS for over four years.

David Yin

Daniel is the CEO of SPOUTS of Water, a social enterprise dedicated to providing clean water to Uganda.  He worked in the financial industry in the U.S. for over 5 years prior to joining SPOUTS of Water. He has previous experience in scaling internal and financial operations in SMEs and has been leading SPOUTS for the past two years.

Ann Cairns

In her role as Vice Chairman Ann represents Mastercard around the world, focusing on inclusion, diversity and innovation.  She plays the important role of senior ambassador and executive leader and sits as part of the company’s global management committee. Ann is passionate about the role Mastercard can play in delivering inclusion through innovation and has continued to build new global partnerships with governments, businesses, organizations and NGOs including the World Food Programme. Ann sits on the group board of the Fortune 500 Company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and is chair of ICE Clear Europe. Ann has a Pure Mathematics degree from Sheffield University and a M.Sc. with research into medical statistics and honorary doctorate from Newcastle University.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Helene Dufour: 00:00 Our goal is to make sure that the fight against poverty is based on scientific evidence. Extract from the idea that often the poor are reduced to caricature and often even people who tried to help them do not actually understand what are the deep root of the problems that are addressing the poor.

Tanya Accone: 00:21 People that had expert knowledge on business modeling on, you know, the actual filtration techniques but completely not matched to the context that we were asking them to solve for

Pause: 00:36 [background music]

Tanya Accone: 00:36 In innovation, we often say that technology is just 10%, but 90% is about people and so really having that people focus and focus on designing with, not for those communities is sort of a fundamental way that we have learned to work.

Daniel Yin: 00:54 The cofounders and the management team really reached out to the community and to see what they prefer in their water. After doing about three years of R and D, we realized that ceramic water filters was the solution we wanted to provide to the Ugandan population.

Claudia Edelman: 01:18 Welcome to the Global GoalsCast!

Edie Lush: 01:20 The podcast that explores how to change the world.

Claudia Edelman: 01:23 In this episode, the latest on global goal 1: eradicating extreme poverty. The fact that we can even have this conversation, Edie, reflects one of the greatest achievements of human history. The number of profoundly poor people in the world has been declining fo half a century! We’re that close!

Edie Lush: 01:43 But getting it close isn’t getting it done. Traveling this last mile may well be the hardest. It’s gonna take a new kind of thinking to end poverty and it will require the inclusion of poor people themselves in that thinking and in the doing. We’re going to tell you all about that right after this.

Presenter: 02:04 This episode of Global GoalsCast is brought to you by Mastercard. Mastercard is dedicated to building an inclusive world in which the digital economy works for everyone, everywhere.

Ann Cairns: 02:16 The world really wasn’t designed with girls in mind, and education is one of those things where there has been an imbalance between the number of boys and girls going to school. Later in this episode, y’all hear about Mastercard’s 100 Million Meal Challenge, keeping kids in school by making sure they are fed. Thanks also to CBS News Digital and to Harman, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

Claudia Edelman: 02:46 Welcome back. I’m Claudia Romo Edelman.

Edie Lush: 02:48 and I’m Edie Lush. Jesus said it, “The poor you will always have with you”.

Claudia Edelman: 02:53 Or as Moses put it, “There will always be poor in the land”.

Edie Lush: 02:57 But what if they were wrong? What if we could eradicate poverty or at least the very worst poverty?

Claudia Edelman: 03:04 Well, I was there, in 2015, when the United Nations said that it could be done! And the point was made dramatically. Ending extreme poverty was made the very first of the 17 sustainable development goals, and my former boss Ban Ki-Moon, who was Secretary General summed up the history when he said,

Ban Ki-Moon: 03:23 We are the first generation that can put an end to poverty.

Edie Lush: 03:31 It’s such a big ambition. I’m not sure we really grasp it. And Claudia, at the risk of taking the religious references too far, I went to the Bible of the Global Goalscast. My copy of Hans Rosling’s book, Factfullness. In 1800, almost everyone about 85 and a 100 people lived in what today we would call extreme poverty on less than the equivalent of $2 a day. But those numbers have improved, dramatically, and more or less steadily. In the 1960s, we passed a milestone, where less than half the people in the world lived in extreme poverty.

Claudia Edelman: 04:07  And today, only about 9% live below that extreme poverty line. So, the progress is amazing. And nevertheless, 9% is still about 700 million people. And those are the people who we’ll be talking about today, because we need to understand deeply what it will take to end extreme poverty now, that it has become the exception rather than the rule of human life.

Edie Lush: 04:36 Exactly. This is a very exciting moment. In fact, the Nobel committee’s awarded not one, but two Nobel Prizes this year for work that leads directly to ending poverty.

Claudia Edelman: 04:46 And we will talk later about those prizes in economics and the Nobel peace prize. But the big message was simple. Ending global poverty requires facts on the ground, on locally tailored actions and we have to take them now.

Edie Lush: 05:00 And to take a close look at these ideas. We found a guide at our beloved partner, UNICEF, a woman like you who really gets it.

New Speaker: 05:11 My name is Tanya Accone and I’m UNICEF’s Senior Advisor on Innovation at Scale.

Claudia Edelman: 05:17 There are two things about Tanya that make her a knowledgeable guide, I would say. First, is the way she grew up in South Africa…

Tanya Accone: 05:24 As someone who started off life in quite an impoverished kind of contexts themselves, I can sort of see that connections of everything to kind of Goal 1, because so many decisions that are really difficult for families and young people in communities to make have an underlying economic disadvantage as a major driver.

Claudia Edelman: 05:42 And then, second, there was how one of her early efforts to combat poverty ended up in a heartache and frustration. The big brains of Silicon Valley couldn’t grasp how different life is when you live on $1.90 a day. Well from that failure emerged, a new way of thinking about how to end poverty, as she told us…

Tanya Accone: 06:08 A number of years back, we were looking at innovation as an opportunity to do something different that really accelerates and exponentially improves our results and the capability to deliver more to children in their communities around the world with less ideally. And so we thought a place where that’s just a hotbed of great ideas and disruptive thinking is Silicon Valley and we want to disrupt development in order to do better. So what better place could there be than to sit ourselves down with some of the Valley’s, most cutting edge thinkers and think through these problems? We’re really interested in a couple of different challenges. So one of them is in the area of water and sanitation, and this is really key for UNICEF because in the development sector it’s one area that we are responsible for no matter where, no matter when. And we wanted to get ideas from people around how would you solve this massive challenge? Which is essentially also a massive market opportunity of getting clean water to people no matter where they are. And it could have been anything from water quality monitoring to monitoring with a water points or are working or not. So it could have been a mobile app, it could be geospatial solutions, it could be really practical filtering type things. The door was open.

Edie Lush: 07:28 And so what were the solutions that these folks in Silicon Valley had?

Tanya Accone: 07:33 If there were two characteristics that they had in common, it was one overwhelmingly just could not imagine the kind of context that we’re talking about. Even though, you know, we unpacked, here’s the persona that you’re solving for, this is what they earn. They earn, you know, a $1.90 a day, suggesting that someone is going to go to the local council office or something like that. That doesn’t work because the cost of that action, which seems like nothing in a industrialized country, is, is a massive cost. And I think the other piece that they couldn’t really conceive of was just what does living on a $1.90 actually mean? Cause I mean we all should know how much money that is, but I think it was just unimaginable. So to unpack, say a couple of the solutions that came out, particularly around water purification, we had a group that came up with a solution for a very high quality water filtration system that was intended to go to villages, but it was sort of the size of a container. So to get it anywhere it had to go on kind of a flatbed truck. And when you’re talking about last mile delivery, meaning that last mile, or in most cases, that last many miles, are winding pathways, their foot paths, and some cases, you’re going by donkey are going by, you know, foot, you’re going by bicycle if you’re enough to have one. So you’re certainly cannot be tracking something on the back of a flatbed truck. And there was another idea around how a version of that could be used in emergencies, which is another area that UNICEF is, you know, very involved in and of course has to deliver clean water in those situations. But the solution there was around being able to fly these in on helicopter. So flying in something by a helicopter is an incredible expense and that just doesn’t kind of compute when you’re talking about the costs, the accessibility, etc.

Tanya Accone: 09:28 And then when I looked at examples that people had for ideas for households, so not at the whole village, but let’s see, what could we provide each household to use in terms of getting safe water. And there are already a number of, of approaches that people use. So they use chlorine straining. I mean there were a lot of just very simple techniques that are currently in use. But instead what we got was a whole business plan that was sort of for a filter system as similar, but it was not. But some of that in concept to, a Britta filter, or a pure water filter and the business plan was that, you know, we’d give the jug and three filters away for free and then we were going to make money off selling the filters. And again, that had had no relationship to how much money people have, what they were going to be able to afford, distribution of these things, you know, not understanding, you’re not talking about going to the supermarket to buy a filter. This is not the reality that people are living in. And then of course, worst of all, not really thinking about the whole waste-stream. So after a month you’re finished with this filter. What exactly is happening to it? So I think there was just this fundamental mismatch. So people that had expert knowledge on business modeling, the actual filtration techniques, but completely not matched to the context that we were asking them to solve for.

Edie Lush: 10:52 What did you do next? You went to Africa in places where people were living in the lowest quintile and asked them to help you design. Is that right?

Tanya Accone: 11:02 That’s right. And we’ve kind of built on that where we have very much a human-centered design or design thinking based practice because with, you know, that’s really an important way of being able to level the playing field of ideas and needs, in a context where you’re pulling together many stakeholders. So it’s really important to, especially where you have representatives of those marginal communities that they feel as empowered and as equal to others that you’re going to bring into that same room. And what we found is by looking at and with communities and guiding was facilitating a process around them, exploring what their greatest challenges are, you can come up with much more relevant solutions that are immediately informed by the context. And what we’ve done is added to that the sort of the expertise of Silicon Valley but not in terms of you design the solution, but in terms of help us think through ways to, you know, strengthen this. And those are the things that have actually scaled most effectively to more places serving in some cases 180 million people today, some of them in 60 countries. So really powerful. And I think in innovation, we often say, that technology is just 10% but 90% is about people. And so really having that people focus and focus on designing with, not for, those communities is sort of a fundamental way that we have learned to work.

Claudia Edelman: 12:35 When we come back, we will check out how the signing with a community in Uganda produced a clean water solution that worked.

Edie Lush: 12:42 But first, here’s Ann Cairns from our sponsor at Mastercard to tell us about a program Mastercard supported to keep kids in school.

Ann Cairns: 12:51 The world really wasn’t designed with girls in mind. It’s been designed in a way that don’t really meet the lives of women and women as they’re growing up. And education is one of those things where there has been an imbalance between the number of boys and girls going to school. And what we’ve seen is that if schools are open and parents know that their children can be fed, then they’ll send both their boys and their girls to school. In Mali, there were recent funding challenges that forced 40% of the World Food Programme canteens to close down. And the interesting thing here was that the regular attendance of the schools that were affected fell by 90% so this really gives you a feeling that those parents are sending their kids to school so that they can be fed. And now Mastercard is the top funder of the schools in Mali and we helped the World Food Programme reopen the canteens and actually expand to new locations. The student retention rate for the schools increased to 96% from an average of 63%, so it was really very impactful.

Edie Lush: 14:08 And tell me about this 100 Million Meal Challenge. Why did you choose 100 million?

Ann Cairns: 14:16 Here at MasterCard, we deal in billions of people and… so to us we wanted to target something which seemed a reasonable goal that was going to affect the lives of children all over the world. There are around 80 million people who are hungry every day on this planet. And so by aiming for a hundred million meals, we were effectively feeding the world for a day. The really good news is that we’ve actually exceeded our target earlier this year, which was very exciting. And I think it really motivated everyone around the world. Our employees, for sure, but also many of our customers.

Edie Lush: 15:00 That was Ann Cairns from our sponsor, Mastercard.

Claudia Edelman: 15:02 Mastercard! It’s really great to have their support for another season! They’re so great and they have great stories!

Edie Lush: 15:10 Right? I feel very supported.

Claudia Edelman: 15:12 Yeah, I feel the love!

Pause: 15:17 [background music]

Claudia Edelman: 15:17 So before the break we heard Tanya Accone describe how projects designed from Silicon Valley did not work for really poor people because they designed for the community, but not with them. But we found one of our partners that was doing things with the community.

Edie Lush: 15:33 Yes, Yunus Social Business. They invest in local businesses that help to improve living conditions. One of those businesses that they invested in is called Spouts of Water. And Spouts of Water solved the very problem of clean water. They had confounded all of those folks in Silicon Valley. I spoke to Daniel Yin, the CEO.

Pause: 15:52 [background music]

Edie Lush: 15:55 So tell me about SPOUTS and tell me about the technology that it has produced. It looks like a flower pot, but it’s not. It’s a filter. How does it work?

Daniel Yin: 16:06 Embedded within this filter, there are microscopic pores that remove all of the bacteria and protozoa from the water. So if you pour in any type of water, no matter how turbid it is, only clean water goes through and all of the germs and bacteria are removed.

Edie Lush: 16:24 How did the founders of SPOUTS come up with the design? I’m interested in how they worked with the community to do that.

Daniel Yin: 16:32 The whole design process was a collective effort all the way from our founders and our management team to the customers. The co-founders came in 2012 and they had the R and D process for about three years. So in these three years, the co-founders and the management team really reached out to the community and to see what they prefer in their water. What we found out is that a lot of families in the village, once they treat their water by boiling it or through chlorination tablets, they store the water in clay pots, giving it that distinct clay tastes, which a lot of families are accustomed to. So after doing about three years of R and D, we realized that ceramic water filters was the solution we wanted it to provide to the Ugandan population.

Edie Lush: 17:22 They use two types of surplus clay, yellow and black, which they buy from local farmers. Paul Matovu who runs SPOUTS, NGO side of the business knows firsthand the negative impact that dirty drinking water can have.

Paul Matovu: 17:36 More than 46% of Ugandans, actually, boil their water using the firewood or charcoal and they spend a lot of money. But also I was working with schools at that time before they joined. So there were lots waterborne disease cases in schools, because the schools don’t have the money to prepare drinking water for the kids. So when kids fall sick, they cannot attend school due to illness. So there are very, very many factors, but mostly to me it was mostly about the environmental, bit of it, reduction in carbon emissions, but also the social aspect of people not having to fall sick, people not having to spend on preventable waterborne diseases.

Edie Lush: 18:17 I asked Daniel how much these filters cost.

Daniel Yin: 18:21 Our filter costs around $24 and because we’re the only local manufacturer here in Uganda, we’re able to provide the filter at less than one third of the other imported water filters sold here. To make this even more affordable to the population here in Uganda, we offer a financing plan as well. So and that requires, you know, just a $7 down payment with the weekly payment of one and a half dollars. With this financing plan we’re able to reach even the base of the pyramid customers.

Paul Matovu: 18:54 You know, most people know buy firewood and charcoal to boil their water. And so our impact reports actually show that households save a lot of money by using our, our product.

Edie Lush: 19:07 The weekly cost of the Spout System is no more than and is often less than the cost of fuel to boil the water, which is what people were doing before.

Pause: 19:19 [background music]

Paul Matovu: 19:19 We installed water filters on islands and other rural communities. Last year alone, we stored over 30,000 filters in more than 4,000 households. One of our pilot programs was on the island called Bavooma Island. It’s on Lake Victoria, where people were suffering from biohazia and there were also many cases of diarrhea and typhoid. So we partnered with RTI, which is an international organization that has an office here in Uganda, and we found that after our intervention, the kids attendance in class increased by over 36%. This was attributed to the fact that, uh, about 98% of the students who are now taking water from our filter. And so, uh, beyond just the statistics there is this particular lady, I remember the name, she’s called Joy, she’s over 80 years old and she has more than five grandchildren. And prior to our intervention she had reported very many cases of diarrhea and typhoid. But then after one year of using our product, she reported that uh, high expenditure on waterborne diseases had reduced drastically and also she didn’t have to spend money to treat her kids, her grandchildren for typhoid, diarrhea, and other waterborne related diseases.

Edie Lush: 20:44 How much money did they save?

Paul Matovu: 20:46 So on average households spend between $1.60 US dollars actually to $3 dollars per week just spent on boiling.

Edie Lush: 20:55 How do you think this filter helps to overcome extreme poverty?

Paul Matovu: 21:01 Wow. Um, when I think about poverty and how it affects our communities. It’s not just about people not having the money, but it’s also about people having to unnecessarily spend the little money they have on treating preventative waterborne diseases. So our product has helped people. One to not spend money on boiling, but also not to spend money on treating what have one diseases like diarrhea and typhoid. We have some cases where people spend more than $50 just treating typhoid. These are very, very underserved and impoverished communities. So I’m convinced that people are saving a lot of money in different ways. The other bit is that time is money. So when people saving more of their time, they can use the time to make more money. We found that it’s mostly women and the girl children who do the preparation of drinking water and so on. The side of the ladies where they use this time for is to go and participate in more economic activities. I would say like farming or crafting stuff that they can sell in the market. On the side of the kids, they use the time to read their books.

Claudia Edelman: 22:17 Once again, this captures how making progress in one area can lead to making progress in another. So progress on clean water leads to progress on keeping kids in school. Plus, less water boiled means less carbon used and you get the idea.

Edie Lush: 22:34 It’s like a virtuous circle. Like the SDGs. In fact, I asked Tanya at UNICEF whether innovation done within the right context is enough on its own to eradicate extreme poverty.

Tanya Accone: 22:47 No, it is not. Um, I think another couple of lessons that we have learned, um, but I think we’ve always have known that from the start is um, and it’s uh, it’s often said to be an African proverb, but as an African I tell you, I’m not sure that it is an African proverb, but you know, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We’ve learned we need to go together. And that means being very rooted and making sure that you have experts in the context that you are designing with and for there together with strong partnerships from the best minds, you know in Silicon Valley, I’m using that as a, as a proxy for the private sector, for other kinds of public sector innovation and those parts of the ecosystem are incredibly, incredibly important. So you really need to be involving the entire ecosystem because you know the kinds of of challenges that we all are looking at triumphing over together in terms of the SDGs and you know, poverty reduction just being one but an incredibly important one. We can’t do that in a piecemeal way. So connecting, catalyzing and really collaborating is essential. We welcome people to reach out to us and explore how could we work together on something that would actually help to change the trajectory in a positive way of reaching the SDGs.

Claudia Edelman: 24:10 That’s our mantra, Edie, at the Global GoalsCast! It is all connected! We can only make it together! We only win when we all win!

Edie Lush: 24:21 Winner, winner chicken dinner. Speaking of which, there was big news this week about the Nobel Prizes.

Claudia Edelman: 24:28 I like the chicken connection to the Nobel Prizes, but I agree. Yes. There was this announcement from the chair of the Norwegian level committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen.

Berit Andersen: 24:39 As prime minister, Abyi Ahmed has sought to promote reconciliation, solidarity and social justice. The Norwegian Nobel committee hopes that the Nobel Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abyi in his important work for peace and reconciliation. A peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive side effects.

Claudia Edelman: 25:09 This fits right into our conversation about Goal 1 and eradicating poverty. I remember our episode about conflict and hunger. Conflict is one of the prime sources of poverty and hunger, so eliminating conflict in the horn of Africa opens a road not only to peace but also to eradicating poverty.

Edie Lush: 25:29 And that region from the horn of Africa West across the Sahel along the Southern Sahara desert remains one of the poorest and most stripe torn regions in the world.

Claudia Edelman: 25:39 The Ethiopian economy is already one of the fastest growing economies in the world and that is reducing poverty. But 20% of the population, which is more than 20 million people, by the way, still live below the poverty line. Many still don’t have clean water and of course conflict and violence have been around them all the time. So to leave the Ethiopians and the rest of the region out of poverty, we need both: an end to conflict and the innovation of homegrown solutions that Tanya Accone describe to us.

Edie Lush: 26:10 In just a few days after the prize to prime minister Abyi, a second Nobel Prize was announced that goes right to the question of finding approaches that work.

P. Fredrickson: 26:20 So this year’s prize in economic sciences is about alleviating global poverty or how to reduce global poverty is a fundamental but also daunting question. Effective policy alleviation requires that we can answer these questions and the most credible way of answering them is to try particular interventions in field experiments. This experimental approach has completely reshaped research in development economics. The results have a clear impact on policy and keeps improving our ability to fight global poverty.

Edie Lush: 26:58 That was Peter Fredrickson, chair of the Economics Award Committee, one of the three winners. Helene Dufour is a professor at MIT and she described her work,

Helene Dufour: 27:09 Our goal is to make sure that the fight against poverty is based on scientific evidence. It starts from the idea that often the poor are reduced to caricature and often people who tried to help them do not actually understand what are the deep root the problems that are addressing the poor. Poor people are supposed to be either completely desperate or lazy, or entrepreneurial, but we don’t try to understand the deep root and interconnected root of poverty. So what we tried to do in our approaches to say, look, let’s try and unpack the problem one by one and address them as vigorously and scientifically as possible. And that’s how we developed and use the experimental approach to better understand what are the reasons for particular problems. For example, the learning crisis that Professor Fredrickson was talking about and what can be done about it, what works, what doesn’t work and why.

Edie Lush: 28:11 Professor Dufour pointed out that while international assistance can be helpful, particularly during natural disasters or pandemic disease outbreaks, most of the resources for ending poverty will come from individual countries themselves.

Claudia Edelman: 28:25 Which of course is why they must use those resources wisely and effectively.

Edie Lush: 28:29 Which is another way of saying what Tanya Accone was saying. That context is king and what Helene Dufour and her two economics colleagues are saying when they insist that the fight to end poverty be based on solid field research and not just good intentions.

Claudia Edelman: 28:44 What I like is there seems to be a real urgency, like momentum, traction in the announcements to awarding these prices now to send a message, not just to give an honor.

Edie Lush: 28:55 And the three economists are decades younger than the typical Nobel winners and prime minister Abyi has only been in office a year.

Claudia Edelman: 29:04 Yes, but it’s been quite a year! In his first year in office, Prime Minister Abyi ended the border conflict with Eritrea and worked to resolve all the regional conflicts which believe me are so deep and complicated. And he also took strong steps to open Ethiopia to economic and political change. He freed journalists from prison, welcomed dissidents back, and he has promised free elections next year. And Edie, we shouldn’t actually believe the honeymoon, but I am very optimistic about what’s happening these first year for Ethiopia.

Edie Lush: 29:36 Let’s not forget that he’s brought many more women into government as well.

Claudia Edelman: 29:40 Yes. As well as representatives of every religion, language and ethnic group, of which Ethiopia has many and that is a kind of inclusion that can sport innovations! And Ethiopia is so wonderful, so big on powerful, Edie!

Edie Lush: 29:57 I really want to go there and I think that we should go interview prime minister Abyi. What do you think he should invite us to come?

Claudia Edelman: 30:04 Prime Minister Abyi, if you’re listening to this episode, consider these an open, uh, space for you to send us an invitation for the Global GoalsCast with him in Ethiopia.

Edie Lush: 30:16 The Nobel committee made it clear they had chosen Prime Minister Abyi to inspire support for his goals as much as to honor what he’s achieved so far. And Professor Dufour accepted the award on behalf of what she called the movement for researched-based development policy.

Claudia Edelman: 30:33 There’s some sort of debate among some economists, Edie. Some point out that most of that extraordinary progress in ending poverty is simply the result of growth. As countries get richer, individuals become well at least less poor. So they argue that free markets, migration and trade will do the most to end poverty, not any other SDG policy.

Edie Lush: 30:57 It’s not either or, right? Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Of course that helps, but without peace there would never be prosperity for everyone. How’s this going to turn out? Will these prices look prescient or premature? Can poverty really be eradicated in 10 years?

Claudia Edelman: 31:16 Well, we believe so. We absolutely… Were like on the optimistic team here. We’re on the possibilistic team here. If we would actually follow the SDGs and we accomplished the 17 goals and the 169 indicators, by the majority of the world, we will eradicate extreme poverty from the world completely! But what we cannot promise is that people will do it, that countries will follow it. What we can promise is to follow the fight to end poverty right through 2030 in future episodes of the Global GoalsCast.

Claudia Edelman: 31:54 Now for the section of this show where we give you the three facts that you can show off with your mother-in-law and the three actions to guide your to do list for today…

Edie Lush: 32:03 I actually do want to know is your mother-in-law impressed when you show off with the three facts?

Claudia Edelman: 32:12 [laughter] I do showoff with some facts. I tell you there’s no sexier thing than to have some data points to back up any evidence in there in the argument.

Edie Lush: 32:20 So you heard it here. Data is sexy! [laughter] Okay, so joining us for that welcome. Saskia Bruysten, co-founder and CEO, Yunus Social Business.

Saskia Bruysten: 32:33 The first fact is that there is some great progress happening. Extreme poverty has halved in the last two decades. That is fantastic news, but we need to keep in mind that moving out of this bracket still means to only live on $1.90 a day. If the world managed to cut this number by half, we should be able to reduce the amount of poverty to zero by 2030. My second fact is that last year, 26 individuals earned the same amount of money as 3.8 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity. Despite the fact that extreme poverty has been going down, inequality has still been rising. Billionaires now have more wealth than ever before. While only 5% of all new income generated from the global growth trickles down to the poorest 60%. My third fact is that poverty can be addressed by business. This may not seem logical at first, but we actually really need business if we want to make big changes. You’ve heard earlier in the episode about Spouts of Water, which addresses one problem of poverty, the lack of access of clean drinking water through a social business approach. But there are many other social business companies around the world that address important issues like clean energy, health, education, or even just creating income or jobs for poor or the marginalized. I wanted to leave you with three concrete actions that you can take yourself. So number one, to find out more about practical social business solutions, to end extreme poverty, please read my co-founder, Mohammad Yunus’ book: “A World of Three Zeros”. Number two, make sure your own savings, however small they may be, are invested in socially and environmentally responsible fund. Ask your banker or consider investing yourself in a social business that actively makes a change in the world. Go to organizations like Kiva… or go to Yunus Social Business funds. Number three, start your own social business or get your organization involved. Pick a problem that you want to tackle yourself and that you’re passionate about and start a company that addresses it. Or if you work for a large corporation, reach out to your CEO or your department, or your innovation team and ask them to consider setting up a social business.

Claudia Edelman: 35:17 This was incredible. Thank you to our guests and thank you all for listening. Please, like and subscribe via iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts from.

Edie Lush: 35:28 And give us five stars. We love the stars!

Claudia Edelman: 35:30 And follow us on social media @Global GoalsCast and see you next time.

Edie Lush: 35:34 Adios. Have fun in San Francisco.

Claudia Edelman: 35:37 Bye!

Presenter: 35:42 Global GoalsCast was hosted by Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. We are editorial gurued by Mike Oreskes editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooprider. And welcome to our new intern, Tina Pastore. Music in this episode was by Neil Hale, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Crone, Ashish Paliwal, and Andrew Phillips. This episode of Global GoalsCast is brought to you by Mastercard, creating scalable solutions for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Thanks, also, to CBS News Digital and to Harman, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

Greta, CEOs join Global GoalsCast to Save the Planet


Is the zeitgeist shifting toward action to curb global warming and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? Veteran Financial Times journalist Gillian Tett joins Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman to consider that question in the aftermath of the United Nation’s climate summit and General Assembly. While the actions of governments were disappointing, they see a new attitude among many businesses, who were far more engaged in UN activity this year. “The balance of risks in the eyes of many business executives have shifted,” says Tett. Many executives now think it is “riskier to stand on the sidelines and do nothing than to actually be involved in some of these social and climate change movements,” Tett reports. The challenge now is not whether to act but how. Edie completes her visit with Professor John Sterman at MIT, whose En-Roads computer model of the climate lets Edie identify policy actions that will hold contain heating of the atmosphere. “The conclusion here is it is, technically, still possible to limit expected warming to 1.5” degrees Celsius, Sterman concludes.

Facts and Actions come this week from Bradley Tusk, venture capitalist, political strategist, writer and host of the podcast, Firewall, which looks at the intersection of tech, politics and culture.

This episode is sponsored by BSR, a non-profit working with member companies to support corporate social responsibility. Check out their upcoming event here:

Featured guests

John Sterman

John Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Professor in MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems and Society, and director of the MIT System Dynamics Group and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. Prof. Sterman has published approximately 200 works spanning corporate strategy and operations, energy policy, public health, and climate change. Author of award-winning books and papers, he pioneered the development of interactive “management flight simulators” of corporate and economic systems, which are now used by governments, corporations, and universities around the world. These include the En-ROADS and CROADS energy and climate policy simulations, developed in partnership with the non-profit, Climate Interactive, which have been used by policymakers, negotiators, business and civil society leaders, educators and the public around the world. 

Max Boykoff

Maxwell T. Boykoff is an Associate Professor in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He teaches in the Environmental Studies program and is Adjunct Faculty in the Geography department. In addition, he is a Senior Visiting Research Associate in the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. Max has ongoing interests in climate adaptation, cultural politics and environmental governance, science-policy interactions, and political economy and the environment. His research has been mentioned in a range of outlets such as Science, Nature, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Grist, Utne Reader, La Razon (Spain) and National Public Radio (US). Check out his new book Creative (Climate) Communications: Productive Pathways for Science, Policy and Society and follow him on tweeter @boykoff

Bradley Tusk

Bradley Tusk is a venture capitalist who protects startups from political risk. He is the CEO and founder of Tusk Ventures, the first venture capital fund dedicated to working with and investing in startups in regulated industries. His fund, Tusk Ventures, has now worked with and invested in dozens of startups like Bird, FanDuel, Lemonade, Circle and Ripple. Bradley previously served as Mayor Bloomberg’s campaign manager in New York City, Deputy Governor of Illinois, and Senator Chuck Schumer’s communications director.

Laura Gitman

Laura is a global expert on corporate sustainability, with two decades of experience in strategy consulting and has advised senior executives at global companies across a range of industry sectors and sustainability issues. Laura has also been a leader in BSR’s organizational growth and impact. She launched BSR’s financial services practice and New York office, and she is currently the Chief Operating Officer, leveraging her strengths in strategy, organizational change, and people management. Laura works with leading global companies to develop and enhance their sustainability strategies to maximize value for business and society. She is sought after to facilitate senior-level strategy workshops and multistakeholder collaborations. She has published reports on environmental, social, and governance trends among investors as well as sustainability integration and leadership. From 2006 to 2010, she facilitated the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, growing the initiative from 15 to more than 50 companies.

Gillian Tett

Gillian Tett is the US editor-at-large and chair of the editorial board, based in New York. In this new role, Tett works to shape FT’s global editorial strategy and opinions, organizes Editorial board briefings and writes two weekly columns covering a range of economic, financial, political and social issues throughout the globe. Tett plays a key role in developing FT’s US growth plan and initiatives.

From 2014-2019, Tett served as the US managing editor, leading the FT’s editorial operations in the region across all platforms. She previously served as assistant editor responsible for the FT’s markets coverage and US managing editor from 2010-2012.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Greta Thunberg: 00:06 How dare you? You have stolen my dreams, my childhood with your empty words.

António Guterres: 00:15 So more and more people are feeling that climate change is impacting on them today. And this is changing public opinions. Governments have less of less influence in countries as a whole.

Gillian Tett: 00:26 To the balance of risks in the eyes of many business executives have shifted from it’s riskier to stand on the sidelines and do nothing than do actually be involved in some of these social and climate change events.

Prof. Sterman: 00:38 So the conclusion here is it is technically still possible to limit expected warming to one and a half. It’s time to fight. This is not going to be easy, but it’s gotta be worth it.

Edie Lush: 01:06 Welcome to the global goals Cast, the podcast that explores how to change the world. Ah! What a week you could feel the tensions, protesters in the streets. Greta Thunberg lecturing the world from the general assembly podium and the secretary general rallying the people to pressure his own bosses, the governments of the world.

Claudia Edelman: 01:27 We are here to walk you through what just happened during climate week called UNGA or the global goals week. And to present to you part two of Edie’s effort to save the world from a catastrophic warming on the climate interactive computer model at MIT.

Edie Lush: 01:43 That’s right. It was incredible to watch the real world argue how to curb climate change and compare that to the lessons I learned from the climate simulation.

Claudia Edelman: 01:53 We will have all of that and a special guest from the Financial Times, but first, this.

Presenter: 02:03 This episode of global goals cast is brought to you by BSR, building a just sustainable world. Join BSR, November 12th through 14th in San Jose California to hear innovative companies are navigating a new climate for business and paving the way for people and planet to thrive in an era of unprecedented change. BSR Thanks to CBS news digital and to Harman, the official sound of the Global GoalsCast.

Claudia Edelman: 02:39 We’ll come back. I’m Claudia Romo Edelman.

Edie Lush: 02:42 And I’m Edie Lush. To help us sum up climate week, we have brought in reinforcements.

Claudia Edelman: 02:48 We’re so glad to have our friend and colleague from the financial times, US editor at large and just launched Moral Money. Gillian Tett. Welcome to the program.

Gillian Tett: 02:58 Great to be here.

Claudia Edelman: 03:00 This is my 16th General Assembly Week and it is the first time that it felt mainstream that more people cared than the usual suspects.

Gillian Tett: 03:08 Well, I will get a medal for surviving 1615 general assembly weeks. But what was striking about this year was that in the past UN General Assembly Week has happened somewhat in a bubble of governments and nonprofits. And that was kind of really it. This year Business and finance and all of the associated groups around them, including the financial times were all over on Goal Week for the simple reason that the UN recognizes it needs to reach out to the business and financial community. And at the same time, executives right around the world are suddenly setting up and taking notice of what the UN is doing.

Edie Lush: 03:49 So Gillian, one of the articles you wrote last week was about how climate change could cause a new mortgage default crisis That’s clearly something pretty cataclysmic for the financial markets. Tell me about that.

Gillian Tett: 04:04 Well, the key thing to realize is that as the discussion about climate change gather steam, increasingly you’re seeing a lot of mainstream consultants and financial analysts and investors doing some pretty urgent modeling to work out how climate change could impact their portfolios going forward for both good and bad. And one of the areas where they’re increasingly doing modeling is looking at the impact of climate change on residential properties, which are vulnerable to say flooding on the East coast of America and asking questions like if there was a lot of flooding, what would that mean for the value of those properties? What would it mean for mortgages? What would it mean for the insurance companies and the banks associated with that? And you suddenly start to see a series of chain reactions that could be potentially quite serious.

Claudia Edelman: 04:56 And you mentioned about the computer modeling brings us exactly to the center of what this episode is going to be all about. By the way, Edie and you have done simulators, I have a FOMO of not having been in one. So I want to hear all about Edie. So Gillian, stay with us so that we can talk a little bit later about the rise and success of moral money,

Edie Lush: 05:17 But right now we’re going to give Claudia a little more FOMO as we pick up my conversation with John Sterman. You’ll recall he’s professor of management at MIT. Last episode I worked with him on his climate interactive model to see if I could design a set of actions that would prevent catastrophic warming. Let’s just say we left the world hanging at the end of the last episode.

Claudia Edelman: 05:41 Kind of like Climate Week.

Edie Lush: 05:42 Which of course is exactly the point. The model and the real world are scarily in sync. Professor Sterman told me how he’s broken down locks in the simulation that just maybe offer ways to break deadlocks in the real world. He told me about one session from a few years ago with a delegation from China.

Prof. Sterman: 06:03 Their view at that time officially in China is, listen, you developed countries, you created this problem. You have to cut your emissions. We, developing nations, you cannot tell us that we can’t do what you did. That’s amoral and we’re not going to have it. So we get to keep burning fossil fuel until we become as affluent as you are. So their proposals were large cuts from the United States, large cuts from Europe and all the other developed countries and very little from China, India, and the other developing countries. And I showed them that under that scenario Shanghai would be almost certainly inundated. Shenzhen would be inundated and they would lose their biggest and most important cities and centers of economic activity. And at that point I said, so what does this mean? And there was a long, long silence and I asked again, and another long silence. And then, somebody spoke and what I heard translated in my hear piece was: it means we have to leave the past in the past. And what he meant was: yes, it’s true, the Western developed nations have contributed the most to this problem. But if we want to save our country, we have to cut also. And what’s important about this is if I had stood up and said that and said, you must cut, because look, even if I cut emissions from the developed nations a lot, you still lose your big cities. They would have folded their arms and shaken their heads and because you can’t tell people these things. Instead what happened was they were completely free to choose any path of emissions they wanted to. So I was just showing them what happened with their own proposes. So they saw the consequences of their decisions. And I think that’s the only way these kinds of insights are going to arise and really have an impact.

Edie Lush: 08:27 All that happened just before China and the United States negotiated a bilateral agreement in 2014 to reduce carbon emissions. Ideal to set the stage for the Paris Climate Treaty. But now the biggest disagreements are between countries but inside one country. [Music] And have you had similar teaching moments on Capitol Hill in the US?

Prof. Sterman: 08:53 Yes. So I’m not gonna mention any names, but since the beginning of this year, I’ve presented this model myself and my team-mates to about 38 members of the Senate, to staff in the House and the Senate, from both parties, and senators from both parties as well. And I just got to tell you, nobody wants to hear yet another expert come and show them a thousand PowerPoint slides about what’s going to happen if they don’t take action. It’s just doesn’t work. But when you do this interactively, people get very excited and it’s… these are all very, very busy folks. But the meetings typically run lot because they are eager to see what happens if I do this, what happens if I do that? How can we get there? What does it mean in the real world?

Edie Lush: 09:49 So that’s why this simulation is so valuable. You can experience the real world impacts inside a computer and then return to reality with a much better grasp of what’s needed. When we took a break, we’d brought the temperature down from just above 4°C warming to 3°C warming. So we’re not doing too badly, but we’ve already lost New Orleans, lost Shanghai. So, that’s not looking so good. Does everyone who does this find it as difficult as I am?

Prof. Sterman: 10:26 In a word? Yeah. Most people are surprised that it’s as difficult as it is to get down towards 2, and people come at this with different positions on the political spectrum. Some people like pricing carbon, some people like a more regulatory approach, but it doesn’t matter. There’s no one lever that you can pull that gets you all the way there. We will see… if you can get us where we need to go Edie.

Edie Lush: 10:58 Oh my goodness. Okay.

Prof. Sterman: 11:00 But yeah, it’s hard.

Edie Lush: 11:03 14% of greenhouse gas emissions comes from transportation. So let’s look at energy efficiency in transport. So this is cars, trucks, that kind of thing?

Prof. Sterman: 11:17 Well, it’s all modes. So it’s cars and trucks. It’s trains, it’s also shipping and aviation. And all of those have and can have more improvements in energy efficiency. So let’s pull that lever. I’m going to pull it just about as much as I pulled the lever for energy efficiency in buildings. So we were at 3. You pull it out here we’re at 2.9. So it helps, but there’s a couple of reasons it doesn’t help more. Unlike buildings, it’s generally not possible to retrofit cars and trucks, aircraft and so forth. So you know, you bought an SUV, you’ve been driving it around for a few years in the United States, that car is going to last for 16 to 20 years. You might not own it that long, but somebody is going to be driving it, and that old car continues to be driven around using the same inefficient engine as before. So that helped!

Edie Lush: 12:18 A 10th of a degree of Celsius. So what about the electrification lever? What happens if we..

Prof. Sterman: 12:25 Transport?

Edie Lush: 12:25 Transport? Yeah!

Prof. Sterman: 12:26 Great. So this would be a move towards electric vehicles. So let’s pull that lever and we can highly incentivize it. Not all the way. And that got us another 10th of a degree.

Edie Lush: 12:40 So we’re now at now plus 2.8°C increase. Goodness. I thought getting electric cars was going to do more than that. That is surprising to me.

Prof. Sterman: 12:52 So why do you think it doesn’t have more impact? I’ll give you a hint. Look back here on the mix of energy sources.

Edie Lush: 13:01 It looks like we’ve still got coal and oil still… at least a pretty big mix there.

Prof. Sterman: 13:07 Electrifying transport definitely reduces the amount of oil, especially in the second half of the century when all those existing cars and so forth are replaced and as electric cars have become cheaper and more capable and more widely available. So, it definitely reduces the size of the wedge of the oil. What about the coal? By the end of the century, we’ve got a lot of clean green, renewable energy, but between now and 2050, there’s still a lot of coal still being used. One of the challenges here is can you green up the electric grid faster? So how could you do that?

Edie Lush: 13:51 Can we tax coal? Can we move to nuclear?

Prof. Sterman: 13:55 Sure.

Edie Lush: 13:55 I feel like I’m getting slightly desperate here! I feel like we have to save the world in 20 minutes! I’m not sure if we’re going to get there!

Prof. Sterman: 14:02 No need for desperation! Let’s tax call. You tried that before. One thing you can do is simply stop building any new coal infrastructure, no new mines, no new electric plants powered by coal, etc. In what year do you think we could implement a policy that would essentially stop the construction of any new coal powerplants?

Edie Lush: 14:27 Around the world? Goodness. 2025, 2030.

Prof. Sterman: 14:33 Well, let’s try 2025. You can change it at anytime you want, and let’s see what that does. You can see the coal is going down much faster now.

Edie Lush: 14:42 The coal wedge definitely goes down. We’re still holding it 2.7 plus, + 2.7.

Prof. Sterman: 14:50 2.7 now. So everything helps.

Edie Lush: 14:51 Ok!

Edie Lush: 14:51 You could also accelerate the retirement of existing coal plants. That helps a little bit. But the economics of new coal plants and existing ones are unfavorable generally speaking. But I think this makes a very important point. Even if coal production were to peak next year, 2020, which is what’s happening now, it takes a while before all that coal disappears and is driven out of the energy system by renewables and energy efficiency. And in the meantime, all that CO2 is still accumulating in the atmosphere. Now you mentioned nuclear. So just as we’ve subsidized renewables, we can also subsidize nuclear, and well, let’s just do it and see what happens. So first of all, we’re at 2.7. So now subsidize nuclear about the same as the renewables. So what happened?

Edie Lush: 15:50 Nothing happened.

Prof. Sterman: 15:51 Almost nothing. Right? Temperature didn’t go down.

Edie Lush: 15:54 Nope, we’re still at +2.7.

Prof. Sterman: 15:56 Let’s figure out why. So let me subsidize nuclear a whole heck of a lot more. So now we’re getting a lot of nuclear.

Edie Lush: 16:04 Right.

Prof. Sterman: 16:05 But it only notched us down less than a 10th of a degree. So we’re at 2.6 something. But why? You know. So take a look at this graph of primary energy production and let me back up all the way to where there’s no nuclear and there’s a huge wedge of green energy now. Right? So now let’s heavily subsidize the nuclear.

Edie Lush: 16:32 I see. So by subsidizing nuclear, you’re actually cutting into the renewables, but not doing very much to impact oil and gas.

Prof. Sterman: 16:43 You’ve made a great observation here. A lot of people think, well before I pulled the nuclear lever, I’ve got this giant wedge of green energy, wind, solar, hydro, geothermal. With the storage you need to make it useful. Even when the sun’s down and the wind is not blowing and now we’ll add nuclear and if we can get a certain amount of nuclear, it’ll add to the green and we’ll be better off. But in fact what happens is you do get more nuclear, you have to subsidize it very heavily, but it squeezes out the green and you’re not really getting any significant net increase in carbon free energy.

Edie Lush: 17:24 Ok!

Prof. Sterman: 17:24 And it’s very clear that this, this would happen, right? If nuclear energy becomes cheap enough that the market wants it, then it’s going to be cheaper for a utility to do that than to invest in wind farms and utility scale solar so they won’t.

Edie Lush: 17:47 Okay, so let’s look at protecting the lungs of the earth. As Macron said the other day. So we want to reduce deforestation and let’s also plant some trees. Let’s increase the number of trees in the forests. What happens there? We’re at 2.7°C increase now.

Prof. Sterman: 18:11 So I’m going to put in a moderate reduction in deforestation and that was worth a 10th of a degree C and if we go a little farther, you can see emissions come down a little more and a very large reduction. Yeah, it helped a bit.

Edie Lush: 18:28 Okay. So we’re at plus 2.6. Yup.

Prof. Sterman: 18:31 So that helped. Now let’s plant some new trees on previously deforested land. And so that’s afforestation and that’s… I’ve got medium growth here. That’s we’re down down to 2.5 and we could do more. So that helps. Absolutely helps. So this graph on the bottom shows how much carbon dioxide is being removed every year by those trees, the new trees, as they grow. And well what do you notice about that?

Edie Lush: 19:05 So it takes a while for the CO2 to be taken out of the air. So really till you’re planting them now, it’s just before 2040 that you start to see any increase in removal of carbon dioxide from the air.

Prof. Sterman: 19:19 Right.

Edie Lush: 19:20 So I guess it takes a while for trees to grow.

Prof. Sterman: 19:23 Absolutely right. So you know, when you start a massive afforestation program, then you plant a million seedlings in a day, which I believe Tanzania just did. That’s fantastic. But those seedlings have almost no carbon in them next year. Maybe they’ve doubled in size, they still have almost no carbon in them. They don’t really start to remove carbon until they become rather large. And it takes, depending on the species and the climate, a hundred years before they’re really starting to store a lot of carbon. Afforestation is a great thing to do, but it doesn’t help in the near term.

Edie Lush: 20:09 Okay. Here’s another great thing to do. Let’s take a brief break to hear from someone. We’re very positive about. Laura Gitman, the chief operating officer of BSR, a global nonprofit that works with its network of more than 250 member companies and other partners to build a just and sustainable world. I asked Laura if purpose alongside profit was an idea that is going mainstream.

Laura Gitman: 20:36 I think it’s a redefinition of profit and a redefinition of purpose. I think it is redefining what it means to have a profit. Where, how are those profits distributed? You paying taxes? Or is the community that is contributing to your profit? Are they benefiting from those profits? And so I think it’s, it’s a more fundamental restructuring of the role of business itself, as well as a fundamental recognition that business is a critical player in helping society achieve its overall purpose. So a perfect example of this is the climate strike, which started more as a school strike with Greta Thunberg. But now we’re seeing employees from Amazon, and Microsoft, and Google walking out in support. So it really is employees standing up for what they believe in and what they expect their companies to be able to support and to demonstrate to the world their commitment.

Edie Lush: 21:34 And Laura, you’ve got an event coming up in my home state of California. Tell me about it.

Laura Gitman: 21:39 We do. So BSR has our annual conference. This year it will be hosted in San Jose on November 12th through 14th.

Edie Lush: 21:48 To learn more about BSR and to attend their conference, go to

Claudia Edelman: 21:59 Welcome back. When we left Edie, She limited temperature increase to 2.5°C above the pre-industrial level.

Edie Lush: 22:09 So the clock is ticking. We’re at 2.5 degrees increase now. What about agriculture? Because I know that we get a lot of methane emissions from cows from the front end. I know that there’s a big push to reduce meat consumption. What does that do when we pull that lever?

Prof. Sterman: 22:31 You’re absolutely right. A lot of the methane is coming from the technical term being enteric methanogenesis, but more popularly known as cow burps. Also, the nitrous oxide is coming from agriculture much of it. So let’s pull that lever and let’s have a moderate reduction in the methane.

Edie Lush: 22:51 Wow. That made a big change. So we’re now at +2.1°C or +3.8°F. That was a big one. Why is that?

Prof. Sterman: 23:02 So first of all, cutting the emissions from agriculture is feasible with technology we have today. You mentioned several things that would need to be done, reducing food waste. The IPCC in the UN and others, FAO estimate about 30% of all the food produced in the world is wasted. Even small reductions in that reduce the need for land, for agriculture, for uh, fertilizer, for all the fossil fuel that goes into cultivation and harvesting and processing. So that makes a big difference. Secondly, shifting to a less meat intensive diet for those who find that to be attractive, that can help a lot. You don’t have to become a vegan, but even cutting back your beef and meat consumption a little bit, not only make you healthier and ease your food budget, but it reduces methane and nitrous oxide emissions that come from livestock. So this is something that can be done and it makes a big difference. You’re almost there!

Edie Lush: 24:04 We’re almost there! We’re at 2.1. We haven’t pulled the lever yet on electrifying buildings in industry. What does that do when you pull that lever and what is that all about?

Prof. Sterman: 24:16 So it’s analogous to electrifying transport. It’s what I did in my own house here where we completely ripped out the fossil heating system, put in those air source heat pumps that are powered by electricity, which in my case is coming from our solar. But in general, that means you’d be running your heating and cooling your buildings, entirely with electricity. So as we’ve green the grid here, we get climate benefits. So lets do that and I’ve got about the same degree of electrification for buildings as we have chosen for transportation. And where are we now?

Edie Lush: 24:55 So we’re now at 2° increase Celsius, which is what the Paris Accords have put as the upper limit, which is good. I have to say though, we’re still not at 1.5 to stay alive. So I still feel like there’s something else we got to do.

Prof. Sterman: 25:11 Right. There’s a couple of options. We could try a higher carbon price. So let’s just do that.

Edie Lush: 25:16 It was at $50. We’re now putting it at $100 a ton.

Prof. Sterman: 25:20 So that’s about 90 cents a gallon, in the United States, which would leave the price of gasoline still well below European levels today. And it’s phased in gradually over a period of a decade. So people would have time to plan and adjust. And that got us to 1.9. There’s other ways to do it. So one of the things we haven’t tried is what if there’s a radical new technological breakthrough?

Edie Lush: 25:48 Like, what?

Prof. Sterman: 25:48 We have this lever here we call new tech, new technology. So what would it be in the real world? Well, it might be fusion, it could be an advanced next generation nuclear fussion technology. And maybe it’s something we haven’t thought of yet. Artificial leaf for, I don’t know, iron man’s arch reactor. So, because so many people believe that if we just had more R&D, we could come up with a breakthrough like this and make fusion feasible or make one of these other technologies feasible and then that would solve the problem. So what we’ve assumed here is when I pull this new tech slider, we’re getting a 100% carbon free energy source that’s going to be cheaper than coal. So let’s try it. So I’ve got a pretty big breakthrough here right now.

Edie Lush: 26:43 Huge breakthrough.

Prof. Sterman: 26:43 It’s this orange band.

Edie Lush: 26:43 A new tech band has appeared on your global sources of primary energy and absolutely nothing has had happened to the temperature of the earth. It’s still at 2°C!

Prof. Sterman: 26:57 So why is that?

Edie Lush: 26:59 Because it’s taken away from bio energy and renewables it looks like, or bio energy and nuclear. Yeah.

Prof. Sterman: 27:08 So this is quite interesting what you’ve just discovered. So I could make it an even bigger breakthrough. And now there’s a gigantic amount of this new tech, but it only is worth a 10th of a degree because you’ve squeezed out even more. So here’s the dilemma. New tech will grow sooner and faster if it’s really, really cheap. But the cheaper it is, the less nuclear, hydro, wind, solar, and the less efficiency people are going to invest in. New tech is so cheap. Why would anybody want to spend the money to insulate their home or put good windows into their home? Because their electric bill is going to be way, way lower. So you’re getting a… compensating effect, or a rebound effect.

Edie Lush: 27:59 Okay. And what about changing the assumptions about consumption? We know from our final episode of season 2 that we have this unsustainable ratio of 32 to one so Americans are consuming 32 times what an average Kenyan does. Can we fool around with that?

Prof. Sterman: 28:17 We can! So I’m showing you a graph of GDP per capita in each of the big regions and countries of the world, the U S European union, China, India, other developed and other developing economies. And if we reduce the focus on consumption, we do in fact slowed down the rate at which affluence continues to grow. Nobody’s getting poorer here, they’re just getting more affluent at a somewhat slower rate.

Edie Lush: 28:50 All right, so I’ve got us below 1.9°C, but it’s not enough for the, the low lying island nations.

Prof. Sterman: 29:00 So your carbon price is still pretty low at $50. Pretty low relative to what might be needed to get big changes in energy use and more renewables out there. So let’s increase it and we’re at 1.9, 1.8, I’ll make round this off here. I’ll make it $170 a ton. A lot of economists believe that’s in the ballpark of what might be needed. And we phase it in gradually, and you can give the money back to the people. And then, you know, one of the unfortunate realities of the fact that we’ve waited so long to do all this is that it’s very, very hard to get much below 2 unless you have what’s called negative emissions. And so we do have over here the different negative emissions technologies, like bio-energy with carbon capture and storage, like bio char, direct air capture and agricultural soil sequestrations, etc.

Edie Lush: 30:07 So this is under the broader, broader theme of technological carbon removal. What happens when we pull that lever?

Prof. Sterman: 30:15 It actually does quite a lot. And if I, if I pull it most of the way towards what various experts believe is the maximum that could be done.

Edie Lush: 30:29 We’ve now hit 1.5 degrees! Gosh, that was a close.

Prof. Sterman: 30:32 Yeah! congratulations.

Claudia Edelman: 30:37 Wow! Edie, you made it. But technically possible is only part of the challenge, right? It is politically possible to keep warming to 1.5°C.

Edie Lush: 30:47 Step one is to show it’s possible, giving hope and encouragement to those willing to roll up their sleeves and try. I talked about that with professor Sterman. Jonathan Franzen and just the other day said, we should just give up. It’s over. We’ve lost the fight to contain global warming. So seen from our work today, he’s wrong! And we shouldn’t give up and there is a reason still for optimism despite the current political climate.

Prof. Sterman: 31:18 So I think he is wrong. I think it is still possible technically to limit the expected warming and even if this turns out to be somewhat over optimistic, whatever we do makes for a safer world for ourselves and our kids and for all the kids then giving up. So I just utterly reject his approach. I mean one way to think about it is if you believe as he does that it’s too late, that people are never going to learn to cooperate. They’re never going to take the actions that can make such powerful differences as we’ve seen here, they’re never going to overcome the political interference of the fossil fuel industry. If you believe that you are going to get to be right because you’re not going to do a darn thing about it. And so do you want to be right or do you want to make a difference? I think we can make a difference, but we’re only gonna make a difference if we stand up and take action. And that action has to be personal. Insulate your home. Put solar on your roof. It has to be professional work to have your company become more efficient and get off of fossil fuels. And it has to be as a citizen, we aren’t going to succeed without collective action. It just makes no sense to give up. It’s time to fight. This is not going to be easy, but it’s gonna be worth it!

Edie Lush: 32:50 Another way to put it is this. Not the time to roll up our trousers and get ready for the floods, but it’s time to roll up our sleeves. No, not a great joke? Okay. Max Boykoff, at the university of Colorado, has a new book on how humor can move people to action while bad news just depresses them. Here’s an example from Jimmy Kimmel.

Special Clip: 33:11 “Attention galaxy! Planet Earth is going out of business! We’ve lost our minds and everything must go! Insane deals on everything on Earth. Panda bears! Giant sequoias! Large inflatable ducks! Portugal! Porcupine! Oceans! 50% off nocturnal animals: insects, reptiles and amphibians! Unused home gym! Artificial pine tree! St Patrick’s Cathedral! Bats! Other bats! Salmon! Tide pods! But you must act fast because Planet Earth is over soon and when it’s gone, is gone!”

Claudia Edelman: 33:42 Wow. all right. So both of you, Edie and Gillian, first of all, it’s so great to be able to have our conversation after the craziness of the UNGA & that we’re like able to reflect and, and talk to the audience that is not able to be here in New York and give them a sense about like how big this is. But both of you have done computer modeling, so how did that change your mindset?

Gillian Tett: 34:05 Well, people are forever modeling the outlook for the economy, and demographics, and the recently things, the energy standard demand, and all kinds of macroeconomic variables in businesses already. It’s really been just recently though they began to do it in relation to climate change. They should probably should have done it many years ago. And that’s really having impact not just inside the C-suite, but also amongst investor committees, and also amongst regulators. I can’t stress this strongly how significant, what the actions of central banks are right now, in terms of trying to concentrate minds inside the financial sector, because when you look at these models and think about the potential for defaults or asset price impairment, they are very significant.

Edie Lush: 34:48 So what I learned from this simulator was first of all, how every action that you can take, so whether it’s taxing coal, planting trees, whether it’s protecting trees, whether it’s worrying about population, they all start to impact each other. So you think you’re doing something great and actually it’s not great at all, or it doesn’t have as much of an impact as you thought it would on bringing the increase in the temperature down. It was really hard to keep that temperature from increasing, mostly because of the collective effort that it’s going to take to do just that. And I actually wanted to ask you guys, what was your impression from UNGA from the whole week about the promises from governments?

Gillian Tett: 35:32 Well in some respects what happened is that it quite disappointing because we didn’t see a lot more announcements. The Chinese who many people have been looking to for action essentially are so concerned about their domestic economy slowing down right now that they deliberately did not put themselves at the stage of this debate and of course the U.S. Administration is currently denying that climate change is really an issue at all. However, if you look around the edges, there were some encouraging developments, whether it’s a fat that the British government is increasingly trying to redefine the concept of aid and channel people’s pensions in the UK towards more socially positive in types of investments. If you look at the fact that the regulators and central bank governors are moving ahead with efforts to force the financial system to really get involved in trucking climate change, there are all kinds of measure that are happening one level beneath the very top presidential suite, which are very important, but anyone looking for the big bang, unfortunately we’re going to be disappointed.

Claudia Edelman: 36:33 And nevertheless, I do feel that these UNGA managed to get a zietgiest. There’s something that changed in the way that we see these things as relevant.

Gillian Tett: 36:43 The fear in many C-suites, many corporate boards, many investment committees is if they don’t get engaged in these issues, they’re going to suffer reputational damage. Their employees will be unhappy, they might lose money on their portfolios, their businesses could suffer. And so the balance of risks in the eyes of many businesses executives have shifted from it’s riskier to stand on the sidelines and do nothing than to actually be involved in some of these social and climate change movements.

Claudia Edelman: 37:10 And that is how you launched Moral Money.

Gillian Tett: 37:13 Well, absolutely. I mean, we first started looking at the idea of doing a special website, a newsletter around green issues, socially responsible business issues quite long time ago. And we’ve thought a couple of years ago was quite a minority, interest topic in the sense that it was really only mattered to people who were actively investing in a way that wanted to deliver social change. And then early this year, we realized that actually the rise of what people called environmental social and governance issues, ESG issues, was actually convulsing almost every corporate board and investment committee and bank across the Western World, because it’s now become part of risk management in the sense that businesses and financers know that if they ignore ESG issues completely, they actually run big risks now. We did a survey recently of our readers to see why they were signing up to it and reading it. So, voraciously, and what this shows is that the vast majority of people think that these issues, ESG, environmental, social governance issues, are really important to their jobs. But also the vast majority of people who responded, and they were mostly mid level employees, most of them don’t actually know how to make sense of it. So all we’re trying to do is find a way to cut through all these acronyms and get a sense of companies and individuals and employees can do to, at best, promote these new ideas and build a better world, but at least at worst, avoid the risks of ignoring them.

Edie Lush: 38:49 The other conversations that I’ve had last week but also actually in Davos, Gillian, were about how it’s still tough for the C-suite to figure out how to support the Sustainable Development Goals because there’s still so much work to be done around setting standards. So I wonder if you saw some movement last week around that.

Gillian Tett: 39:09 That’s certainly a lot of concern inside the C-suite and investment committees about just how difficult it is to actually take this sustainable development goals and turn it into an action plan. I’m in the argument right now isn’t about why, it’s really about how. Now the good news is that actually efforts to look at the accounting issues and the management issues and rating issues are really accelerating right now. There’s an explosion of innovation and competition amongst private sector companies to provide solutions. And the even better news is that a lot of big companies are now stepping up to try and provide this demonstration effect. There was a group of 17 companies which call themselves the Business Avengers after the Hollywood characters who are promising to take a lead in this respect, but still a long way to go.

Claudia Edelman: 39:57 Business Avengers. I love that. As long as they look as hot as the real Avengers. So thank you so much Gillian Tett for being here.

Edie Lush: 40:09 Thank you Gillian! Now facts and actions, usually we take a global view, but this episode has led us to something a little different. As John Sterman said, it is technically possible to contain global warming, but is it politically possible, especially when the government of the largest economy in the world is in gridlock for facts and actions on the deadlock over climate in the United States, we decided to turn to a multi talented guy. He’s a political strategist of venture capitalist and the host of the podcast firewall here is Bradley Tusk.

Bradley Tusk: 40:48 Hi, this is Bradley Tusk and I am giving you 3 facts and 3 actions from my perspective on climate change. The first one is the most obvious thing you’ve heard all day, which is Congress is wildly dysfunctional. There is no ability to pass or move or change anything and it really comes down to two reasons. One is because of gerrymandering, the vast, vast majority of elections are decided in primaries, not in the general election and the primary because turnout is really low is usually a contest to see who is either the most left wing or right wing depending on the district. The problem is, as a result, when you have 15% turnout in primaries, you’re mainly sending far left wing and far right wing members to Congress, for whom compromise or getting things done. It’s a lot less important than ideological purity. The second is the status quo that you can’t solve climate. To do anything meaningful climate, you’re gonna need legislation, which means compromise on a carbon tax or a much higher gas tax or a carbon sequestration funding. All of that means moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats working together. And third, if you’re on the left or the right, it’s not in your interest to change this. If ideological purity is what you care about, that’s kind of what gets you up in the morning and gets you out of bed, get you reelected, helps you raise money. So those are the facts. So what can you do about it? Three actions. The first is we need support moderates from both parties. I’m an independent. I think both parties are wildly corrupt. Most of my giving and voting tends to be for Democrats. But I do look to find moderate Republicans to support as well. Because if we don’t have moderate Republicans, then we’re never going to have the ability to get anything done and climate or any other issue. The second is we fundamentally have to reform the way that we vote in the first place. So the reason why things are the way they are, it’s why every policy out produced the result of a political input. I want to turn out, it’s 15% most primaries in most districts are gerrymandered. Politicians know that they have to keep that 15% happy at the exclusion of everyone else. But imagine turnout were 60 or 70% in the primary, then you’re trying to keep the mainstream happy and I was trying to keep a small vocal minority happy. How does that happen? If people can vote on their phones? How does that happen safely through the blockchain? So there have been now experiments run in West Virginia, Denver and Utah where deployed service men and women have been able to vote on their phone over the blockchain in elections. They have all got extremely wealth, the national cybersecurity center has ordered each of them and found that the elections were secure. As that trend continues, that becomes your opportunity to radically increase turnout in primary elections, which ultimately leads to more moderate candidates, more consensus, and then getting actually things done. And the third is more of a personal thing, but just don’t worry about passing anyone else’s litmus test but your own. Don’t worry about being considered woke. Everyone loves to have standards and that you have to meet in their purity tests, but their purity test is totally glued to their own self interest. It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about what’s good for them politically. It’s about what’s good for them economically and the only thing that matters is what you believe.

Edie Lush: 43:42 Before we go, thanks to our guests Gillian Tett and John Sterman. To find out more about John’s En-ROADS Climate Solutions Simulator, go to that’s

Claudia Edelman: 43:57 And thanks for listening. Please like and subscribe, wherever you get your podcast and follow us on social media at Global GoalsCast. See you next time. Bye Bye! Adios!

Edie Lush: 44:06 Adios!

Presenter: 44:13 Global GoalsCast was hosted by Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. We are editorial gurued by Mike Oreskes. Editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooprider and welcome to our new intern Tina Pastore. Music in this episode was by Neil Hail, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Krohn, Ashish Paliwal and Andrew Phillips, who just won an Emmy for his music on “Stolen Daughters”, the HBO documentary on the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Congratulations, Andrew. This episode was made possible with the support of BSR also CBS News Digital and Harman, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

Can Global GoalsCast Save the Planet?


The Climate challenge is sprawling and extraordinarily complex. It is too much for any individual to hold all of it in their head. That knowledge void has become a major political obstacle to effective climate action (SDG 13) as we fill it in paralyzing ways, from denial to apocalyptic fear.  The best way to learn that we can curb climate change is to do it. So Global GoalsCast co-host Edie Lush sat down with John Sterman, professor of Management at MIT, to solve the climate crisis on his ClimateInteractive model of the world’s climate and economy. Edie tried everything from energy efficient homes to a steep tax on carbon in a search for solutions that would hold global temperature increases under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit). How did she do? 

To find out, listen to this special two-part episode of Global GoalsCast, timed to coincide with the United Nations Climate Summit and the global journalism effort to increase awareness of the climate challenge, #CoveringClimateNow.

Facts and Actions are presented by Elizabeth Sawin, Co Director of ClimateInteractive.Org, the not-for-profit which makes the climate simulation available worldwide. Dr. Sawin is an expert in what she calls “multisolving,” helping people find solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while producing multiple benefits in health, justice, equity, resilience and well-being. 

Featured guests

John Sterman

John Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Professor in MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems and Society, and director of the MIT System Dynamics Group and MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. Prof. Sterman has published approximately 200 works spanning corporate strategy and operations, energy policy, public health, and climate change. Author of award-winning books and papers, he pioneered the development of interactive “management flight simulators” of corporate and economic systems, which are now used by governments, corporations, and universities around the world. These include the En-ROADS and CROADS energy and climate policy simulations, developed in partnership with the non-profit, Climate Interactive, which have been used by policymakers, negotiators, business and civil society leaders, educators and the public around the world. 

Elizabeth Sawin

Elizabeth Sawin is Co-Director of Climate Interactive, a think tank that applies systems analysis to climate change and related issues. A biologist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Beth trained in system dynamics and sustainability with Donella Meadows and worked at Sustainability Institute, the research institute founded by Meadows, for 13 years. Beth’s work focuses on helping people find solutions that prevent future climate change, build resilience to unavoidable climate impacts, and provide opportunities to people who need them most. She writes and speaks on this topic to local, national, and international audiences. She is a member of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, a continuing dialogue on issues of climate change and sustainability among a select group of humanities scholars, writers, artists and climate scientists. Beth’s work also focuses on capacity building – helping leaders achieve bigger impact. She has trained and mentored global sustainability leaders in the Donella Meadows Fellows Program, and provided systems thinking training to both Ashoka and Dalai Lama Fellows in recent years.

Laura Gitman

Laura is a global expert on corporate sustainability, with two decades of experience in strategy consulting and has advised senior executives at global companies across a range of industry sectors and sustainability issues. Laura has also been a leader in BSR’s organizational growth and impact. She launched BSR’s financial services practice and New York office, and she is currently the Chief Operating Officer, leveraging her strengths in strategy, organizational change, and people management. Laura works with leading global companies to develop and enhance their sustainability strategies to maximize value for business and society. She is sought after to facilitate senior-level strategy workshops and multistakeholder collaborations. She has published reports on environmental, social, and governance trends among investors as well as sustainability integration and leadership. From 2006 to 2010, she facilitated the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, growing the initiative from 15 to more than 50 companies.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


John Sterman: 00:02 Research shows that showing people research doesn’t work. You can tell people the science, you can show them the science, you can give them the presentations and it just doesn’t change people’s behavior, their thinking, their attitudes. The way learning happens for most people almost all the time, is people learn from experience and experiment. But in the climate situation, as more people find out that, holy cow, this climate change is really a serious threat to our lives, our prosperity, our security. It’s just going to be too late. We can’t afford to wait, and there’s no way to run experiments. We only have our one planet. So that is why you need simulators.

John Sterman: 00:49 So your job, Edie,

Edie Lush: 00:51 if I choose to accept it…

John Sterman: 00:52 well, you don’t have a choice right now because the world is, the world is counting on you.

Claudia Edelman: 01:05 Welcome to the Global GoalsCast!

Edie Lush: 01:06 The podcast that explores how to change the world. Claudia, welcome to season three!

Claudia Edelman: 01:13 We’re back! We’re back! We’re amazing! Award winning, 125,000 downloads – featured by apple, inspiring , real action! The Global GoalsCast is back!

Edie Lush: 01:25 Yes. And do you know what? I missed you this summer when we were not recording.

Claudia Edelman: 01:30 I know I lost actually, like, practice. Let’s see how today goes. But today, Edie, today and in this episode we’re going to tackle the biggest challenge of all: climate change. Edie, this really is the biggest challenge that human beings have ever faced. It involves everyone on earth. It affects everything – from how we work, how we eat, and even how we play. It affects fairness, poverty, well, the entire human society is affected by climate change.

Edie Lush: 02:01 And Claudia, the problem is so big and so complex that many people either just deny the problem… or they throw up their hands and say: ah, we’re toast anyway… we can’t solve it, so let’s just get ready to live with it.

Claudia Edelman: 02:14 Yes, yes. And I read Jonathan Franzen in the New Yorker saying that, exactly that… how depressing!

Edie Lush: 02:20 Climate apocalypse, which is what he was talking about, I don’t think is helpful. And at the Global GoalsCast, we prefer to talk about the champions who are doing something. Optimists! The glass half full types… the never say never people… and we find them! And when we come back, we’re going to introduce you to one of them. You can join me in saving the planet, but first this…

Presenter: 02:49 This episode of Global GoalsCast is brought to you by BSR – Building a just and sustainable world. Join BSR November 12th to 14th in San Jose, California, to hear how innovative companies are navigating a new climate for business and paving the way for people and planet to thrive in an era of unprecedented change: Thanks to CBS News Digital and to Harman, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

Claudia Edelman: 03:28 Welcome back! Edie, seriously? You saved the planet in your demo?

Edie Lush: 03:33 Actually, Claudia, you’re going to have to wait for part two to find out. No spoilers. What I can tell you is that I spoke to an MIT professor who’s built a computer model of the global climate and the global economy. 60,000 people have played his simulations. Everyone from Chinese technocrats to members of the US Congress. Our editorial maestro, Mike Oreskes, calls it a flight simulator for piloting the planet to a safe future.

Claudia Edelman: 04:03 Hmm, a flight simulator is a teaching tool according to the maestro, isn’t it?

Edie Lush: 04:07 That’s right! Professor John Sterman of MIT explained why that’s such a good analogy and then he put me in the pilot’s seat.

Claudia Edelman: 04:14 Oh my God.

Edie Lush: 04:18 Hello. Can you hear me?

John Sterman: 04:20 Yes.

Edie Lush: 04:21 Great.

John Sterman: 04:22 Good morning.

Edie Lush: 04:23 Good morning or good afternoon. Almost good evening here. So thanks so much for being with me. I am delighted to be speaking to you and tell me about what I am looking at right on my screen. What is this?

John Sterman: 04:38 Well, you’re seeing an interactive energy and climate policy simulator.

Edie Lush: 04:43 And why did you create this?

John Sterman: 04:47 The way that basic research in climate science proceeds is using some of the most complex largest simulation models ever developed. These models are essential for understanding how the climate works and moving the frontier of climate knowledge forward. Uh, but they take weeks or in some cases, months to run on some of the largest supercomputer clusters in the world because they have an enormous amount of detail. And this is essential for basic progress in climate science, but because of that and because they run so slowly, they are not helpful for education and for policy makers and negotiators who meet, for example, through the UN every year. So what we did is we developed a set of models that behave the same way as the large models do at the global level or at the level of a few countries. Can’t give you all the detail that the big models do. But in return, they run essentially instantly on an ordinary laptop. And that makes them useful for policy makers, negotiators, business leaders, leaders and civic society, the media and others. Why don’t the policy makers, negotiators and other leaders simply use the results of the big models? The reason is simple research shows that showing people research doesn’t work. And this isn’t just about climate, uh, whether it’s you should wear your bike helmet and your motorcycle helmet, you should buckle up your seatbelt. When you drive, uh, you should quit smoking. Vaccines are overwhelmingly safe and save lives. You can tell people the science, you can show them the science, you can give them the presentations and it just doesn’t change people’s behavior, their thinking, their attitudes.

Edie Lush: 06:52 Hmm.

John Sterman: 06:53 So the way learning happens for most people almost all the time, is people learn from experience and experiment.

Edie Lush: 07:02 Hmm.

John Sterman: 07:04 But in the climate situation, experience is going to come just too late. We can’t afford to wait and there’s no way to run experiments. We only have our one planet and we can’t…

Edie Lush: 07:16 But it does feel like we’re, we’re actually in an experiment right now. I mean even just this morning, the news on the radio was that yet again, we’ve had another summer of insanely hot temperatures in Europe. In France. They were over 40 degrees.

John Sterman: 07:32 Right.

Edie Lush: 07:33 We’ve seen one time in a lifetime, storms happening twice within two years. So it feels like we are an experiment yet we still need a tool like this because governments, companies, people aren’t making the changes necessary.

John Sterman: 07:50 So that’s absolutely right. We’re running a giant uncontrolled experiment. And when we find out, as I think we already have, but as more people find out that holy cow, this climate change is really a serious threat to our lives, our prosperity, our security, it’s just going to be too late. There won’t be any option to go back. So that is why you need simulators and you’re exactly right. We call these tools management, flight simulators, and we’ve been developing them in my group for decades. So that’s what we’re up to here.

Edie Lush: 08:24 Okay, so let’s fly the plane if that’s the right analogy. Let’s fly the simulator.

John Sterman: 08:31 Great! So think of this as the cockpit of the simulator and you’ve got these graphs.

Edie Lush: 08:36 Ok!

John Sterman: 08:36 You just asked me what you’d like to see. If we’ve got it, we can bring it up on the screen.

John Sterman: 08:44 So as you can see, and as we just mentioned, uh, under this business-as-usual scenario in which population of the world keeps growing according to the UN’s projection, uh, the economies of the countries around the world keep growing. So people are becoming more affluent and the last developed countries are rising out of poverty. Uh, that is accomplished right now with no climate action, with an awful lot of fossil fuel, a lot of coal, oil and gas. And that drives emissions up and that leads to warming of over 4°C by the year 2100 – 7.4° Fahrenheit. And the consequences of that are, are likely to be nothing short of catastrophe.

John Sterman: 09:31 So your job, Edie?

Edie Lush: 09:33 Yeah, if I choose to accept it!

John Sterman: 09:35 Well you don’t have a choice right now because the world, the world is counting on you.

John Sterman: 09:41 So down at the bottom of the cockpit.

Edie Lush: 09:43 Yeah!

John Sterman: 09:43 You’ve got a whole lot of different policy levers that you can implement.

Edie Lush: 09:48 So let’s start off with looking at burning fossil fuels. I think we know that…

John Sterman: 09:56 Great.

Edie Lush: 09:56 … globally, 25% of greenhouse gas emissions today comes from burning fossil fuels to create heat and electricity, mostly for residential and commercial buildings. So what slider do we need to push to try to look at that issue?

John Sterman: 10:12 Well, you could try to change the energy mix.

Edie Lush: 10:15 Mmhm.

John Sterman: 10:15 You can tax or regulate coal.

Edie Lush: 10:18 Let’s do that. Let’s tax coal.

John Sterman: 10:20 Great. So let’s tax coal. Now as I do this, as I move the slider, you’ll see that the graphs are changing instantly. And as I move the slider to, to the left, what do you notice?

Edie Lush: 10:30 It says highly taxed and the temperatures come down. Hmm. Not so much, so above, from above 4°C to now 3.9°C or plus 7.1°F.

John Sterman: 10:41 Right? So you took 2/10 of a degree, C uh, off of the expected warming. So that’s good.

Edie Lush: 10:48 Okay. That’s a good start.

John Sterman: 10:50 Uh, it doesn’t solve the problem all by itself.

Edie Lush: 10:53 Okay.

John Sterman: 10:53 And by the way, take a look at the graph of the energy sources. So I’ll move the slider back…

Edie Lush: 10:59 Mmhm.

John Sterman: 10:59 And watch, watch the coal wedge.

Edie Lush: 11:01 Okay.

John Sterman: 11:01 So the coal wedge should go down.

Edie Lush: 11:04 Coal wedge goes down.

John Sterman: 11:05 Yeah.

Edie Lush: 11:06 Gas went up and oil went up too.

John Sterman: 11:09 Yeah, it is right.

Edie Lush: 11:10 Oh, crumbs!

John Sterman: 11:11 That is right. Also, the renewables went up.

Edie Lush: 11:14 Yup. Okay, let’s celebrate that. But we also had issues.

John Sterman: 11:17 Right. So what do you think it’s going on there? Why did gas and oil get, uh, have their demand increase?

Edie Lush: 11:25 Well, because they become more economically attracted.

John Sterman: 11:29 Right. Right. You’ve made coal more expensive through this taxation and that causes people to substitute more gas, for example, in the generation of electricity.

Edie Lush: 11:41 Alright, so let’s do something about that. Let’s let’s, what do we do tax, oil and gas as well?

John Sterman: 11:47 Great. You could do that. So let’s tax oil. So I’ve pulled that to a, a high tax. And as I did that, let me go back. You’ll see it real quickly. What happens to the oil wedge?

Edie Lush: 11:58 It definitely came down, but that didn’t do anything to the temperature…

John Sterman: 12:02 Right. Well, so watch the natural gas switch…

Edie Lush: 12:07 Oh!

John Sterman: 12:07 So that’s without…

Edie Lush: 12:09 This is so complicated [laughter].

John Sterman: 12:12 Right! So you’ve got a very complex economic system here with multiple markets, and by taxing coal and oil, you’ve definitely reduced their use. But you’ve done nothing to reduce the overall demand for energy. And so you’ve increased the incentive for electric power to be generated by natural gas. You are getting more renewables too, the green wedge of renewables has increased, but not enough to make much difference on the temperature.

Edie Lush: 12:41 Can we give renewables some incentives?

John Sterman: 12:45 So over here on the, the renewable slider, I’ll slide it over to the right and that implements a moderate subsidy to promote renewables. So in the real world, what that looks like is, uh, put into place or expand tax credits for individuals who go solar, for companies that go solar, put wind turbines in, for electric utilities who want to go with utility scale solar and wind, including the storage investments that they need or the changes in the way the grid works. And what did that do for us?

Edie Lush: 13:20 Well, where we get, we’re now down to an increase of 3.5°C, which is better.

John Sterman: 13:27 Oh, we’re still quite far.

Edie Lush: 13:29 Yeah.

John Sterman: 13:29 But there are… there is news here. Now, one thing to notice is subsidizing the renewables did a lot more than just taxing the fossil fuels.

Edie Lush: 13:41 Hmm

John Sterman: 13:41 Uh, and one reason for that is in many parts of the world today, renewables are already cost competitive with fossil fuels.

Edie Lush: 13:50 Hmm.

New Speaker: 13:52 But they also benefit from a very powerful learning curve effect and from scale economies. So, for example, every time cumulative production of solar panels doubles, which is happening every couple of years or so, the costs of the next ones you build go down by a little over 20%… and this is because we have not yet reached the limits of what these technologies can do. It’s the same for wind. It’s the same for, uh, energy storage that you need to handle the variability of wind and solar. And so by subsidizing renewables, you’re having an additional benefit that you’re driving their costs down faster than they would have gone otherwise. And that then leads people to use even more of them, which drives their costs down even faster. You have a beneficial reinforcing feedback loop there. You have a virtuous cycle that the more you use, the cheaper it gets.

Pause: 14:59 [background music]

Claudia Edelman: 14:59 That’s right! We need more positive feedback loops! Virtuous cycles instead of vicious ones.

Edie Lush: 15:05 You know, I couldn’t have said that better myself, Claudia. But let’s take a brief break to hear from someone we’re very positive about. Laura Gitman, the chief operating officer of BSR.

Pause: 15:20 [background music]

Edie Lush: 15:21 So what’s the new climate for business? And how and why should companies be preparing for it?

Laura Gitman: 15:27 So we’re living through a period, as many people know, of absolute fundamental change. The only constant is change. And businesses really need to figure out how would they respond to these changes given that the entire framework in which how they operate in is evolving. So from climate disruption to the role of automation, to the implications of artificial intelligence, these create new opportunities for business, but they also change the rules of the game. And at the same time we’re seeing increasing pressures and expectations from employees, from a political environment, from regulators, from consumers that actually redefine and question the purpose for business overall.

Laura Gitman: 16:09 So every day we work with companies as they think about these questions. And one aspect is figuring out what are the issues that are going to impact them. So first we help companies make sense and anticipate the changes that they’re going to be facing. And second, help them figure out how do they meet that challenge. So what are the strategies, what are the products, the services, the ways of partnering and collaborating, in new different kinds of opportunities that enable them to meet those challenges but also meet the challenges that our collective business community are facing. Right? So the challenges of achieving the goals of the SDGs, of achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate, and that therefore working together to redefine what that new climate for business means.

Edie Lush: 16:55 And Laura, you’ve got an event coming up in my home state of California. Tell me about it.

Laura Gitman: 17:01 We do! So BSR has our annual conference. This year, it will be hosted in San Jose on November 12th through 14th. To find out more, you can go to

Pause: 17:16 [background music]

Claudia Edelman: 17:18 Welcome back! So Edie, how’s the simulation going? Can you give me some hope? Because here, in real life, I’m still very concerned about climate change.

Edie Lush: 17:26 Ah, the simulation is tough. It gives you such a big sense of how complicated everything is, how many choices there are, how everything is interconnected. You think you’re doing something great and then you’ve caused something not okay to happen. However, one thing that is impressive is how well John Sterman is able to explain those choices.

Edie Lush: 17:49 Tell me what about the, the carbon price? I’m interested in what happens if you fool around with that.

John Sterman: 17:55 Right! So up until now, what you’ve done is asked me to tax coal, oil and gas individually, which you can certainly do, but that’s going to be complicated. So I’m going to actually undo those.

Edie Lush: 18:08 Okay.

John Sterman: 18:10 And then we’ll implement a carbon price. So what a carbon price means is that either through a fee, a tax, or a cap and trade program, the price of any CO2 emissions would go up according to how much CO2 is generated. So the carbon price is measured in how many dollars, or euros, or whatever, per ton of carbon dioxide released. So that’s going to affect coal more than natural gas because coal is the most carbon intensive fuel.

Edie Lush: 18:47 Hmm.

John Sterman: 18:47 So let’s pull that lever up to a… a medium level. And remember where we started. We start at now 3.7°C with our subsidies for renewables. Uh, and now we’ll pull up the carbon price to a medium level. And we’re down to 3.3°C.

Edie Lush: 19:06 What does that actually mean? Like consumer going to the pump to fill up their car with gas? What would that mean in terms of a carbon price? Our prices at the pump?

John Sterman: 19:17 Absolutely, great question. So, uh, on all these policy levers, I can click on a button and it shows me all the details. It gives me more advanced options. So right now, we have a carbon price of $50 per ton of carbon dioxide. So what does that mean in the real world at the pump, as you say? Well, in the United States, that would mean that gasoline prices would go up by about 44 cents a gallon. Wow. So, well is that a lot or a little?

Edie Lush: 19:46 Well, I mean it’s definitely internalizing the price on the planet, but it’s a big jump for you know, many people.

John Sterman: 19:55 This is a great, great point. Uh, what are we gonna do with all the revenue from this carbon price? So let me… let’s, let’s take a look at that graph. So, if I look here at the financial impacts, I can look at the revenue and the cost from taxes and subsidies. So you’re subsidizing renewables, that’s going to cost money. Now you’re taxing carbon that’s going to generate revenue.

Edie Lush: 20:19 Mmhm.

John Sterman: 20:19 And you can see here on this graph that the revenue from this carbon tax generates about $2.4 trillion dollars a year globally. And that actually, uh, outweighs the subsidies for decades. So, then the question is what do you do with the revenue? So one of the most popular proposals is rebate it to every person on a per capita basis. So, you would get a carbon dividend check every few months, every quarter of the year, say… and you can do anything you want with that money.

John Sterman: 21:02 So, uh, if you rebate the money to individuals on an equal per capita basis, you convert the carbon price from something that could be regressive to something that’s going to be progressive and help the lower income segment of the population more.

Pause: 21:26 [background music].

Edie Lush: 21:27 Hmm. So what if we look at the next middle part of your screen, or my screen? 23% of greenhouse gases come from the result of burning fuel for industrial purposes. So what happens when we start changing that mix of energy efficiency and electrification? What do those mean?

John Sterman: 21:54 We’ll work on the energy efficiency of buildings and industry. So this includes, uh, industrial facilities and the processes that take place within them. It also includes the energy used in commercial and residential buildings. Now, having a carbon price already has led to some increase in efficiency, but now let’s implement a policy that would do more. So I’ll pull the energy efficiency lever for buildings and… uh, I’ll increase it moderately. And what did it do for us?

Edie Lush: 22:31 Wow, we’re at 3°C!

John Sterman: 22:33 Well, we’re making progress. And that did a lot. One of the reasons which you’ve pointed to is an awful lot of the world’s energy is used in buildings, industry, industrial processes, but also just buildings, commercial, residential, industrial buildings for heating and cooling and all the electricity that’s used within them. So, we’ve done a lot by increasing energy efficiency and there are many, many ways to do that. The other reason that this lever makes a big difference is buildings and processes can almost always be retrofitted.

John Sterman: 23:10 So for example, I’m sitting here with your sound guy, Chuck, in my house and uh, it’s a 90 year old, typical New England home, made out of, uh… you know, uh, what we call stick frame construction. So, two by four studs and so forth. Uh, and, uh… when it was built, it was heated by coal and it had no insulation. Uh, when we bought the house, uh, it was heated by oil and still had no insulation.

Edie Lush: 23:43 Mmhm.

John Sterman: 23:43 So, over the years we, we insulated, we gradually replaced the appliances as they needed to be replaced with much more efficient ones. I swapped out a lot of the light bulbs, etc… and that actually lowered our, uh, carbon emissions for the home quite a lot. But then, uh, about four and a half years ago, we did what’s called a deep energy retrofit. So what does that means? It means, we put in a huge amount of insulation, not just blown into the walls, but extra insulation on the outside of the house. The windows, which were original, were leaky and in pretty bad shape. We put in much better windows that are super efficient. We put in led lighting everywhere, very high efficiency appliances, refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc… we put in heat pump hot water that’s super efficient, gets most of the heat to warm the water from the surrounding air.

Edie Lush: 24:42 Hmm.

John Sterman: 24:42 And we completely eliminated the, uh, fossil fuel heating system, uh, and replaced it with air source heat pumps that provide heating and cooling. And then, we put a solar array on the roof. And now today, uh, our house generates 50% more energy than we use, with no fossil fuel whatsoever.

Edie Lush: 25:13 Wow. So in fact, we need the whole world to do what you’re doing…

Pause: 25:22 [background music]

Edie Lush: 25:22 I want to recap where we are and what we’ve tried. We started at over 4°C of increased in temperature by 2100. We’ve subsidized renewables…

John Sterman: 25:33 Right!

Edie Lush: 25:33 We’ve made the price of carbon higher and we have, uh, worked especially on energy efficiency of buildings. And we’re now at an increase of 3°C, which is still not great. So, this is hard, because so far who either, we’ve already done a lot of work and we’re not there yet. As we know, we want to keep that increased to 2°C or 1.5 would be even better.

John Sterman: 26:08 Right.So the Paris target is no more than 2°C and striving for 1.5 and although you’ve done a great job getting us on the path, 3°C isn’t where we need to go. And just to show you what that means, let’s look at some of the impacts.

Edie Lush: 26:25 Oh, no!

John Sterman: 26:25 Sea level rise, right?

Edie Lush: 26:28 Oh, no!

John Sterman: 26:28 So sea level rise is barely less than what it would have been.

Edie Lush: 26:33 Right!

John Sterman: 26:33 And it’s over. Uh, it’s just about… it’s over a meter right now, and that’s a conservative estimate. So…

Edie Lush: 26:41 I mean it looks like a… it looks like a kind of… one of those… not quite a hockey stick graph, but definitely, you know, on the steady increase…

John Sterman: 26:49 Yes, right.

Edie Lush: 26:51 Over a meter of sea level rise still means a lot of island nations… that great refrain from the Paris accord was 1.5 to stay alive. A lot of those island nations will not be where they are now.

John Sterman: 27:07 Right. And I gotta tell you, it’s even worse than what you’re seeing, because there is a significant risk that sea level rise will be much higher than what you’re seeing here, because of faster melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets than the literature accommodates. So…

Edie Lush: 27:31 Oh my gosh!

John Sterman: 27:31 It is entirely possible…

Edie Lush: 27:31 Oh no, we’re up to 1.8 meters!

New Speaker: 27:36 Yeah, uh. Right. You’re almost a two meters even with your policies so far, this is not at all impossible according to the more recent science and evidence about, uh, accelerating melt of Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheet. So, what does that mean? Well, let’s take a look. It’s not just, uh, you know, for the island states. Here’s a…

Edie Lush: 28:02 So you’ve now pulled up a map of the world.

John Sterman: 28:05 Right. I’m going to zoom in on Shanghai just as an illustration. We can look anywhere you like.

Edie Lush: 28:11 Okay…

John Sterman: 28:12 And Shanghai, like many of the world’s great cities is a low lying coastal city on a river delta. What you’re seeing now is Shanghai today.

Edie Lush: 28:21 Mmhm!

John Sterman: 28:23 20 to 25 or more million people in the greater Shanghai area. Uh, now let’s take a look at what happens if there’s 2 meters of sea level rise, which is close to what happens in your scenario so far. And all of these blue areas now are inundated. There are saltwater intrusion coming up through the sewers. Uh, high tides, you’re going to have sunny day flooding as we already have in Miami and up and down the east coast. But it’s worse than this because Shanghai and the coast of China is subject to typhoons! And, uh, a large typhoon like Haiyan, which hit the Philippines a few years ago, or the typhoon that, uh, hit, uh, Tokyo recently, uh, they bring storm surge multimeter storm surge. The storm surge in typhoon Haiyan was 4 meters. So what I can do is I’ll now take our 2 meters of sea level rise, which is causing immense economic hardship all throughout the Shanghai area. And now let’s add a 4 meter storm surge on top of that.

Edie Lush: 29:42 Oh my goodness. Wow. It looks like it’s completely underwater.

John Sterman: 29:48 Right? So, we wouldn’t have to wait until the year 2100 for a disaster like this to be very likely. Uh, and it’s similar if we go elsewhere around the world. Here’s south Florida with 2 meters of sea level rise and a 4 meter storm surge.

Edie Lush: 30:08 So it looks like most of South Florida is blue, as in covered with water.

John Sterman: 30:15 Right. Here’s the Gulf Coast focused on New Orleans…

Edie Lush: 30:19 It looks like it is completely underwater.

John Sterman: 30:19 and New Orleans is already under the the sea level.

Edie Lush: 30:23 Right.

John Sterman: 30:24 It’s gone.

Edie Lush: 30:25 Goodness. Okay. So back to the simulation.

John Sterman: 30:29 Yeah. And you’ve done a great job, uh, with a variety of policies here. Price on carbon, subsidies for renewables, promoting energy efficiency for buildings and industry. You’ve gotten it down more than a full degree C and it’s, so that’s great. It’s still not enough. So, when we come back, I’m going to ask you to see what else you might want to try to get us down towards no more than 2°C.

Pause: 30:55 [background music]

Claudia Edelman: 30:59 And we will come back to this and find out if Edie is able to save the planet. But we will do that in the next episode, which we will release after the Climate Summit and the UN General Assembly.

Claudia Edelman: 31:11 We felt that this topic was so important, that we decided to devote these two parts to this area.. and talk about solutions… and I cannot actually tell you how much my imagination goes to see Edie with a red cape and actually like super woman style, flying around that simulator and saving the world!

Edie Lush: 31:28 Hahaha.. you’re just going to have to wait for that , Claudia. In fact, I’m going to see you on Sunday, at the start of of Global Goals Week. We’ve got 5 UN summits, we’ve got 17 big goals. I feel like though, once again, the attention of the world is on New York next week.

Claudia Edelman: 31:46 Yeah. But again and again the relevance is completely different. Today was the day of the opening of the General Assembly and the Secretary General, summed up challenge. He said: we’re losing the race against climate change and our world is off track in meeting the sustainable development goals.

Edie Lush: 32:05 So what we’re talking about with professor Sterman in this whole special episode is how to get the world back on track.

Claudia Edelman: 32:11 And you and I are on the optimistic, we’re actually possibilistic. We are based on Hans Rosling factfullness… when we see the world through data, and the data indicates that we’re on the right track. And nevertheless, there are things that we should pay attention that are concerning. But one thing that I’m very, very clear about, Edie, is how purposed, the sustainable development goals, sustainability, are back on track and are absolutely moving the agenda forward and becoming mainstream. Like the tortilla effect.

Edie Lush: 32:44 What is the Tortilla effect?

Claudia Edelman: 32:46 The tortilla effect is fascinating as an analogy for what we’re talking about. It Is an economic and behavior theory that indicates how a product that is like on the corner of a store, like tortillas in this case, in the Mexican aisle or the exotic food, and have been pushed by consumers to become mainstream, and now have been traveling from one aisle to the other until they are in the mainstream of bread. And people don’t use tortillas anymore only for tacos, they use it for wraps, they use it for snacks, and that is what I’ve seen happens with sustainability and purpose that it has been pushed by consumers to the different aisles and now it’s actually moving from corporate social responsibility in countries, or companies to become part of their central strategy of growth.

Claudia Edelman: 33:29 But there’s another way to get the tortillas from the Mexican corner to the main bread aisle, which is, when the owner of the store would decide, I’m going to impose this product here. And I think that that’s what we were hoping to see next week with decision makers making an imposition and following the trend of purpose and sustainability to impose some action on climate change because that really could have a ripple effect.

Edie Lush: 33:52 I love the Tortilla effect and I think what you’re saying there makes me think of this episode and the idea of what is happening with electric cars when they’re going mainstream and it is coming through in the next couple of years. But we do have to be careful because while electric cars are great, if the electricity that they’re using is not clean, if it comes from coal, then we don’t actually bring the temperature down enough. And I learned that from playing with a simulator from professor Sterman. Individuals don’t clean the power grid, companies do. We have seen some great companies out there and there was a great example a few years ago when Greenpeace, the head of Greenpeace at the time, Kumi Naidoo stood up with the head of NL and agree to take this energy company away from dirty power towards renewables, towards clean energy. So companies have a role to play as do governments, as do consumers.

Claudia Edelman: 34:48 That great news here, Edie is that there’s pressure on decision makers by young people. Greta, coming to New York, arriving with 17 different boats and making waves, and increasingly attracting the attention of citizens, of voters, and of players. And because we’re so many more people like John doing simulations and doing groundbreaking innovation, I think that we have a great opportunity to be part of history, and be, as we say, the first generation that can really stop the impact of climate change. So now my favorite section of the show, where we give three facts that you can show off with your mother-in-law and three actions that you can take so that we can go on climate change, action, action, action. So for these we went to a colleague of John Sterman.

Pause: 35:44 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 35:46 often addressing climate change is framed as a big sacrifice, as though we have to suffer now in order to protect the climate for the future. But is that an accurate way to think about it? I’m Dr Elizabeth Sawin. I’m co-director of climate interactive, and my research focuses on what I call multi-solving. These are policies and investments that address climate change in ways that save money, improve people’s health, and open up economic opportunity. Here are three examples of multi-solving.

Pause: 36:17 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 36:17 If 50% of short car trips were replaced by cycling in the biggest cities in the Midwest, each year, 1,295 lives and $8.7 billion would be saved from a combination of improved air quality and better health through increased physical activity. That’s from a study in the journal, environmental health perspectives.

Pause: 36:34 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 36:34 Between 2000 and 2016 all of the energy efficient LEED certified buildings in the United States combined to reduce air pollution from energy use, enough to avoid hundreds of premature deaths, hundreds of hospital admissions, tens of thousands of asthma cases, and tens of thousands of lost days of work and school.

Pause: 37:00 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 37:00 Urban trees in Fort Collins, Colorado provided more than double the return on investment required to plant and maintain those trees. The savings came from reducing energy use, improving air quality, reducing storm water runoff, sequestering carbon, and increasing property values,

Pause: 37:16 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 37:17 …which leads to these three actions. We participate in multi-solving whenever we do home energy tune-ups or add features like green roofs and rain gardens to our properties or walk or cycle to work. These steps, save money in the short term, reduce air pollution and improve our and our neighbor’s health, while also reducing emissions and helping protect the climate for the longterm.

Pause: 37:39 [background music]

Dr. Sawin: 37:41 Many multi-solving opportunities are bigger than one family can take on though. So a second category of action is to engage elected officials to make sure that public spending is directed toward solutions like these multi-solving solutions with multiple benefits. All of us can practice connecting the dots in our own heads and in our conversations with friends and family so that more and more people can see how protecting the climate for the future helps create jobs, economic opportunity and improved health today.

Pause: 38:14 [background music]

Edie Lush: 38:16 Alright, that is it for this special climate episode, at least part one. We’re going to have the second half after next week’s climate summit.

Claudia Edelman: 38:26 Wow Edie, I’m so excited by our new season. We take on climate right at the start. Whoo! See you’re next time Edie.

Edie Lush: 38:33 See you on Sunday in New York, and until then, the big message is, if you liked this, please give us five stars, please subscribe, please tell all of your friends, and go to our social media. @GlobalGoalsCast. Adios.

Claudia Edelman: 38:49 Adios. Don’t forget the Tortilla Effect, Edie. It’s going to come after you.

Pause: 38:58 [background music]

Presenter: 38:58 Global Goals Cast was hosted by Edie lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. Your editorial gurued by Mike Oreskes. Editing and sound production by Simon James. Our operations director is Michelle Cooprider. Our interns last summer, we miss you. where Addy Gisby Ashley Esquivel, Darcy Nelson and Hugh Cruickshank. Music in this episode was by Neil Hail, Andrew Phillips, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Crown, and Ashish Paliwal. This episode was made possible with the support of BSR, also CBS News Digital, and Harman, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

32:1 – The Unsustainable Ratio


Sustainable Development Goal 12 calls for responsible production and consumption. As co-host Claudia Romo Edelman points out in this episode, that does not sound as dramatic as ending poverty or educating everyone, but it may be just as important.  There is a disparity of consumption between the Global North and South. SDG 12 is the only goal that specifically calls on rich nations to lead. 

In our interview with Jared Diamond, he says that one American consumes as much as 32 Kenyans. Diamond, UCLA professor and author of the new book,  Upheaval: Turning Points for Nation’s in Crisis,  says this inequality is unsustainable as citizens of poorer countries demand better lives. The only sustainable world, he says, is a more equal world.

Our most dangerous overconsumption is energy from fossil fuels.  Co-host Edie Lush reports on a Financial Times chart which shows only a small percentage of the worlds largest corporations on track to reduce their carbon emissions enough to meet the goals of the Paris Climate accord.

Fuel consumption continues to increase and therefore carbon emissions increase. According to the oil major, BP, renewables and natural gas are the fastest growing energy sources , yet in 2018 carbon emissions grew at their highest rate for 7 years at 2.0%. 

“We use more resources and we are having a heavy footprint which is affecting the biosphere and affecting the climate” says Author and Royal Astronomer Sir Martin Rees, author of On The Future and other books. We need to invest now to protect our children and grandchildren from climate risk, Lord Martin explains, and spending decisions can’t be judged with the same financial tools, such as the discount rate, used to measure the value of traditional investments.

Once again we describe the interconnections of the SDGs. Achieving goal 12, Claudia explains, is connected to achieving goal 13, action to control climate change and The Ceo of our partner, APolitical, Robyn Scott, points out that educating women and girls is on the list of important actions to curb climate change. She offers Facts and Actions.

Claudia and Edie give a shout out to a listener from Pittsburgh, Jason Hallmark. He is on a journey of a lifetime to learn about sustainability in the Arctic and we are very proud to have helped inspire him in a new chapter of his life. 

Two executives from our sponsor, MasterCard, describe financial tools that can improve lives.

Featured guests

Xavier Helgesen

Xavier Helgesen is the Co-Founder and President of Zola Electric, a leading distributed solar energy company focused in Africa. Zola Electric has raised over $150 Million to make solar energy & storage affordable to the mass market via pre-paid, plug and play technology. The company’s investors include Tesla, EDF, General Electric, Total, DBL Partners and Helios Partners.  Previous to Zola Electric, Xavier co-founded Better World Books, the leading online used books seller with over $500M in lifetime sales. He served as CEO of Indaba Systems, a multi-channel software company that allows eCommerce merchants to manage their sales and inventory across multiple channels. Xavier has been recognized as the Best Social Entrepreneur by Businessweek and given the Fast Company Social Capitalist award. 

Robyn Scott

Robyn is co-founder and CEO of Apolitical, a peer-to-peer learning platform for government. Used by public servants in 170 countries, Apolitical’s mission is to accelerate the transformation of government. Previously Robyn co-founded OneLeap, a London-based executive education company, and a Southern African non-profit teaching coding to vulnerable youth. She has written an acclaimed memoir about growing up in Botswana. She is an ambassador for the Access to Medicine Index, an advisor to the Responsible Mining Index, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a Gates Scholar. She has a BSc in Bioinformatics from Auckland University and a Masters in Bioscience Enterprise from Cambridge University.

Martin Rees

Martin Rees is a leading astrophysicist as well as a senior figure in UK science. He has conducted influential theoretical work on subjects as diverse as black hole formation and extragalactic radio sources, and provided key evidence to contradict the Steady State theory of the evolution of the Universe. Martin was also one of the first to predict the uneven distribution of matter in the Universe, and proposed observational tests to determine the clustering of stars and galaxies. Much of his most valuable research has focused on the end of the so-called cosmic dark ages — a period shortly after the Big Bang when the Universe was as yet without light sources. As Astronomer Royal and a Past President of the Royal Society, Martin is a prominent scientific spokesperson and the author of seven books of popular science. After receiving a knighthood in 1992 for his services to science, he was elevated to the title of Baron Rees of Ludlow in 2005.

Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author, most recently, of Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis, as well as The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the widely acclaimed Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, which is also the winner of Britain’s 1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize.  Dr. Diamond is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (“Genius Award”); research prizes of the American Physiological Society, National Geographic Society, and Zoological Society of San Diego; and many teaching awards and endowed public lectureships. In addition, he has been elected a member of all three of the leading national scientific/academic honorary societies (National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society).

Tara Nathan

Tara Nathan is Executive Vice President for the Humanitarian & Development sector at Mastercard. In this role, she leads the company’s strategy to develop and scale products & solutions for the Base of the Pyramid. The Humanitarian & Development team is dedicated to creating an ecosystem that streamlines access to education, health, commerce, and other vital services for the most vulnerable communities. Tara’s team is focused on driving commercially sustainable social impact. Before Mastercard, she worked at Mobile Payment Solutions as the chief executive officer leading the innovation and commercial development of the Mastercard Mobile Payments Gateway a platform designed to facilitate mobile payments for consumers around the world. Before joining Mastercard, Ms. Nathan worked in various managerial positions at Citigroup’s retail banking business and was a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service working in Taiwan, Japan and China. She earned a BSFS from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.

Shamina Singh

Shamina Singh is President of the Center for Inclusive Growth and Executive Vice President of Sustainability at Mastercard. In these roles she is responsible for advancing equitable economic growth and inclusion around the world. A graduate of the Shamina Singh is President of the Center for Inclusive Growth and Executive Vice President of Sustainability at Mastercard. In these roles she is responsible for advancing equitable economic growth and inclusion around the world. A graduate of the Presidential Leadership Fellows program, an alum of the Young Global Leaders program of the World Economic Forum, a Henry Crown Fellow with the Aspen Institute, she currently sits on the boards of the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University, Data & Society, and the Global Health Corps. Prior to joining Mastercard, Shamina led Government and Public Affairs for Nike and spent five years with Citi’s Global Community Development Group. Over a 15-year career in the public sector, Shamina has held senior positions in the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Audio Music: 00:02

Sir Martin Rees: 00:03 the world has existed for 45 million centuries, but this is really the first century when one species, the human species can determine the planets fate we use more resources and we are having a heavy footprint which is affecting the biosphere and affecting the climate.

Jared Diamond: 00:23 Consumption rates, meaning consumption rates of water, fuel and other resources. Metals in the developed world on the average about 32 times those in the poorest countries, and that means that one American citizen has the impact of the world of 32 Kenyans. It’s becoming increasingly impossible to have a stable world with big differences in standards of livings around the world. The only stable outcome is going to be a world with much more equal standards of living around it.

Audio Music: 01:02 [inaudible]

Edie Lush: 01:02 welcome to the global goals cast,

Claudia R E: 01:04 the podcast that explores how to change the world.

Edie Lush: 01:07 That world of ours, particularly the rich world, is consuming more than our planet can sustain

Claudia R E: 01:12 Edie our listeners already know as well as we do that we are burning eating and tossing away so much that both the air and the seas will be ruined if we do not make changes. They also know that while there is some action going on, we are not moving fast enough.

Edie Lush: 01:31 Yes, so what we’re going to show you today are two different ways we can approach the problem from two pretty stellar thinkers, Jared Diamond and Martin Rees. Plus we’re going to share with you a sustainable energy solution that already serves a million people in Africa and is scalable right now to billions of people all around the world. But first, this message from the sponsors who make this a sustainable podcasts.

Speaker 3: 02:00 This episode is sponsored by mastercard and our thanks to CBS News, digital and to Harmon, the official sound of global goals cast.

Edie Lush: 02:16 Welcome back. I’m Edie Lush

Claudia R E: 02:18 and I am Claudia Romo Edelman. Very lucky to be sharing the same actually physical place to do this recording. I know

Edie Lush: 02:26 surprise special here we are in Cannes at the Cannes lions festival.

Claudia R E: 02:30 At six o’clock in the morning.

Edie Lush: 02:32 Yeah.

Claudia R E: 02:32 Actually in a very little room that is not sound protected like our studios, full of pictures saying we’re strong like superman and [inaudible]. But what a treat to be here with you

Edie Lush: 02:45 it is great.

Claudia R E: 02:48 So we’re going to have a great episode today because we’re going to be talking about how the end of the century may feel like a long way off, but actually it is within the lifetime of people alive today. Our kids, Edie will be in their nineties by the turn of the century. Oh, it’s crazy to imagine that our kids will be that old

Edie Lush: 03:07 I know, with wrinkles. [laughing] So one of the questions we will ask is how can we learn to think long term or at least longer term to protect the world of the day after tomorrow, the one our children and grandchildren will live in. And I think Claudia, that you will be a cool granny.

Claudia R E: 03:27 Like totally. You can picture it, right? Like the bikinis the motorcycle, the boots. The question really Edie is what kind of a world will we be living? The motivation behind this episode is sustainable development. Goal number 12 responsible production and consumption. We hardly hear about this goal. and it might not sound very dramatic like ending poverty or educating everyone, but actually it is as dramatic and like every other goal. It is connected to so many other goals. Climate Change, sustainable cities life in the sea. We want to understand the problem and we want to take a stab and how to address it.

Edie Lush: 04:09 So I sought out Jared diamond. He’s a professor at my Alma Mater, UCLA go Bruins and a Pulitzer Prize winning author of books on why civilizations succeed and fail. His new book upheaval looks at our modern world. I kicked off by asking him about the world’s population growth.

Jared Diamond: 04:31 World’s human population is a subject that was at the forefront 30 40 years ago when many people said it’s the biggest problem for the world. Since then, we’ve learned, no, it’s not the biggest problem for the world. What counts is not the raw number of people. What counts is the total consumption rate because there’s enormous variation between people’s consumption rates in different parts of the world. Consumption rates, meaning consumption rates of water, fuel and other resources, metals in the developed world on the average about 32 times those in the poorest countries, and that means that one American citizen has the impact of the world up 32 Kenyans. I mentioned specifically Kenyon’s because there are many Americans who feel indignant and concerned about the growing population of Africa and yes, it’s a tragedy for Africa, but as far as the impact on the world is concerned, 50 million Kenyans or equivalent to 1.7 million Americans Kenya is trivial for its impact on the world. That’s why I say that what counts is consumption rates rather than population itself. climate change is often equated…

Edie Lush: 05:52 Climate change is arguably the worst effect of over consumption. We’re burning way more fuel than the atmosphere can hold safely. but there are those who say technology will save us from having to cut consumption by engineering the damage back out of the atmosphere. Diamond disagrees.

Jared Diamond: 06:10 There were proposed geoengineering solutions of, of scattering iron particles in the ocean or shooting things into the atmosphere and calculations are made that they want to produce such and such on effect. And behold they do have that effect in the laboratory. The problem is that how a manipulation works in the laboratory is not necessarily a good predictor of how it Will work up in the atmosphere and the prime example of that is chlorofluorocarbons gases in the laboratory, CFCs absolutely benign. It turned out something unpredictable. The CFCs released into the atmosphere destroy the ozone layer, which protects us against ultraviolet light and it’s a really serious effect. It took about 20 years to establish it. The chemical industry kicked and screamed and saying said, no, CFCs are innocent and turned out they were not as innocent, but it took 20 years to convince people. And I will give you one more example because today it seems so ridiculous. One of my teachers at university, he was sufficiently old, but he was alive in the first decade in the 19 hundreds when automobiles were replacing horses on the streets of New York and Boston. And as automobiles began to replace horses, people were thrilled because horses deposit Manure and the Clickety clack of the hooves on the street is noisy until what automobiles came in. People said thank God with automobiles our cities are now going to be clean and quiet. Haha. Unexpected side effects of automobiles

Edie Lush: 07:46 let me read you a quotation from your book. So does this mean that climate change is unstoppable? No, of course not. Climate change is being caused overwhelmingly by human activities. So all we have to do in order to reduce climate change is to reduce those human activities. That means burning less fossil fuel, getting more energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar and nuclear. So it sounds easy, right?

Jared Diamond: 08:15 The principle is easy. The only difficulty is in persuading people to do it. That’s to say persuading people to burn less fossil fuel. And that requires two things, less energy consumption overall and more of that energy coming from non fossil fuel sources so it really is very simple. And there are people who are inclined to do it now. We have to get more people inclined to do it. Government action can help by making it illegal to do various things. For example, my understanding is that big cars like Humvees with low gas mileage like six miles per gallon in the United, you may incur lower automobile taxes. They can be classified as farm vehicles or other things, which means that that it’s cheaper to buy a Humvee than to buy a Prius. Whereas in Europe, big vehicles are tax equal to the cost of the car itself. That’s to say if you choose to buy a Humvee, that’s your privilege, but you will pay double the market price of the Humvee to drive a Humvee. That is a way to discourage people from buying gas coddling vehicles in. In short, a combination of government action at personal decisions can reduce burning of fossil fuels.

Edie Lush: 09:35 So the other issue is of course the apparently low cost of fossil fuels. So how do we include those indirect costs of a liter of fossil fuels or a gallon of gasoline?

Jared Diamond: 09:49 A simple way would be to include in the price of fossil fuels, the damage costs of the fossil fuels incur. If, for example, a farmer chooses to spread oil over his fields for some reason and the oil leaks to a neighbor’s fields and the neighbor sues the first farmer, the neighbor will win the lawsuit and will make the first farmer pay for the damage done to the fields of the second farmer. Fossil fuels are doing that. They’re producing cost for the entire world, but when you buy your gasoline in California for $4 and 23 cents a gallon in Los Angeles, now, yes, the gas cost $4 and 23 cents a gallon, but it causes $35 per gallon of damage to the whole world and that $35 or to be included, if you want to drive a car and burn gas and have your Humvee, by all means do so what you should have to pay the $35 for the damage that you causing.

Edie Lush: 10:47 What do you say about the indirect costs of renewables? So people who don’t like solar farms because of the impact that has on the desert tortoise, for example, in California or birds killed by windmills. What about the indirect costs there?

Speaker 2: 11:03 Yes, renewables do have indirect costs which need to be taken into account. The solar fields in the deserts of California. They do remove habitat for desert tortoises, therefore would be appropriate for solar farms. Also to set aside $250,000 per square mile solar farm in order to mitigate the damage to the um, desert tortoises. And as for windmills, yes windmills do kill Migrant Birds and bats. Last estimate I saw was that windmills kill someone like 45,000 birds per year in the United States. Well an outdoor cat, it turns out, kills 300 birds per year. And therefore the windmills in the United States, are the equivalent of 135 cats. Therefore, to mitigate windmills, you can mitigate windmills if you eliminated 135 cats. Yes, we should do that. But that’s pretty cheap. Fossil fuels, I would rather eliminate 135 cats

Edie Lush: 12:01 or maybe put a lot of bells around them.

Edie Lush: 12:06 So we’re in Europe here and there is a strange dichotomy between Europe and the United States. Americans have a higher rate of energy consumption, which is twice Europe’s, and that’s despite Europeans enjoying a higher standard of living than American.

Jared Diamond: 12:23 It is true that Americans have roughly double the rate of fuel consumption of Europeans. Part of the reason of course is that the distances in the United States are larger and your jet plane burns more fuel if you fly from Boston to Los Angeles, then if you fly from London to Manchester, that’s part of the reason. The other reason is that Americans are very wasteful of energy. I’m particularly with respect to our automobiles and we do not make Americans pay for the privilege of driving their Humvees and the other gas guzzling automobiles.

Edie Lush: 12:59 Until recently, the existence of poor people elsewhere in the world didn’t constitute a threat to the overindulgent over consumptive lifestyles of those who lived in the United States. But that has changed.

Speaker 2: 13:15 Those poor people out there in the past 60 years ago didn’t pose a threat to Americans because number one, they didn’t have television and cell phones and they didn’t know about the wonderful, luxurious lifestyle in the United States firsthand. And secondly, with the methods of travel, the first time I came to Europe in 1950 I came by ship nowadays we would never dream of coming by ship to Europe and you fly, fly by airplane, people move much more easily around the world. And that means among other things that they can immigrate and immigrate much more easily. So there’s much more immigration pressure. It’s understandable that people from the developing world war to move because they have a much less satisfactory lifestyle and they know that their government is not going to solve their lifestyle within the lifetime or within the lifetime and the children. So of course they want to migrate, but migrating also means increasing the impact of the world. Or what it means is that the, a stable world requires a more equal world. It’s becoming increasingly impossible to have a stable world with big differences in standards of livings around the world, and the only stable outcome is going to be a world with much more equal standards of living around it.

Jared Diamond: 14:35 The world does have a track record of solving really thorny problems and some of those problems include delineating overlapping economic zones along the coast in shallow water. Wherever you get two countries that are adjacent to each other with seacoast they are likely to have overlapping coastal economic zones and it is really thorny to decide how to delineate the economic zones of adjacent countries. Nevertheless, negotiations were carried out all around the world with a result that there is agreement on economic zones between every neighboring country that has a seacoast. That was a really difficult problem, but the negotiation succeeded. Another negotiation that succeeded was establishing a framework, for mining minerals from the sea bed on the floor of the sea or the mineral nodules, which essentially are pure minerals. The technology was available for mining the mineral nodules on the ocean bottom decades ago, but there wasn’t a legal framework, meaning that if you sent out one country sent out a ship to suck up minerals here, another country could send out a ship 200 feet away and suck up those same minerals. Therefore, there was not, nobody wanted to invest in the economics of harvesting minerals from the ocean floor, but now in the last few decades, there is a legal framework. It was again, thorny to negotiate. One of the things that made it difficult to negotiate is that all of those landlocked countries like Zambia and Mongolia and Bolivia and lows were screaming, this does us no good. Those countries that have sea coast they’re the ones that can suck up the minerals and there’s no way we can suck them up. So of course we’re not going to agree to a plan that allows those countries where the seacoast and suck up the minerals. There were negotiations and the results of the negotiations, which took a decade or a couple of decades, is that the landlocked, countries like Bolivia in Zambia, they get 15% of the royalties that are produced by the coastal country. It was difficult negotiation. Those are examples of the world resolving by negotiation, difficult problems of competition between nations. Since we solve those difficult problems, that gives some grounds for optimism that we could also solve climate change and non sustainable resource use. One can object, well climate change is more difficult than those problems that we’ve solved this is more difficult than the mineral noduels on the ocean floor and yes, it’s probably true that climate change is more difficult with the fact is that there is a framework and the framework has succeeded in many difficult cases.

Edie Lush: 17:17 We also live in a world in which corporations, companies, some of them have much larger GDPs if they were to be a country Zambia you mentioned it is in terms of its GDP is actually much lower than a lot of the companies listed on the S&P 500 or the ftse 100 so what role do you see that corporations that business can play in this world?

Jared Diamond: 17:41 20 years ago I would’ve answered the role that business plays in the world is evil because Zambia is not only smaller Coca Cola and Chevron, but Zambia doesn’t do evil to the rest of the world. Where as Coca Cola and Chevron and Walmart do do evil to the rest of the world. They do no good and they are environmentally damaging and they’re among the worst effects on the environment today. That was what I would have said 20 years ago and there was some justice to it. What has changed since then is first Jared has learned on, I’m on the board board of directors of World Wildlife Fund US and I’ve been on the board of directors of the Conservation International. On the boards of these big environmental organizations are CEOs and leaders of Coca Cola. The head of the board of trustees of world wildlife on US was the CEO of Coca Cola and on the Board of Conservation International is Rob Walton, son of Sam Walton, head of Walmart and Unilever has also been a big player with World Wildlife Fund. I’ve discovered a couple of things, one that they found it in their interest to be environmentally clean. That’s not to say that big corporations are environmentally clean across the board. Yes, still doing the really, some really bad things, but also some big corporations are among the most powerful forces for environmental good in the world today and that’s something that lots of radical environmentalists don’t want to hear about. I can discuss anything with my wife but not Walmart, [laugh]

Edie Lush: 19:23 So it seems that globalization, which is sort of how you ended that book is both a blessing and a curse and I wonder how you come down on it when you think, how is this going to play out? Maybe not for you and me, but for our descendants.

Jared Diamond: 19:39 I’m laughing because when you said globalization is both a blessing and a curse that applies so many things. Marriage is a blessing and a curse. Children are a blessing and a curse. How can we maximize the benefits of globalization while minimizing the damage? Globalization means that ideas and technologies do spread rapidly around the world. That includes good constructive technologies as well as bad technology spreading around the world. Globalization means that that countries today no longer have the option of collapsing one by one. Quite a few of the most powerful societies of the past collapsed due to environmental damage. They were auto sufficient. They depended largely on their own resources and so when the classic Maya civilization of the yucatan, the most advanced civilization in the new world before Columbus collapsed, nobody knew about in Europe and probably nobody knew about or in the valley of Mexico either. Today, societies can collapse one by one because they are supported by other societies. That’s an advantage. That of globalization. Drawbacks of globalization of ones we’ve talked about, namely the spread of diseases around the world and the unstoppable movements of of people. The challenge for us is to reduce the bad effects of globalization and to increase the good effects. Just as the challenge for any couple is to, increase the benefits of a marriage and to produce the disadvantages.

Edie Lush: 21:09 Thank you very much, professor Diamond. I really appreciate your time.

Jared Diamond: 21:13 You are welcome.

Edie Lush: 21:16 It was fascinating hearing Jared Diamond describing his conversion from thinking corporations were a lot of the problem to believing corporations are part of the solution. Just after I talked to him, the Financial Times came out with an interesting chart that showed that only 15% of the 500 biggest businesses in the world, on course to reduce their carbon consumption and enough to be in line with the Paris accords.

Claudia R E: 21:41 So a lot of work still to be done and one place we always draw inspiration from is you, you our dear listeners. Edie, did you hear about our listener in Pittsburgh, Jason Hallmark?

Edie Lush: 21:53 I did. What a courageous man.

Claudia R E: 21:55 Oh my God.

Edie Lush: 21:56 He was inspired by our episodes last season in which Robert Swan and his son made a challenging track to the South Pole, relying only on sustainable energy, but hallmark had a challenge of his own. He was diagnosed last year with multiple sclerosis,

Claudia R E: 22:10 but he didn’t let that stop him. Three days after the diagnosis, he applied to a program he heard about here at the global goals cast. It’s called leadership on the edge and he spending 10 days in June this year in the program to witness climate change in the Arctic and bringing the lessons home to Pittsburgh.

Edie Lush: 22:31 I have chills, Jason, we hope you’re having a great trip. Drop us a line. We’re very proud of you for taking action

Claudia R E: 22:38 and in a moment we will hear from another big thinker about the future. Lord Martin Rees hit up the center of for existential risks, astronomer royal of the United Kingdom and from an entrepreneur who has the signed solar powered electric grids so that Africa can grow without adding to the carbon problem

Edie Lush: 22:59 but first. Another great executive from our sponsor, MasterCard

Shamina Singh: 23:05 with the girls for Tech Program that actually mastercard launched in 2014 again, we’re going to create a new set of actors in the technology space that heretofore just haven’t been there unless we make sure that women and girls have access to the learning, to the tools, to the education that’s required to not only succeed in this new economy that actually shape the new economy, we won’t realize the potential of what’s possible. So girls for tech is about creating future problem solvers. That’s how we see girls in the future and right now. So we have to make sure that the stem principles are shared equally and we have a goal actually to reach 200,000 girls by 2020 we’re halfway there in 25 countries because we’re a global company with network all over the world. We’re in 210 markets. When you’re a company like mastercard who has for each, everywhere ubiquitous, you have an opportunity to reach everyone everywhere.

Edie Lush: 24:09 That’s Shamina Singh from mastercard. Later on we’ll hear from Tara Nathan on how mastercard used it’s fin tech skills to deliver humanitarian aid.

Claudia R E: 24:19 But now we go from Ucla to Cambridge. We do not always spend so much so much time the ivory tower Edie.

Edie Lush: 24:26 I know, I couldn’t. I couldn’t resist an interview with Martin Rees because I have wanted to interview him for ages. My only regret is that I couldn’t find a way to get into his views on black holes or whether we should send people into space or leave it to robots.

Sir Martin Rees: 24:43 The theme of my book on the future is that the world has existed for 45 million centuries, but this is really the first century when one species, the human species can determine the planet’s fate. And this is the two reasons. One is that, uh, there are more others were more empowered by technology. We use more resources and we are having a heavy footprint, which is affecting the biosphere and affecting the climate.

Edie Lush: 25:13 Sir Martin talks about being deep in the anthropocene. The moment we’re in right now, when one species, the human race is so empowered and dominant that it has the planet’s future in his hands. I asked him if that means we’re creating measurable physical changes to Earth that are on a geological timescale,

Sir Martin Rees: 25:33 well a short-term geological time scale really. And uh, one of the pointers of the biosphere and the climate have been changed going very slow timescales, whereas they’re now changing on a human timescale. Of the lesson the century, which is a close, very, very much faster. And that’s why species can’t adapt to climate change and a leading to mass extinctions. And sadly we are risking destroying the book of life before we’ve read it. If we have mass extinctions,

Claudia R E: 26:01 Jared Diamond’s spoke about internalizing the externality or making the cost of a car include its impact on the environment. Martin Reese spoke about taking another concept, the discount rate commonly used in finance to determine What is worth spending now to achieve some value in the future? And what happens when you apply that approach to our impact on the environment?

Sir Martin Rees: 26:26 Well, everyone values immediate benefits rather than deferred benefits. And of course this is a standard discount rate that’s used in all economic decision making. How much more you value having something now compared to one year or 10 years or 50 years in the future. And of course, uh, this discount rate which is used by banks and everyone else is determined by a concatenation of economic factors. But the point I would like to emphasize is that the discount rate, which is appropriate in making many economic decisions is not the one which is appropriate when we are thinking about the future of generations as yet unborn. And uh, when we think about them, we’ve got to not value less. What happens at the end of ascension and now we’ve got to prepare to spend money now in order to alleviate any burdens that people at the end of ascension will have. And I think the psychological reason for this is that we do care about the life chances of babies born today who’ll be alive in the 22nd century. And if it would be shameful if the legacy that we left for future generations was a depleted and more dangerous world.

Claudia R E: 27:39 Part of the problem is that making decisions for those who will live in 2100 requires making real sacrifices today. I mean spending sacrifices, lowering investment rates, lower in consumption, a lower discount rate. But we have done it before.

Edie Lush: 27:57 I asked Sir Martin if it’s fair to say that climate change isn’t a scientific challenge anymore because we actually know the science,

Sir Martin Rees: 28:05 we know enough science to know there’s a substantial risk of something really bad by the end of the century. And that’s why we need to take precautions to remove that risk. The most important thing we could do to, uh, reduce the risk of long term climate change would be to accelerate research and development into all forms of clean energy. The first of the research is done, the quicker advances we’ve made and the cost will come down. And if you think of India, where they are now depend on energy from smokey stoves, burning wood and Dung, they need more energy. They need a grid of some kind. And if we can accelerate the development of clean energy so cheap, then they will leapfrog directly to clean energy and not build coal fire power stations. Its what they do otherwise. So to accelerate clean energy development is I think an important global goal and the deed would be hard to think of a more inspirational challenge for young scientists and engineers than to develop clean energy quickly for the whole world.

Edie Lush: 29:12 There obviously needs to be commitment from governments and more regulation and more encouragement for business to invest in these areas as well as for universities to invest in research. But how do you make that happen?

Sir Martin Rees: 29:30 Well obviously the governments can provide the right incentives and a carbon tax, particularly a fiscally neutral carbon tax where the money raised in the tax is used to lower other taxes. That’s a very attractive idea. But the important requirement is to make the public care so the politicians feel they can take these long term decisions and prioritize the longterm without losing votes. And that’s the important thing which we are lacking. So we need more charismatic individuals who can actually persuade the public that we need to do this and it’d be good in the long run. I think when we look back through history, we know that most major changes were initiated by a few key figures and then became mass movements and then the politicians took them up and took action. That’s true of slavery. It’s true of a civil rights that’s true of gay rights and we hope that will become true of the environment. But as apart from that, I think we do have to incentivize the kind of behavior which is helpful environmentally by, uh, appropriate taxes and regulations.

Edie Lush: 30:50 So it’s always part of each episode to present someone who’s out there trying to solve the problems we described. Today that person is Xavier Helgeson an entrepreneur who is doing one of the things Martin Rees called for accelerating clean energy in poor countries.

Xavier Helgesen: 31:08 the average African only uses one or 2% of the power of the average American. And the thinking was that if people could get started with clean energy and use that as their primary source of power and that adding more clean energy was the cheapest and most reliable way to get more power than people would keep using it in the uh, electrical system would grow up in a distributed manner. People know what electricity is, people know electricities everywhere. The question for them is how do I get it in my house and can I afford it? And if I get a solar power system, will it work? And will it keep working? People focus on the solar panel, but really the essence of an off grid solar power system is the smart battery and the battery needs to last for years. So the reason people typically choose our systems is because either they have no electric grid connection or that electric grid connection is unreliable or, or unstable self sufficiency is very, very important to people in these environments because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Edie Lush: 32:15 I asked Xavier how it works and why it’s affordable.

Xavier Helgesen: 32:19 We designed the capacity based on your needs in a particular segment. So one common example might be a solar power system where you could power your lights and a TV and a fan, but couldn’t power an air conditioner or a fridge to an American that might be unacceptable. But to a middle class African or Indian household, that could be exactly what they need to solve their electrical problem. And designing for the specific use allows you to hit cost targets that allow you to be as affordable as $10 a month. So one other aspect we focus on is integrating the financing into the hardware. So it works like a prepaid mobile phone where people pay in small increments and when they make a payment via their mobile phone, the solar power system in their home unlocks and produces power. And this allows us to extend financing at lower rates even to rural African customers who don’t have traditional credit

Xavier Helgesen: 33:21 Well, we don’t always realize when we have discussions about consumption or over consumption, we don’t always talk about over consumption of what and is that resource finite or, or not finite. So electricity is not really finite. We can produce many, many multiples of what we consume, even if we were all a huge energy gluttons because there’s lots of ways to produce power. And the good news today is that a solar panel on a rooftop is the cheapest source of electricity for the vast majority of people in the world. So the trick then becomes an integration problem. How do we integrate that solar electricity, which happens at random times during the day when the sun shines to serve a billion people with reliable power and allow people to build networks of self generated power. And this becomes very, very powerful because then communities of any scale, whether it’s just myself and my neighbor, whether it’s my town, they can electrify in a way that’s entirely under their control. Most people aspire to own a home rather than rent, but almost everyone in the world rents their electricity. Now I can imagine quite a few people would prefer to own that either themselves or cooperatively with other members of their community.

Claudia R E: 34:46 Edie 1 image sticks to my mind of like from all of the episodes, everything that we heard. The problem is not population growth. It is how much we consume. I mean, if we all consume like Kenyans, the planet will be okay, but we all consume like Americans, then the world is going to be toast. Yet Kenyan’s understandably want to improve their lives and that means consuming more. I think that both Martin Rees and Diamond made the point that we need to find some middle ground. Some poor countries will increase consumption, but that means that even more pressure should be put into the richer countries to reduce their levels of consumption. But that was mind blowing for me. It’s not about the population growth is about consumption. Yeah, crazy.

Edie Lush: 35:33 So that means that everybody needs to make changes and that includes big corporations like oil companies. I was amazed to see the BP report recently, the new chair of BP, Helge Lund saying that the world can’t continue along its current path and that a faster transition will require a huge reengineering of the energy system that’s going to present a significant challenge for the world’s biggest oil and gas companies. And did you see just yesterday, a collection of those big oil and gas companies were together with the pope in the Vatican signing an agreement saying that they were going to adhere to the Paris agreement. So Martin Reese had talked to me about how the world needs more of these big personalities like the Pope, like David Attenborough using their influence to have people and companies make changes. So I was pretty excited to see that.

Claudia R E: 36:24 Yeah, and I’ve seen it here. I mean like people are moving away from, depending on, government only since leadership is not that clear anymore. So people and influencers such as, you know, like companies, CEOs, people that they trust, like David Attenborough, are the one that are taking gonna take this stage

Edie Lush: 36:44 and we’ve seen insurance companies like Munich Re saying, we have to recognize a climate risk much more than we do, which of course would increase the justification for us paying now to protect us later. Back to Martin Rees’s point

Claudia R E: 36:59 the UN is planning a summit on this topic in September. As a fact the secretary general is up on to his neck in this. Well actually, he was in the Pacific Ocean up to his knees for a cover photo for Time magazine, just to dramatize the plight of Pacific island nations that are drowning like the ones that we’ve spoken to before, like Palau. I just wonder Edie, what do you think of the impact that documenters have had on the consumption of fast food? For example, do you remember supersize me or Cowspiracy maybe there’s a need to have more documentaries on plastic, carbon, fresh water, aquifers, and all about the cycle of consumption. I still don’t have a sense that we cracked the zeitgeist

Edie Lush: 37:46 I agree. I mean I, I have seen just in the tube in the last week more and more ads for different products from Unilever for example, who I know is promising to be a 100% recyclable, a real cutback on single use plastics. I’ve seen some incredible new innovation. It does need to be taken up a lot faster.

Claudia R E: 38:06 And we are here recording from Cannes. We are at the Cannes advertisement festival. And Edie, yesterday was my first day judging.

Edie Lush: 38:13 How did it go?

Claudia R E: 38:14 Well I saw a lot of publicity like last year on earth, on plastic, on consumption, how companies should totally disappears, S for example. And how that, I think that that’s going to become even more sexy in the future moving forward.

Edie Lush: 38:31 And just walking down the cross set. I’ve seen a lot about equality, about diversity, about inclusion. So it does feel like the words at least are getting out there.

Claudia R E: 38:40 And the listeners, if you know of documentaries that we should be highlighting on the topics is if you know of any activity that we should be highlighting, let us know.

Edie Lush: 38:53 And on the global goalsCast, we always give you three facts you can take away to look smart in front of your mother in law and three actions that you can take and to date those come from our partner, apolitical from Robyn Scott.

Robyn Scott: 39:08 It’s such a pleasure to join this important podcast to share three potion facts and three simple actions for driving responsible consumption and production. The first fact is that our current population of 7.7 billion people is expected to grow by a massive 26% by 2050 that’s according to the UN’s latest population report, which brings me to fact 2 the book Drawdown, surprisingly ranked educating girls and family planning as the sixth and seventh most important strategies for reducing climate change. The third fact is that responsible consumption increasingly invoke opportunities, not sacrifices take Amsterdam sharing economy initiative, which is building shared services that not only help us reduce waste, but also save us money and bring our communities closer together. And in a world where jobs are increasingly being lost to automation, the International Labor Organization estimates that the green economy could create 24 million jobs by 2030 now onto three actions. First, reduce the animal products you consume. Animal agriculture accounts for whopping 14% or more of global emissions, so go and buy some of those new meat alternatives like impossible burgers. This not only reduces your meat consumption, it also incentivizes private investors and governments to put more money into innovation around alternatives to meat. Second, read the book Drawdown, which tells you all the things you can do and shouldn’t do and what matters most. It also has some amazing facts like how you dispose of your refrigerator really, really matters. Third vote for politicians with policy solutions such as jacinda ardern’s wellbeing budget, which takes the focus off GDP alone. The scale of this challenge requires a scale of policy, so follow apolitical on Twitter and at apolitical dot. CO for examples of policies that are working around the planet for the planet. Thanks for listening and for caring.

Edie Lush: 41:21 And now a little more from our sponsor mastercard.

Tara Nathan: 41:27 What the mastercard aid network was was a digital wallet that enabled a beneficiary who was sitting in a remote place, whether in Yemen in a disconnected environment with no mobile phone coverage with no power, no electricity, the ability to receive digitally their food and their humanitarian benefits. What this does is because they’re receiving it digitally, it gives that beneficiary the ability to redeem at a local marketplace just like you or I would. It enables them to redeem their benefits for fresh fruits and fresh vegetables and to actually make healthy choices for their families. The other side of that really is what it does for the organizations that service and that serve these beneficiaries like the the NGOs who we partner with and that is, it gives them a more cost effective way, a more auditable, a more transparent way to provide these benefits.

Edie Lush: 42:28 That was Tara Nathan of mastercard who sponsored the entire season of global goals cast, we thank them for being with us the entire way.

Claudia R E: 42:40 Edie, that’s it. This is episode and season two of the global goals casts. Thank you. Thank you to all our guests. Thank you to all our listeners. You can find out more on our website, global Please like and subscribe where ever you get your podcast and follow us on social media at global goals cast.

Edie Lush: 43:02 See you in season three.

Claudia R E: 43:04 See you in season three, Sayonara

New Speaker: 43:04 [inaudible] music in this episode was by Neil Hale. Andrew Phillips, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Crown and Ashish Paliwal. This episode was made possible with the support of mastercard, CBS News digital, and Harmon, the official sound of global goals cast.

Edie Lush: 43:37 We want to give us the special thanks to our interns for the summer. Darcy Nelson. Addie Gibsy and Ashley Esquivel. We could not have done this without you and thank you to Keith Reynolds from spoke media for lending us his ear.

Make Food Not War


The single largest cause of acute hunger in the world is not a lack of food, it is war and conflict. The World Food Program says conflict has pushed 74 million people to the edge of starvation. One of the most severe situations is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where militias and marauding gangs have driven millions of farmers off their land. GGC discusses the crisis with the director of the World Food Program in the DRC, Claude Jibidar, Rosette Kasereka, a farmer and Zachary, a former child soldier. The fertile DRC could easily grow enough food for all its people and all of Africa, for that matter, if the fighting would only stop, Jibidar tells co-hosts Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman. Humanitarian groups and governments have adopted a new approach focused on ending need as well as delivering aid. In the DRC, that need is an end to violence. So WFP and other groups have focused on peacemaking. Kasereka credits a WFP program for uniting farmers. “Through union is power,” she says, ”we have become one. It has brought us together in this in this conflict situation that we lived before.“

This episode also features an interview with Tara Nathan, Executive Vice President of Humanitarian & Development at our sponsor, Mastercard. She describes how Mastercard helps humanitarian groups, corporations and governments to get out of their silos and work together.

Since 2012, Mastercard and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have been working together to deliver innovative solutions to help create a world with Zero Hunger. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

In 2017, Mastercard launched the 100 Million Meals initiative to raise funds for children in need around the world via cause marketing campaigns and events,. These campaigns support WFP school meals programmes, which can mean not only better nutrition and health, but also increased access to and achievement in education.

Featured guests


Zachary spent 5 years as a child soldier for an armed militia in the DRC – aged 13 to 18. Alongside other young people who had left the armed groups he underwent training organised by local NGOs, UNDP and UNICEF.  WFP ensured that he was fed while at the National Institute for Professional Training (Institut National de Formation Professionnelle: INPP). Now he has started a business using the computer and printer he was given as part of the training. He writes resumes and letters on Word, makes PowerPoint presentations and downloads movies and music for the people of his village and hopes one day to be a computer engineer. Since returning, he has dissuaded more young people from joining armed groups as he did.

Rosette Kasereka

Rosette Kasereka is a farmer in the North Kivu province of the DRC. She was displaced from her home for many years and was unable to farm. Since being able to return to her home she has participated in WFP and FAO’s resilience-building project known as “Purchase for Progress”, or P4P. The project helps farmers increase output and improve access to markets. Rosette now manages a warehouse which as a result of P4P is bringing in more produce than ever before. The increased amounts of money this project creates allows the farms to grow and for children to be sent to school. Rosette now passes on what she has learnt from being a part of P4P to other female farmers.

Claude Jibidar

Mr. Claude Jibidar arrived in DR Congo in July 2016, appointed as Representative and Country Director, where he had previously served in different capacity from 1999 to 2002 and from 2006 to 2008.  Mr. Jibidar brings more than 25 years of non-profit and corporate leadership experience focusing on food security, nutrition and emergency response strategies. Mr. Jibidar guides a team of about 500 staff members in the Country Office and across 8 Area and field Offices aiming at meeting the immediate food needs of vulnerable Congolese. He had served previously, three years in the same capacity in Kabul Afghanistan, leading a team of more than 550 staff across 6 field offices.   

Benjamin Anguandia

Benjamin Anguandia works for the World Food Programme in the DRC. He has lived in the DRC for all of his life excluding 5 years that he spent in Kenya as a young boy. He studied in the DRC majoring in biochemistry in high school and communications at university. He has experience living and working in insecure environments in the DRC and uses his knowledge in areas such as health and food security to help communities.

Tara Nathan

Tara Nathan is Executive Vice President for the Humanitarian & Development sector at Mastercard. In this role, she leads the company’s strategy to develop and scale products & solutions for the Base of the Pyramid. The Humanitarian & Development team is dedicated to creating an ecosystem that streamlines access to education, health, commerce, and other vital services for the most vulnerable communities. Tara’s team is focused on driving commercially sustainable social impact. Before Mastercard, she worked at Mobile Payment Solutions as the chief executive officer leading the innovation and commercial development of the Mastercard Mobile Payments Gateway a platform designed to facilitate mobile payments for consumers around the world. Before joining Mastercard, Ms. Nathan worked in various managerial positions at Citigroup’s retail banking business and was a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service working in Taiwan, Japan and China. She earned a BSFS from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Claude Jibidar: 00:05 If people in the DRC cannot plant because they are driven away from the field that don’t have what they need to feed themselves every day.

Rosette: 00:19 (Native Language) When there is war, everything is destroyed. No school for the children and no food.

Claude Jibidar: 00:27 Surviving sometimes means being on the side of those who hold the guns.

Zachary: 00:36 (Native Language) Life was very difficult to surviving, getting food and that’s when I ended up joining an armed group.

Claude Jibidar: 00:44 If an end is brought to the conflict, I’ll be ready to go back to DRC in a few years’ time. Not to be distributing food, but to be buying food from the DRC.

Claudia Edelman: 01:05 This is the Global GoalsCast, the podcast that shows how we can change the world

Edie Lush: 01:11 In this episode – famine and how to end it. 100 million women, men and children are going to bed tonight dangerously underfed, but the solution isn’t just delivering food, it’s making peace.

Claudia Edelman: 01:25 This podcast is all about making progress and celebrating champions, but we also shine a light on issues that might either derail the progress or on connections that are harder to see. In a moment, we will hear about the connection between conflict and extreme hunger and the new approach by humanitarian agencies.

Edie Lush: 01:46 But first, this word about our sponsors.

Michelle: 01:51 This episode is sponsored by Mastercard. Stay with us later for an interview with Tara Nathan, Executive Vice President of humanitarian development at Mastercard, who will tell us about the digital aid network Mastercard is helping to build and our thanks to CBS New Digital and to Harmon, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

Edie Lush: 02:18 Welcome back to the Global GoalsCast. I am Edie Lush.

Claudia Edelman: 02:21 And I am Claudia Romo Edelman. Edie, we talk a lot about how sustainable development goals are connected and interconnected. How one goal, say, educating girls helps achieve other goals like ending extreme poverty.

Edie Lush: 02:38 Exactamente, Claudia, and in this episode we’re going to explore a vivid and brutal example of this connection. Goal number two is “Zero Hunger” by 2030. Goal 16 calls for “Peace and Strong Institutions”. What humanitarian agencies say is that we will never achieve zero hunger without major strides towards resolving conflicts.

Claudia Edelman: 03:01 Let us share some basic facts. The World Food Program says that about 113 million people are suffering acute hunger in 53 countries. These are people at risk of starvation in places like Yemen, Afghanistan and parts of Africa.

Edie Lush: 03:20 The problem in the majority of these severe situations is not a lack of food, it’s war and conflict that prevents the growing of food or it’s delivery

Claudia Edelman: 03:29 Or both.

Edie Lush: 03:30 Right? Exactly. So the lasting solution isn’t dropping burlap bags of food from cargo planes. It’s healing the conflicts.

Claudia Edelman: 03:37 Correct. And the World Food Program says that one of the most severe examples of this challenge is the Democratic Republic of Congo, the second largest country in Africa, which is what you explore with them. And the Democratic Republic of Congo, Edie, as you know, holds a very special place in my heart. It was the first ever campaign I launched

Edie Lush: 04:01 And we are going to talk about that at the end of the show. So you, the dear listener, have to hang on for that. So the World Food Program says 13 million people suffer acute hunger in the Democratic Republic of Congo and millions more are at risk. The country has been torn apart by violence and millions of people have been displaced from their land. So in this very fertile country, they can’t grow enough food for themselves and it is often very hard to get food to them. To understand the situation, I spoke with three people in the DRC. The first was Claude Jibidar who directs the efforts of the World Food Program in the DRC. And to help tell the story, he introduced me to two local colleagues. One is Rosette Kasereka, a farmer who had been driven from her land. And the other is a young man we call Zachary, a former child soldier. We’ll hear more from them through a World Food Programme translator. I’ll tell you more about him later.

Claudia Edelman: 05:00 Claude Jibidar has been with the World Food Program for 25 years. As a fact, World Food Programme, WFP, Edie, what do you say? We actually start a lexicon in this podcast and we started introducing jargons and abbreviations that people should know about. So Claude has been with the World Food Programme, WFP, for 25 years.

Edie Lush: 05:22 Okay. I will allow that jargon.

Claudia Edelman: 05:23 He worked in the DRC in his younger days and then return in 2016 after a tour in Afghanistan as conditions in the DRC were worsening.

Claude Jibidar: 05:36 The DRC is part of my daily concerns, worries. It’s what keeps me awake at night because DRC is one of those countries. Where everything should be in place for people to have more than enough to eat.

Rosette: 06:00 (Native language) The farming, we do is in a very difficult context because since 1994, the war has been um, making access difficult to our farms.

Claude Jibidar: 06:13 If people in the DRC cannot plant because they are uprooted because they are driven away from the field they don’t have what they need to feed themselves every day, they don’t have what it needs to take a sick child to health center or take a child to school. That’s the bottom line. If people don’t cultivate in DRC they don’t eat. The one important factor, if I was to pin only one in the DRC, I would say conflict. And what it means is that a family, a woman, her children, the husband in the middle of the night anytime suddenly they have to run and that run and leave everything behind.

Rosette: 07:08 (Native language) It was one of the groups called, CNDP that attacked the regular army. It was heated up badly that the army had to flee. And in that period there were many people that lost their lives. And in that period we had to run away. We had to flee from that (native language) and at that time we fled with my four children and with my husband and uh, my mother.

Claude Jibidar: 07:42 So Rosette is one of those extraordinary women in the DRC. You cannot imagine what they go through.

Rosette: 07:55 (Native language) And so when you talk about when there’s war, everything is destroyed. No school for the children and no food. We all slept, at one little room and food was very difficult to find.

Edie Lush: 08:12 It would be simple, or perhaps I should say, simplistic to think of all of this as good farmers who driven from their land by evil soldiers. Claude explained to me that often is not the soldiers themselves were caught up in the cycle of hunger and conflict. The perpetrators are victims, too.

Claude Jibidar: 08:30 In many instances you are talking of a handful of young guys from a village trying to survive. And what do they do to survive? They try to have access to resources either by taking it from whoever may provide them something: a bag of maize, a cow, a goat from the villages simply because those young people are armed. In other circumstances, maybe much better organized groups, some of them manipulated, some of them even set up to access and control resources and they get something out of it…so it’s all about survival.

Zachary: 09:21 (Native language) I had to stop school suddenly because of the conflict of war that had just started. My parents were being disturbed when they were going to farm and that led to me stopping school.

Edie Lush: 09:41 We call him Zachary. The World Food Program asked us to withhold his real name to protect him from reprisals by the armed group that he used to run with. He was 13 when he joined the militia.

Zachary: 09:56 (Native language) Life was very difficult surviving, getting food and I started having ideas and that’s when I ended up joining an armed the group.

Claude Jibidar: 10:08 You realize that uh, they did go through some terrible times. These were people who are trying to survive

Zachary: 10:19 (Native language) Once I joined the armed group, life was even more difficult than I had thought before, because it was very, very, very difficult to eat and once we would fight every time and not eat anything. And when you left as a group to go out somewhere to fight, you’d leave with a number of ten, and you come back three people and there was even no medicine – we just lived like that.

Claude Jibidar: 10:53 Surviving sometimes means being on the side of those who hold the guns rather than being the victims of those people. Survival is also about, you know, making sure that you can have access to those resources yourself.

Zachary: 11:09 (Native language) Our food we used to get it from the farmers, we would go in people’s farm and take things. We would do looting most of the times and I would stop cars on the road, take what we want, also some money. (Native language) Yeah that’s how we got our food.

Claude Jibidar: 11:30 And that goes on until a time when somebody can come and give you alternatives, give you options. And Zachary, like many others– they had this opportunity to be given options. And um, through those options, you know, change the way they were looking at the future. These are people, if you talk to them, you’ll see that what they want is they want education, they want security, they want to grow up and have their own families care for their own families. I mean things that are as simple you and I, we, we enjoy every day just a bit of peace.

Claude Jibidar: 12:17 There is more than enough to feed everybody. I don’t think that is the point. The point is about a number of people in a number of specific countries and contexts, face challenges that are beyond what they can manage themselves. And that is where I believe, you know, agencies like the World Food Program and all the others really have to come together.

Claudia Edelman: 12:54 In 2016 the world’s humanitarian organizations came together at a very important meeting in Istanbul. I happened to be there and they agreed on this new approach of not just delivering food, but also solving the problems that caused hunger in the first place. Istanbul was massive, a crucial meeting of the minds where leaders agreed for the first time to work on prevention and also work on issues at the same time. Everything is interconnected.

Edie Lush: 13:27 There’s a new phrase for this thinking humanitarian agencies should move from delivering aid to ending need, and I asked Claude about that. So it sounds like peacemaking is the ultimate skill you need to make sure that people can just eat. How do you address that? Do you and your colleagues have the skills you need? Do you fund people who do, how does it work?

Claude Jibidar: 13:52 We call on everybody. We call on people like you. I call on first and foremost on the government to play its role to ensure that its people can have some stability. We try from our own side to stabilize communities. Let me give you an example. One of the conflicts currently hitting that Tanganyika province of the DRC is a conflict between what we call the Tua, which are the peak big community against the Bamtu community. These two communities have been at war fighting each other, killing each other, creating displacement. So what we, WFP, have tried to do jointly with FAO, with other NGO partners like “Search for Common Ground” is to bring these people together and have them work side by side, have them see what advantages they can obtain from this collaboration, what it brings them as opposed to, you know, the conflict that they were pursuing.

Claude Jibidar: 15:19 And if you go to a place called Caballo, you have today through a resilience project being implemented by the World Food Program, FAO, and “Search for Common Ground”, with the support of a number of donors, you have these communities working side by side, they reap the benefit of pooling their resources, their capacities together. This is something that I wish I could scale up and multiplied by 100 because you know what hunger drinks about conflict and conflict generates hunger so it’s a vicious circle. It has to be broken.

Claudia Edelman: 15:59 The scale of the challenge is quite large. With families living in terrible conditions and unable to farm or feed themselves.

Claude Jibidar: 16:09 The new numbers was more than 4.5 million people displaced internally. Being internally displaced in Kasai meant that people had left their homes and for a year, for some of them, people have been surviving in the bush, and when I say surviving in the bush, it means feeding off whatever you could find in the Bush sleeping, wherever you could sleep.

Edie Lush: 16:40 We rejoin rosette that after she and her family returned home, unlike so many who lose children to hunger or illness – or even snakebites – while displaced from their homes, she has all of her family intact.

Rosette: 16:56 (Native language) When we got back, it was very difficult depending on assistance. Everybody was trying to farm in their own different ways. Seeds were difficult to find before that. Until when WFP, the World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization came in to support us with the trainings on how to farm and, uh, increase our produce and also provided us seeds and tools.

Edie Lush: 17:29 And so now what are you growing Rosette?

Rosette: 17:34 (Native language) We farm maize, beans, cabbages, eggplants. (Native language) I am able to plant for selling and also eating some in the family and also I’m managing to, to have some money selling my products to pay for basic services and most importantly, uh, the children’s school fees.

Claude Jibidar: 18:05 WFP, FAO helps them, provide them with a bit of food, provide them with a bit of seeds, a few tools and two months after you see Rosette and you see other women chanting, dancing because they have had their first harvest. And that’s one of the stories. But it is the story of I would say all the women that we are meeting in the DRC and that’s why for us it is so important to be behind these people, to support them, to listen to what they want, what they need and do our utmost to be able to bring them because what we are bringing is very little and what they’re fighting, what they’re struggling is so much more, so much more than what we can bring them. That’s why I think the story, the history of the DRC, you know, if this country becomes what it is meant to be, I think it will be thanks to the women of the DRC.

Claudia Edelman: 19:12 As she was rebuilding her own life, Rosette was able to take on a leadership role in a farmer’s group that is part of their resilience building encouraged by the World Food Program. It is called purchase for progress and it helps farmers build their markets and income.

Rosette: 19:32 (Native language) I’m the president of the 11 farmer’s organization. It is very important as the project came because here in our area it’s very difficult for women to be in positions to make decisions. It was always the manner that makes the decision even in the homes, but now I’m part of the team. I am now making, able to make, decision and it makes me very happy. Through this project I have also learnt personally that uh, farming is a, is a very good business. It’s a business because it has enabled me to learn the value of what I produce. I know that food is very important and there is a portion I can keep, I can store for eating and a portion I can sell and it has increased my income in my house. Here, there’s a common saying that says union is power. And through this project, purchase for progress, we have become one. It has brought us together in this conflict situation that we lived before. If I’m in a difficult situation, I know I can go to another person within the group because now we know each other better. I found where I belong. I know that with farming I plan my life better. I know what I produce, my income is and that’s how I live. (Native language)

Claudia Edelman: 21:12 When we come back, we will hear why Zachary decided to lay down his guns and give up being a child soldier. At first, another cool woman from mastercard, Tara Nathan, executive vice president in charge of humanitarian development. Claudi. We met her in Davos, remember indeed, and I spoke to her about the digital aid network. Mastercard is helping to build.

Tara Nathan: 21:37 We see that while philanthropy has a critical role to play, we believe that our technology and our capabilities and leveraging our knowledge of not just digital technologies but of building payments, ecosystems can really have transformational impact. Specific examples, we partnered with a number of different NGOs, the likes of Mercy Corps and Save the Children, World Vision, et cetera, to build something called the Mastercard Aid Network.

Tara Nathan: 22:08 What the Mastercard Aid Network was, was a digital wallet that enabled a beneficiary who was sitting in a remote place, whether in Yemen, in a disconnected environment with no mobile phone coverage, with no power, no electricity, the ability to receive digitally their food and their humanitarians benefits. What this does is because they’re receiving it digitally, it gives that beneficiary the ability to redeem at a local marketplace just like you or I would. It enables them to redeem their benefits for fresh fruits and fresh vegetables and to actually make healthy choices for their families. The other side of that really is what it does for the organizations that service and that serve these beneficiaries, like the NGOs who we partner with.

Tara Nathan: 23:00 And that is it gives them a more cost effective way, a more auditable, a more transparent way to provide these benefits. We look at our digital infrastructure as sort of digital roads that that give access to a number of different services and we have another solution that we are deploying currently across Uganda and Kenya and in India as well, which is giving, for example, smallholder farmers access to Agri buyers. So a small holder farmer typically in a rural environment would be limited as to where they could sell their goods. So their household income will be limited by who comes to their, literally who comes to their farm gate and purchases what their wares are.

Tara Nathan: 23:46 By digitally enabling these smallholder farmers, we give them access to large scale Agri buyers who can now pay much more for their produce or for their beans or for their crops. And eliminate some of the middle men who sit and extract rents in these value chains. We now either eliminate some of that and or create transparency.

Claudia Edelman: 24:10 More from Mastercard and Tara Nathan later. Now let’s return to our conversation about how conflict and famine are tied together. And no one illustrates that better than Zachary who talks about the terror of being a child soldier.

Zachary: 24:32 (Native language) I decided to leave during one mission whereby we, we went to fight and uh, we went 15 and came back seven people. Three of my friends got killed that day and I thought to myself, why should I continue living like this? And uh, if there’s no other life than this, that was when I decided to go and leave the group.

Edie Lush: 25:02 He would have been killed if he’d asked to leave. He fled in the night, made it home, but then had to go into hiding from the very militias that he’d run away from

Claudia Edelman: 25:12 And here is where the coordinated humanitarian efforts to end need gave Zachary a new start. He joined the training program run by a local NGO, focused on rehabilitating former child soldiers. The WFP made sure he was fed while he was learning how to start a new business.

Rosette: 25:37 (Native language) I got registered for the program and they took us to a place where they would train us and they ask us what we wanted to learn. As me, I was passionate about computer science and uh, that’s what I chose to be trained in. (Native language) The place where the educational center was located, was a two hours of walk from where I lived, from my village, my home. I had to wake up very early in the morning around five o’clock to be there at eight o’clock. It was very difficult in the beginning. I was motivated and encouraged through the food that uh World Food Programme was giving out to the former ex soldiers participating, taking part in that training that motivated me, encouraged me to continue and finish the training.

Edie Lush: 26:36 After the training and with the ‘exit kit’- that’s a computer and a printer provided by the program, he was able to open his own business providing printing, scanning, word processing and more.

Zachary: 26:50 (Native language) I opened the place and I make some money out of it. (Native language) With a place I’ve opened I’m also providing training, showing some youth that are interested in computers and computer sciences. And also through that I’ve been able to sensitize former armed group people that were still in there. I talked to them and sensitized them out of it to get out.

Claudia Edelman: 27:21 He also used his experience to discourage other young people thinking of joining an armed group. He had succeeded with seven people who were about to join the militia.

Zachary: 27:34 (Native language) I see myself as a peacemaker and the more knowledge I get, the more I’ll have the ability to help out as many people as possible. (Native language) I dream of a place where we are able to do live free of children going into armed groups like the way I did.

Claudia Edelman: 28:03 Don’t just deliver aid, end the need. We can really see that in the stories of Rosette and Zachary. She has learned to manage and grow an agribusiness and he’s a budding tech entrepreneur.

Edie Lush: 28:15 And a big part of his business Claudia is actually helping people download movies and music. He’s like a kind of one man Netflix, but that’s to say nothing of his new found role working to keep young men and women like him out of the armed militias. I was really moved by my conversation with Zachary and also Claude Jibidar. He and the other humanitarian leaders know what needs to be done in the DRC. If peace and stability can be created, the experts say the DRC has the abundance to produce enough food to feed everyone in Africa, with food left over.

Claude Jibidar: 28:53 I always say as a joke that in the DRC, when you take your tomato, you wash your tomato, you throw the water. You come a month after you have a tomato plant, but it is true. It’s not a joke. I recall back in the 90s we tried to rehabilitate some rail tracks that had not been used for nine months. There were trees, trees had grown in the middle of the tracks. I mean that’s what DRC is about. The potential is there. Everything grows and grows very fast. If an end is brought to the conflict, I would be ready to go back to DRC in a few years’ time. Not to be distributing food, but to be buying food from the DRC and taking that food in a number of other places where they’re hit by drought and by, you know, like Mozambique at the moment with, you know, these floodings because the DRC can feed huge numbers of people. FAO Talks of 2 billion people. This country hosting currently 90 million people, of which at least 20 millions are food insecure. That country could produce enough to feed 2 billion.

Edie Lush: 30:19 Claudia, I don’t know if you’re aware, but we had some behind the scenes drama making this episode. As you can see, conflict is a daily issue in life in the DRC, so it turned out to be a daily issue in recording. Benjamin Anguandia, who was the WFP staff person who also was a translator, was supposed to go interview Rosette and Zachary with me on the other end of the phone and I got a message from his office saying he’s had to turn around because there’s armed militias on the road between his office and where Zachary and Rosette live, so the exact same issues that affect those folks in our episode affected our podcast.

Claudia Edelman: 31:02 I started by telling you Edie when I was working for the UN refugee agency in 2008 no one, I mean no one spoke about the DRC. The focus was in Darfur and in other areas of Africa and the world. But I went out and started measuring and checking media space given to the DRC, how much media was covering it and literally was nothing, was one of the countries that had very little funding and there were 5,000 people killed every day and the number of child soldiers that were in DRC wars, were humongous. So it was almost like the bloodiest place in the world that no one saw. I went out and started knocking doors of different people to try to get some attention to the DRC. So the first door I knocked was Universal Studios. I said, I need you guys to come to the DRC and film something so that we can bring this issue to the table.

Claudia Edelman: 32:00 You can only imagine their faces. When I said that, and they were like, what’s the DRC? But beyond that they committed to actually doing that. And we went afterwards to try to get a soundtrack so that we could do something. So the Rolling Stones donated “Gimme Shelter” and then we went out to Ben Affleck to see whether he could actually direct this video to try to incentivize people to give shelter, to actually understand the DRC was a tragedy that needed to be seen and needed to be corrected. Knowing how much potential DRC had. You can only imagine the amount of times that we tried to take off with the little planes full of equipment trying to land in the DRC was not possible. So I thank everybody for having made that effort and it brought the DRC from the invisible to the visible to some degree.

Edie Lush: 32:49 What did you learn from that?

Claudia Edelman: 32:51 DRC is a place that illustrates that you have to work together on so many fronts at the same time and you know like it’s not that you can work towards education and forget about gender and you have to work on everything at the same time and it’s such a potential land. People understanding leaders, understanding that in order to really accomplish ambitious goals, you have to work on many things at the same time and pretty much work on prevention, but Edie, pretty much what the sustainable development goals or SDGs are. There we go, lexicon number five,

Edie Lush: 33:27 Another bit of jargon.

Claudia Edelman: 33:27 There we go.

Edie Lush: 33:28 Can I, before we move on, I just want to say the next time you go to knock on the door of Ben Affleck and the Rolling Stones I could come to, I can also knock on doors.

Claudia Edelman: 33:38 But Edie, these stories, the stories that we’re telling today, they illustrate hope and how champions are really making a difference and how it is possible to get to that path. Particularly now that we have by far more understanding and a framework of action.

Edie Lush: 33:55 And I think that those stories that we told today, the stories of Zachary and Rosette, they are the champions just as much as Claude is. Those are the folks who are helping to rebuild their country even as it’s still under so much threat.

Claudia Edelman: 34:10 Edie, not to brag, but on Saturday I was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of honor. I hope that you saw that and there were like 100 people that were honored and the one that really got the attention of everybody, because there were only a few people speaking, was David Beasley. He’s like the executive director of the World Food Program. And when he was talking I could just see that people got it, but also had hope and they believed on it and actually they could understand it and see because food is something that is concrete and tangible and gets people together. David was also very good in praising the US for stepping up and while in many other areas, you know, like there’s, there’s some questions about whether the US is following, you know, global affairs here. He reassured that this country was actually stepping up and stepping forward. So that was a massive event.

Edie Lush: 35:04 And I would like to praise you for stepping up in such an amazing dress. Not that it’s all about the dress.

Claudia Edelman: 35:11 And the dress is a beautiful bridge to the facts because it’s not only looking great but also looking smart. So here are the three facts for today.

Edie Lush: 35:21 So fact number one, issues of food and nutrition are not only related to agriculture or trade. Conflict plays a huge role and as a fact, conflict is the most serious cause of acute hunger affecting 75 million people and getting worse.

Claudia Edelman: 35:37 Fact number two, one third of the world’s food is wasted and one person in 10 around the world is under nourished.

Edie Lush: 35:45 Fact number three, 29 million people face acute hunger because of climate change. Most of these people are in Africa but also in Pakistan and Haiti. This is likely to increase and spread in the years to come. And in several countries including the DRC conflict and climate change are reinforcing each other. You can learn more at our website, the links to the latest reports on hunger are there to learn more. You owe to yourself and the future. As Claude Jibidar explained,

Claude Jibidar: 36:18 Maybe think the worLd differently, whatever big the world is whatever happens somewhere will affect all of us. If other people are suffering, there will reach out to where they can have safety, where they can have wealth, where they can survive. So let’s help each other because otherwise we will all be the same problem at some point.

Edie Lush: 36:49 Okay, Claudia, we’ve also got some actions. Action number one, Claudia, take out your phone and if you haven’t already, download, Share the Meal, the World Food Programme, oop, the WFPs app. It lets you pick where you want your help to go. So swipe, till you find the one you want to click on and then you can feel good. I did this yesterday and I was tidying up the script and I chose the DRC because the money I give goes directly to the school feeding programs like the one Rosette sells her crops too.

Claudia Edelman: 37:20 So I’m going to correspond to your action with another phone action. Edie, take out your phone, now, download Olio. You got it?

Edie Lush: 37:31 I got it. I did it.

Claudia Edelman: 37:32 There you go. So snap a picture of something you don’t want in your fridge or cupboard and within a day someone in your neighborhood will come and pick it up. How smart is that? Combat food waste and eliminate hunger locally. That’s awesome. Edie did this all last weekend, didn’t you?

Edie Lush: 37:52 I did and I even got rid of my cranberry sauce that I thought no one but Americans would want and why would they want it in London in May and somebody did. That’s what’s amazing.

Claudia Edelman: 38:03 Download Olio guys.

Edie Lush: 38:05 Action number three, support partners of Global GoalsCast- Slow Food, check out their food for change campaign, which explains how our food choices have a direct impact on the future of the planet.

Claudia Edelman: 38:17 And also support Gastromotiva from our friends in Brazil that feed people in underprivileged areas, reduce food waste by cooking it and also empower youth to be more aware and more conscious about their food.

Edie Lush: 38:34 And here’s the Global GoalsCast lexicon.

Claudia Edelman: 38:40 WFP- World Food Programme

Edie Lush: 38:41 DRC- Democratic Republic of Congo

Claudia Edelman: 38:44 SDGs- sustainable development goals

Edie Lush: 38:49 and NGOs. I don’t even know what they are!

Claudia Edelman: 38:50 Ah you got it! Non-governmental organisations

Edie Lush: 38:50 Non-governmental organisations.

Edie Lush: 38:58 Now Let’s hear more from Tara Nathan, executive vice president at Mastercard. Earlier, she introduced us to the way Mastercard is helping people in remote locations to receive aid digitally and how that in turn is promoting better nutrition. Is all of this being done via the mobile phone?

Tara Nathan: 39:18 We find that in a majority of the context where people living at the base in marginalized communities exist, frankly, have no connectivity or have very intermittent connectivity. And so when those types of contexts, what we’re really trying to figure out, and we’re doing a lot of innovation around is how we can create offline solutions. So offline solutions that are facilitated via what looks like a regular Mastercard that you carry around in your wallet. But now what we do is we leverage that chip card to serve, if you will, as an entry level mobile phone almost because it can store data, it can store biometric capabilities. Wouldn’t it be great if someone can show up at a point of interface at a point of sale and just via their biometrics just via who they are, capture their face and receive the goods and services to which they are entitled.

Edie Lush: 40:12 So what do you think the biggest challenges are with the programs that you get involved with that aim to serve marginalized individuals and communities?

Tara Nathan: 40:25 I think the biggest challenge that we face, frankly, is that the various actors across the humanitarian and development sectors still fail to act in concert. So what does that mean? We have very siloed approaches, both from a solution perspective, from a technology perspective, from a go to market perspective. And what that results in is, high cost for donors, it results in unprofitability for the private sector. It results in substandard solutions for the beneficiaries we seek to serve. So that is the main gap. We’ve made an effort to this end in conjunction with about 35 other partners we launched in Davos actually two years ago. The Smart Communities Coalition and the Smart Communities Coalition is really aimed at doing that. Smart Communities Coalition really aims to say, how do we create the digital roads, the power roads, the connectivity roads that create the infrastructure that can provide those longterm solutions. I think these are the types of ecosystem or joint approaches that are really going to be critical if we are going to solve, you know, what has been repeatedly called out is the several trillion dollar funding gap to achieve the the sustainable development goals.

Edie Lush: 41:56 That was Tara Nathan from Mastercard.

Claudia Edelman: 41:59 And that was a wrap. That’s it for this episode of Global GoalsCast. Thank you so much to all our guests. You can find out more on our website, Please like and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and follow us on social media at Global GoalsCasts. Goodbye, Edie Lush.

Edie Lush: 42:18 Goodbye, Claudia

Claudia Edelman: 42:23 Bye!

Michelle: 42:23 Music in this episode was by Neil Hale, Andrew Phillips, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Crone and Aasgeesg Paliwal. Thanks to our translator, Benjamin Aguandia. This episode was made possible with the support of Mastercard, CBS News Digital, and Harmon, the official sound of Global GoalsCast.

How to Make a Healthier World


No child should die of measles in 2019. Or any disease that can be prevented by Vaccine or basic preventive care. That’s the view of Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEOof the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, speaking to Edie lush on this Episode. Yet children still do die needlessly. Which shows the world still has work to do to continue to grow healthier. Progress over the last decades has been remarkable. The near abolition of measles is just one example. A good part of the credit goes to two organizations, The Global Fund and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. Their work has helped people live longer healthier lives, particularly in the poorest places on earth. But now governments must decide whether to replenish their funds. Sue Desmond Hellman argues that it is the best investment in the future.

Featured guests

Sue Desmond-Hellmann

Sue Desmond-Hellmann is a physician, scientist and philanthropist and has been a pioneer for healthcare for more than 30 years. After moving to Uganda in 1989 to work on HIV/AIDS and cancer she has since driven major developments toward the eradication of disease, poverty and inequality. She completed her clinical training at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) in the 1980s and later became the first female chancellor for the university. Today she is the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation works to ensure more children and young people survive and thrive, combat infectious diseases that hit the poorest hardest and empower people – especially women and girls – to transform their lives. Sue is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. She was listed among Fortune magazine’s “top 50 most powerful women in business” for seven years and, in 2010, was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and elected to the Institute of Medicine. She was also listed as one of the world’s seven most “powerful innovators” by Forbes Magazine in 2009.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Susan D-H: 00:02  No one should die of measles in 2019 that should never happen. A Child should never die for want of an affordable vaccine.

Susan D-H: 00:11 It is not an exaggeration to say a health crisis anywhere is a health crisis everywhere

Susan D-H: 00:17 We are dead serious about causing an impact

Edie Lush: 00:31  This is the Global GoalsCast the podcast that shows how we can change the world. In this bonus episode, we’re going to talk about two organizations that have changed the world by helping people live longer, healthier lives, particularly in the poorest places on earth. And Claudia, I know they’re important to you. They’re the Global Fund and Gavi

Susan D-H: 00:51  Two incredible organizations, very close to my heart, both of them. The question is whether we will step up the fight and help them achieve their incredible goals and missions. And that will depend on whether governments and philanthropies renew their funding. In a moment we will hear from our special guests, on why they should and why the world should step up the fight this year.

Edie Lush: 01:17 But first, let’s thank the sponsors, make it possible to bring you this episode and every episode of the Global GoalsCast

Claudia R E:  01:29  Our thanks to Mastercard for sponsoring Season Two of the Global GoalsCast, and to CBS News Digital for being our media partner, and, to Harman Kardon the official sound of the Global GoalsCast.

Edie Lush:  01:49  Welcome back. I’m Edie Lush

Claudia R E: 01:51  And I’m Claudia Romo Edelman. You know, Edie, we love to talk about what’s going right in the world, the champions that are making a difference. And sometimes it is not so easy. Progress isn’t that clear, but in one very important field, the progress is not just clear its amazing.

Edie Lush: 02:10 That’s right. We can debate about whether the world is a better place than it was like 20 years ago. But one area of progress is beyond dispute. The world is a much healthier place. The World Health Organization says that globally people are living longer and healthier lives.

Claudia R E: 02:27  And part of the reason is the work of two incredible organizations. One of them is Gavi, the vaccine alliance, and we featured Seth Berkley, its CEO in our season one on the episode of trust. The other organization is the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. These are unique organizations that draw their support from governments, private philanthropy and corporate contributions.

Claudia R E:02:54  They changed the game from calling on the M-game to the B game. Organizations used to gather millions of dollars and the Global Fund and Gavi started calling it the billion dollar game. And both organizations have launched major drives to guarantee funding over the next few years. They call it replenishment as in replenishing the money that they need to continue their work into the 2020s to move closer to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goal number three, health and wellbeing for all.

Edie Lush: 03:30 Claudia, for a closer look at this, I sought out the CEO of the bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which as you know has been one of the strongest supporters of Gavi and the Global Fund. I caught up with her in Davos.

Edie Lush:  03:44 Thank you very much for being with us. I want you to tell me in your own words what you think the impact of those funds has been so far.

Susan D-H: 03:51 It literally is impossible for me to overstate how much global fund and Gavi have contributed to everything we celebrate in global health. I’ll give you just one fact. Since 1990 under five mortality has been cut in half. It is not at all an overstatement to say, if not for the Global Fund for Aids, TB, and malaria and Gavi for vaccines for the poorest children of the world, the world would have never seen that kind of gains.

Edie Lush: 04:23  So it’s up for replenishment in the next 18 months and we need governments and the private sector to recommit. What’s your message to them?

Susan D-H:  04:31   This is a great buy. My message is – if you want a return on investment, if you’re a government, if you’re a philanthropist, if you’re somebody who cares about the world and your fellow humans, this is a great investment.

Susan D-H: 04:45 The return on investment is extraordinary. About 20 bucks for every one bucks spent. And one of the really fun things for a person like me working with Bill, Melinda and Warren is I work around people who are pretty smart business people and it’s not typical in the global development area you talk about return on investment. Global Fund and Gavi are great returns on investment.

Edie Lush:05:07  So tell me why that is. Why is it such a good return on investment?

Susan D-H:  05:10  Well, I think there’s two reasons that I want people to know about. Let’s start with Global Fund. One of the things that I think is so important to remember because it’s easy to forget the early days of the epidemic, HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria remained some of the most important killers of human beings. When we see something like HIV aids controlled by antiretroviral therapy by modern medicine, and we don’t really see tuberculosis and malaria in the United States, we think of those as travelers’ diseases.

Susan D-H: 05:46 In fact, for most people in the world, particularly for people in the poorest areas of the world, these diseases still kill and they cause a lot of what we call morbidity. They cause a lot of suffering. So the Global Fund is really important because those are the diseases that the poorest people of the world struggle with. Gavi on the other hand is important because of the near miraculous benefit of vaccines. Bill and Melinda started the Gates Foundation in part because they recognize that children in poor areas would die of a vaccine preventable disease. Like no one should die of measles in 2019. That should never happen. So something that’s affordable and accessible and safe and effective, a child should never die for want of an affordable vaccine. And Gavi is really based on that premise.

Edie Lush: 06:45  The big developed countries have been among the biggest contributors to Gavi and the Global Fund, billions of dollars in the last two decades. The United Kingdom, United States, France. But now these countries are caught up in a wave of nationalism that makes winning their help for the rest of the world. More difficult. I asked suit, Desmond-Hellmann, how supporters of Gavi and the Global Fund would address this.

Susan D-H: 07:09 We’re very concerned about the current dialogue.We’re, we’re concerned not because we get into politics because we don’t, we don’t choose sides in politics, but we do believe very, very strongly in a global view for health. And these replenishments are really about a global view for health. And so no matter if you think, Gosh, I’m worried about the people in my neighborhood, I’m worried about the people in my community, my country, or if you have learned in school to think about Europe and Asia and Subsaharan Africa, I don’t actually care how you think about the world, your politics are your politics.

Susan D-H: 07:51 What I am very confident is that the entire world benefits from the funds that governments and philanthropists put against the Global Fund and Gavi, it’s money well spent. I’ll give you an example, 2015 the world got really scared about Ebola and what that taught us because of global travel and because in fact things like mosquitoes or bats or other agents that carry infectious diseases don’t know about our borders and don’t really care much about our borders because people move and the vectors, we call them – mosquitoes or bats or whoever’s carrying disease – they move across country lines. It is not an exaggeration to say a health crisis anywhere is a health crisis everywhere and so it’s actually just practical and important. Again, these are best buys so governments can get a great return on what ultimately is not only the health of the world, but the health of their citizens.

Edie Lush:  08:50  Because I was interviewing her during the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering, I asked Desmond Hellmann about the sharp criticism of the elites who gather at Davos and the claim that their efforts to help the world are really empty gestures intended to protect their own status.

Susan D-H:  09:08 I couldn’t disagree more. I think in philanthropy, just like private industry, just like government, just like the nongovernmental organizations, there are people with different values. There’s tactics and strategies and approaches that are either helpful and cause good outcomes, and then there’s some that fail. I think it is frankly silly to target any of those sectors and take one or two examples where people haven’t done a good job or where they, you disagree with their values and paint a picture broadly in one sector as if everybody signifies that one outlier or that one bad outcome. Here’s what I know. Before I came to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, I was chancellor at University of California, San Francisco and tremendous philanthropists, help us drive scholarship for students, an entirely new campus at mission bay for Science. I grew to be so positive about the generosity of the donors that help create new children’s Hospital at UCF, so I got really passionate about philanthropists and the good they could do in a public university in California after the big recession. Then I come to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and I can tell you that we are absolutely not perfect. We’ve made mistakes, we’ll make mistakes, but we are dead serious about causing an impact

Edie Lush: 10:41  That was Sue Desmond-Hellmann at the bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a really impressive woman. Claudia, tell me about this replenishment of the fund compared to the last one.

Claudia R E: 10:52 As you know, Edie, I was working for the Global Fund for four years and I was the head of marketing and I had the opportunity to be part of two replenishments. As a fact, one of the first replenishments of the Global Fund on the global scale. And every year you step up the funding that is needed. But this year it is 14 billion dollars. I just don’t know whether you realize how much is that money at the end of the day, you know, like again, organizations work on the M game and the global fund goes into the B game and changes the model of the way in which we deal with issues. So before the Global Fund existed, every organization was fighting small old pieces on their own. And the Global Fund came as a new unique model as our war chest, putting everybody to say like, look, instead of actually everyone trying to defeat such a monster like aids, tuberculosis, and malaria, let’s put all the efforts, all the monies, everything in a coordinated manner and $14 billion this year is just an incredible effort. I think that the past two replenishments have been around 10 or $12 billion and it sounds easy to have just like a step up of $2 billion but that’s massive. And I think that what the Global Fund has demonstrated is that they save incredible amount of lives, that it is an very, very flexible organization that it was able to reform itself to be really, really increasingly effective. We’re very close to finding vaccines, for example, for aids and things that will change completely the spectrum of health overall. And without the global fund being totally replenished, Edie, the Sustainable Development Goals will not be able to be achieved as easily because they touched not only goal three but a number of others, the incredible progress that the world’s, so during the 80s taking 20% of the kids around the world that were vaccinated to 80% it’s a massive thing. But guess what?

Claudia R E: 12:57  Since the eighties that’s it. We are in plateau in 80% so we’re not able to move from 80% to 100% or actually to say not only we have a couple of vaccines to kids, but a number of vaccines so that you know, once and for all you get all the vaccinations that you get to as many people as possible in one

Edie Lush:  13:16  Its that last mile question isn’t it? And I think that health is the great success story of the global goals. The original Millennium Development Goals were very much about health. I don’t need to tell you that of course, but I’m just reminding myself. But a large measure, they were met and we’ve also meet, seen a lot of people alongside these great strides that Gavi, the global fund has been making. Also we’ve seen development. So we’ve seen more people move into the middle class around the world. They eat better, they get better medical care. But the reason that we talk about health so much and the reason that it’s such an important thing to focus on SDG three is because it’s so interrelated with the other goals, like improving incomes, educating everyone, reducing inequality.

Edie Lush: 14:03  I think the thing that I wonder about and I wonder what you think about this, that things have changed since those millennium development goals. Health was a real top priority and now it’s just one of 17. People like the Secretary General for really very real and important reason to think that curving climate change is the top priority. Now, of course among the arguments is that improvements in health won’t continue if those billions of people around the world are exposed to scorching heat, climate driven famines and dislocation caused by flooding and complex over water. So how do you keep health up there as important as the rest of the goals, especially when so much focus is on climate change.

Claudia R E: 14:41 I invite you to actually have a look at the global fund website and see the video of step up the fight. You will actually see that the curve is exponentially going down on the number of deaths of people and the amount of people in treatment on aids tuburculosis and malaria.

Claudia R E: 14:57  So it goes like (sound effect)

Edie Lush: 15:00 Just like that? With that sound effect?

Claudia R E: 15:00 And then we can come to a place like, (sound effect) and that’s it, 2030 boom end bye. But there’s a risk right now that if we don’t address that, then it’s going to be like, (sound effect) and it’s going to come back. So we don’t want to do that because all the progress that we have made has not only, you know, like signified an incredible number of lives, but also an incredible number of billions of dollars that could be lost.

Edie Lush:  15:25   I really love those sound effects. I mean I know it’s a serious subject, but I really love the sound of that because I just have to tell you. So I think we could get into that for three facts and actions. Now what do you think?

Claudia R E: 15:37 I think that’s right.

Edie Lush: 15:38  Okay, so number one, in 15 years, the global death toll of malaria has been cut in half. That’s from nearly 840,000 deaths in 2000 just under 440,000 deaths in 2015

Claudia R E: 15:55   Fact number two the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 30% since 2000. There’s still more to go.

Edie Lush: 16:02 And number three Claudia, you mentioned this just a minute ago, AIDS is the leading cause of death among young women, yet it is treatable. Every two minutes a teenager is infected by HIV, yet it is preventable. So let’s go to our three actions.

Claudia R E:  16:20  Action number one, find out in your country what’s happening to Global Fund. Lobby your government to do their part in the replenishment by raising your voice. Find out more at

Edie Lush: 16:34   Action number two, do something yourself. Support our partner Malaria no more by buying a bed net. You can find their website in a link in our show notes

Claudia R E:  16:45   Support our partner Product Red by buying one of the red products. Very cool. All of them. Every dollar you spend helps save a life.

Edie Lush: 16:59   And that’s the Global GoalsCast for this episode. Don’t forget to subscribe on apple or wherever. Get your podcasts and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I’m Edie Lush.

Claudia R E:   17:13    I’m Claudia Romo Edelman. Thank you so much for listening.

Edie Lush: 17:16  Adios

Michelle C:   17:21  Music in this episode was by Andrew Philips, Angelica Garcia, Simon James, Katie Crone, Amy Edwards, Ashish Pillowall ,Alex Vallejo and Ellis. This episode was made possible thanks to the support of Mastercard, CBS News digital, and Harman, the official sound of global goals cast. This episode would not have been possible without Keith Reynolds, founder and president of Spoke Media who lent us his ear.


AI for the Sustainable Development Goals


How will Artificial Intelligence shape the next decade? Will this revolution be a positive force, spurring global growth and improving lives around the world? Or will the benefits flow heavily to those who already have the knowledge and wealth to use these revolutionary technologies?

Edie Lush and Claudia Romo Edelman pursue those questions around the world. They speak to an author of a major United Nation’s report who says that AI will spur global growth more than earlier innovations like steam power. But who benefits from that growth will be shaped by how well Africa, Latin America and the rest of the Global South absorb and adapt these powerful tools and manage the inevitable disruptions to work. “In some ways, the Luddites weren’t wrong,” says the co author of the report, Michael Chui of McKinsey.  In other words, AI can either help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals or move them out of reach.

To understand what is already being done in Africa, Edie and Claudia speak with two African experts, Nathalie Munyampenda of the Next Einstein Foundation and Abdigani Diriye from IBM Research in Nairobi. They stress the importance of Africans developing African solutions to solve Africa’s challenges. “The conversation really needs to be around how we can effectively use artificial intelligence to improve the human condition and how we can prepare ourselves and the next generation,” says Diriye.

Two special guests cite one basic challenge: inclusion. Christopher Fabian, innovation expert from UNICEF, and Rosemary Leith of the World Wide Web Foundation, note that half the world is not yet on the internet. Those who are not connected do not and will not have access to the powers of AI.

This episode also features a conversation about the gig economy with Jennifer Rademaker, Executive Vice President of Global Customer Delivery at Mastercard, the sponsor of Season Two of the Global GoalsCast.

Special Guest Julia Streets, a comic in London and host of the DiverCity Podcast, recommends facts and actions for this episode. You will also hear from Ann Cairns, the executive vice chair of MasterCard, sponsor of this season of The Global GoalsCast. A research engineer, she was the first woman to work an oil rig in the North Sea.

Edie and Claudia also try their hand at comedy, which is why they are sticking to podcasting.

Featured guests

Abdigani Diriye

Abdigani Diriye is from Somalia and did his schooling in the UK where his curiosity led him to the sciences. Currently, as Research Manager with IBMResearch Africa, Abdigani’s team is developing new approaches to securely mine, model and score individuals who are applying for a loan  identifying the right amount of credit and appropriate products. Last year, they developed a machine learning approach that leverages new data sources (mobile phone behavior) to evaluate the financial profile and credit score of hundreds of millions of people in Africa. This technology was deployed in East Africa and now is being used to credit score millions of people so they can access financial services through their phone. He is also currently working on conversational agents and deep learning techniques to personalize content relevant to people’s context. He is a Fellow with the Next Einstein Forum and believes science, technology, mathematics and engineering are fundamental to addressing the challenges facing Africa.

Michael Chui

Dr. Michael Chui is a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), McKinsey’s business and economics research arm. He leads research on the impact of disruptive technologies and innovation on business, the economy, and society. Michael has led McKinsey research in such areas as data & analytics, social & collaboration technologies, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence, robotics & automation. Michael is a frequent speaker at major global conferences, and his research has been cited in leading publications around the world. As a McKinsey consultant, Michael served clients in the high-tech, media, and telecom industries on strategy, innovation and product development, IT, sales and marketing, M&A, and organization. He is also a member of the board of Asia Society Northern California and the Churchill Club.

Nathalie Munyampenda

Nathalie Munyampenda is the NEF’s Managing Director. She ensures the smooth implementation of the NEF impact work plan and provides day to day leadership of the NEF team. Nathalie also manages donor relations and resource mobilization, and leads the NEF’s communications and public engagement efforts. Prior to joining the NEF, Nathalie worked in the Canadian public service and international social media consulting before working to build the Government of Rwanda’s central communication unit as coordinator in the Office of the Government Spokesperson. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Development and Globalization from the University of Ottawa and is currently completing a Master’s degree in Strategic Communications from Seton Hall University.

Rosemary Leith

Rosemary Leith is Founding Director of the World Wide Web Foundation.  She is a Non-Executive Director of YouGov plc, an international online Market Research and Data Analytics company, and also currently advises and invests in a number of technology businesses in Europe and North America including those operating in the Data Analytics, Internet of Things and Financial Technology arenas. She is a Trustee of the National Gallery (London) and a Fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, most recently authoring an Executive Education Course for Board Chairs and Non-Executive Directors on CyberSecurity. She has been the Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of Internet Security and is a member of the Advisory Boards of Infinite Analytics (Boston and Mumbai), Glasswing Capital (Boston), a Member of Raspberry Pi Foundation (overseeing commercial operations of Raspberry Pi), Queen’s University School of Business, Canada, Wolfson College, Oxford and University of the Arts London. 

Chris Fabian

Christopher Fabian co-created and has co-lead UNICEF’s Innovation Unit in New York since 2007. Working with UNICEF’s 135 country offices, the Innovation Unit’s research and development priorities focus on near-term challenges in the world’s most difficult operating environments. The Unit also crafts strategic options for innovation on a three-to-five year horizon. The Unit’s accomplishments have garnered global recognition, notably: Top 50 Innovations of 2011 from Time Magazine, and, in 2012, gold and silver IDSA awards, and a Redhat prize for being one of the three top open source projects.  Christopher believes that technology is not the end-product of innovation, but a principal driver of new ways of thinking about development problems. The Unit’s commitment to open-source engagements, determination to learn from failure, and realization that local talent must be front-and-center in creating successful local solutions has positioned UNICEF as a global leader in innovation.

Jennifer Rademaker

Jennifer Rademaker is Executive Vice President, Global Customer Delivery for Mastercard. In this role, she is responsible for the end-to-end technical implementation of Mastercard’s products and services worldwide, including leading the Product Delivery, Market Delivery, Product Integration, Customer Implementation Support, and Technical Account Management teams in North America, Europe, Latin America, Middle East & Africa, and Asia Pacific. In her previous role, Jennifer was responsible for the Product Sales, Product Delivery and Technology Account Management teams in the United States and Canada.  Prior to joining the North American Market, she led the Core Products group for MasterCard Europe.

This episode was made possible thanks to the support of


Abdigani Diriye:  00:01 I think the conversation really needs to be around how we can effectively use artificial intelligence to increase the human condition and how we can prepare ourselves and the next generation.

Michael Chui:  00:16 Populations of software engineers, data scientists is often overly male and pale and so that population developing the systems can have blind spots in terms of the systems that they create.

Chris Fabian:   00:27 We can pull a school out of a satellite image, for example, in in Liberia where we can see through machine learning where schools are and that lets us understand where to send equipment, supplies, material and teachers in a way that we wouldn’t if we didn’t have that data.

Rosemary Leith:  00:40  Inclusion is in every single Sustainable Development Goal.

Edie Lush:  00:50 This is the Global GoalsCast, the podcast that shows how we can change the world.

Claudia R E:  00:56   This episode, the revolution in artificial intelligence and what it means for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Edie Lush:   01:02 This is an important topic. In just the past few months we have heard warnings that artificial intelligence could derail efforts to achieve the SDGs,

Claudia R E: 01:11   But whether that happens is really up to all of us, which is what we will discuss precisely in this episode right after we thank the sponsors whose intelligence makes it possible for us to be here.

Edie Lush:   01:28  This episode is sponsored by Mastercard. Stay tuned later for an interview with Jennifer Rademaker, Executive Vice President of Global Customer Delivery at Mastercard. She’s going to share some stories of how Mastercard is working to bring financial inclusion

Claudia R E: 01:43  And also thanks to CBS News Digital and to Harmon, the official sound of the Global GoalsCast.

Claudia R E: 01:53  Welcome back to the Global GoalsCast. I am Claudia Romo Edelman

Edie Lush: 01:56  And I’m Edie Lush. We’ve been hearing a lot about artificial intelligence, surgery by robots, pizzas by drone, payment by facial recognition, even music. In fact, we’re talking over an AI created track right now from a company called Jukedeck, which offers this service to podcasters. But a lot of the conversation I’ve heard has been from a very global north perspective

Claudia R E: 02:24 Dating apps and food delivery really are first world uses, don’t you think Edie? But both the challenges and the opportunities of AI are global.

Edie Lush:  02:32   In fact, we decided to do this episode after a global report warned there could be worsening inequality both within countries and between countries as a result of AI, unless artificial intelligence and its uses are integrated into countries in the global south, not just the highly developed tech savvy countries of the global north.

Claudia R E:  02:55  You interviewed one of the authors of that report didn’t you Edie?

Edie Lush: 02:58   Yes. Michael Chui and we’re going to hear from him later. I also spoke to my friend Rosemary Leith. She’s the co-director of the Worldwide Web foundation along with her husband Sir Tim Berners Lee, who invented The Web. Later we’re going to hear her boil down to one word the challenge of achieving the SDG’s in the age of AI and Claudia, you are going to like this word.

Claudia R E:  03:21  Oh, what is that word then?

Edie Lush: 03:22  The word is inclusion.

Claudia R E:  03:23  Oh yeah, and as we say, here are the global goalscast the world is already diverse. We just need to make it more inclusive in order to achieve equity.

Edie Lush: 03:32   Exactly and in AI that means getting out of Silicon Valley to find out how things look from other perspectives. To do this. I sought out two experts in Africa.

Nathalie M:  03:45 A lot of the discussion around the SDG’s is how do we help Africa’s cheapest cities, but there’s a lot of very innovative and interesting things that are happening on the continent and because the continent does not suffer from legacy systems, there is really an opportunity to have immediate impact.

Edie Lush: 03:59  That is Natalie Munyampenda, who is managing director of the Next Einstein Forum. They believe the next Einstein will be from Africa and they’re doing everything they can through education and training to make that happen. She really emphasized the importance of solutions developed in Africa by Africans for African challenges. She introduced me to Abdigani Diriye who works at the IBM research lab in Nairobi and he captured the difference between how AI is often talked about in the global, north and south.

Abdigani Diriye: 04:34  I think the conversation really needs to be around how we can effectively use artificial intelligence to improve the human condition and how we can prepare ourselves and the next generation. I think that the impending problem of premature de-Industrialization is one that I think the continent has to definitely be mindful and keep a very close eye on simply because as we jump from industrialization straight into services automation becomes ever more possible.

Claudia R E:  05:12   Edie. That’s a new phrase to me. Premature de-industrialization, that means wiping out industrial jobs before a country’s ready for the transition. Is that correct?

Edie Lush: 05:21  Yes. It’s a challenge everywhere, but it presents specific challenges in Africa. As Natalie explained

Nathalie M:    05:28  We have to be thinking about the future of work and so will we need 500 plumbers in the future. So there are many things that we need to be thinking about today, but from a more a holistic system. So if Rwanda decides that it’s going to specialize in high end research in healthcare, what does the type of engineers the the amount of engineers you will need thethe specialized researchers, you will need all the other parts and saying, okay, which part of this will be disrupted by AI if we look at it from a global perspective? I think finally, from my perspective, there really needs to be, sometimes governments can be overwhelmed on the content because you’re receiving feedback from the IMF, you’re receiving feedback from the World Bank, everybody’s telling you how you should be doing your business.

Abdigani Diriye:  06:09  It’s almost like we’re trying to prevent something that’s impending. Right? You know that automation is happening, but we can definitely change how fast and we can also choose how we can upskill our people so they can go on and be productive members of society

Edie Lush:  06:29  More than anything Abdigani and Nathalie stressed the importance of integrating advanced thinking about AI into all of what they called Africa’s grand challenges from education, water use, to energy, healthcare and financial inclusion

New Speaker: 06:44  And in fact didn’t that global report say that AI will affect every one of the Sustainable Development Goals one way or the other.

Edie Lush:    06:50  It is one of those disruptive challenges that touches on everything else. It seemed to me quite similar in the way to climate change. Unless you address it, you can say farewell to achieving the Global Goals.

New Speaker:  07:04 This report was from one of the UN specialized agencies that you don’t hear a lot from, the ITU or International Technological Union – a powerful group that sets specs for communications and Internet technology. They, the ITU, commissioned Mckinsey, the consulting firm to look at how AI will ripple through the global economy.

Edie Lush:  07:24   I spoke with one of the authors, Michael Chui from the San Francisco Mckinsey Office.

Michael Chui: 07:32   We’ve discovered as we’ve done research on AI just its potential. Certainly across every country for every worker, for every person, for every citizen and every industry and across all the SDG’s, we looked at over 160 different potential use cases of artificial intelligence and actually there are some use cases that map to each one of the Sustainable Development Goals – there’s everything from disaster relief, to public health, to improving education, to improving the effectiveness of infrastructure and so there is the potential for that to happen. There are certainly places where you can intentionally point this tool to try to address a real problem. How can we actually identify a cure for a disease for which we don’t have a cure right now that’s the intentionality of where you’re using these technologies. But there’s also a secondary and tertiary effects of deploying these technologies potentially, for instance, trying to improve the productivity of a manufacturing environment, trying to improve their productivity of a bank for instance. In the process of doing that, you might actually change all kinds of things about people’s lives. You know, the types of work there is, the types of jobs there are, the degree to which, you know, some people get paid more, some people get paid less. Even though you’ve pointed, the tool are trying to do something that you believe is good for the economy, good for society, you might have these secondary effects. And, and again, we, we need to be able to identify those effects and mitigate or manage them so that in fact we can achieve the SDG’s

Edie Lush: 09:01  Chui says there’s already a gap between those better prepared to use AI and those that aren’t.

Michael Chui:  09:06  The leading countries, which in our modeling are the richer countries let’s say, there are a few things going on. One of them is they tend to be more prepared to deploy AI technologies. So whether that’s infrastructure or whether that’s the ability to pay for the investments that have to be made, whether it’s the level of human capital which is more educated and therefore more able to both develop as well as take advantage of these technologies, are a set of foundational things which will make it more possible for AI to be used in a more of the developed world.

Edie Lush:  09:37  So what do you think a developing country should do?

Michael Chui: 09:42  As long as you have access to connectivity and know we’re seeing more and more conductivity in the developing world. It is possible to actually access lots of computing power as long as you can pay for it. Lots of storage, more data. And in fact these software tools that allow you to do machine learning and do AI, you definitely have to have the infrastructure in place that’s important to invest in. You’d also need to have the human talent. And so how you can both invest and import the type of human talent. And develop that human talent through education, training, etcetera, that creates some of the fundamentals necessary in order to capture value from AI. And then to just being intentional again about uh, investing in ways in which you could actually produce the greatest good. Certainly some of them are going to be around how can you intentionally try to move the needle on the SDG’s. There are different ways to do that of course. Right and if you look at some of the prosperity metrics, you know, some of those things are going to be how do you improve the economy as well.

Edie Lush:  10:39  Let me read from the report where you say that job disruption, breakup of old business models and other negative externalities may create the risk of a societal backlash against AI that could limit the full potential anticipated from these technologies. What do you think this backlash might look like?

Michael Chui:  11:00   It’s worth reflecting on the fact that you know, through any of these technology enabled changes through history, it’s actually been true that they do cause disruption, difficulty and real challenge for people. And I don’t think we should ignore or sugarcoat that. We hear people make fun of the Luddites, right? When the stocking loom was there. When you think, oh, these are the people who trying to hold back progress, but in some ways the Ludditews weren’t wrong. During that time period. In fact, significant populations actually saw their income stagnate for decades. Their concerns were real.

Edie Lush:  11:33  I do love the comparison with the Luddites. They were very effective at their time, smashing machines that were taking their jobs. But imagine if they had Twitter. Today, political movements move between the first tool and the physical world seamlessly and nearly immediately. In fact, the UN report warns about backlash, political opposition that could delay or derail the use of AI, which is why Chui says the disruptions must be anticipated and addressed.

Michael Chui: 12:03  Some of the impact will be on workers and I think a lot of workers will have to change what they do over time. Every worker does a whole bunch of different activities and so oftentimes you know, it’s very unlikely that you could actually drop in an AI system and it will do everything that a person did in their job. More likely what happens is individual activities, that someone did in their job, potentially are either done by or enhanced by these AI technologies and that’s what we’ve seen in history as well. There’s a great planet money podcast about, you know, the invention of the spreadsheet for instance. Right, and you know everyone who uses spreadsheet now, their job titles existed before. They’re just doing different things. And what that means is that individual workers will have to have more digital skills, more data skills, be able to understand, you know, work side by side with machines. Every worker I think will increasingly need to be able to use or leverage this technology in in their roles. I think one of the grand challenges for the next couple of decades as a result of these technologies, whether it’s at the sub occupation level or literally at displacing people right out of their role is how do we help transition people? At a very large scale for one set of jobs occupations to other ones. And some of that is a technical question about retraining. Some of it is an economic question about how do we actually allow people to support themselves and their families, potentially as they’re spending time trying to train. This question of diversity and inclusion takes a few related forms. One is, as a friend of mine says, you know, the populations of software engineers, data scientists is often overly male and pale and so that population developing the systems can have blind spots in terms of the systems that they create, that really should be addressed. There was a story that hit the headlines recently, where a tech company was trying to use a system to identify from resume screening who were the most likely to succeed within the organization and they used data around the performance of their existing employees in order to say, well look, maybe you know, the system can extract the characteristics of people who are higher up in the organization who have been more successful in the organization. But what that embedded in that data was gender bias. And in fact, you know there were more males, you know, higher up in the organization and so as a result of that data, you actually saw biases in the system that was there by training. And so if you look at all of these things, I think there are real challenges both in the diversity and inclusion of the people developing the systems as well as the data that’s being used to train them.

Claudia R E: 14:41  If you want to find that report, check out our website for a link. When we come back from the break, we’re going to talk about inclusion in a way you may not be used to. Globally, half the world isn’t really included yet, according to a sophisticated digital thinker, Rosemary Leith of the worldwide Web Foundation. But first let’s hear from another very cool woman from Mastercard, the sponsor of season two of the Global GoalsCast.

Jennifer R: 15:13  My name is Jennifer Rademaker and I’m the executive vice president of Global Customer Delivery at Mastercard. I am also the financial inclusion executive sponsor for North America in our business.

Edie Lush:  15:29  What does that mean?

Jennifer R:  15:30   That’s my side Gig. I raised my hand to be the internal champion in North America of the work that we’re doing in inclusive growth, reaching the citizens in, in North America who are struggling financially. We decided that we really wanted to do a pulse check to really learn what some of the challenges were that the American consumer was facing. We went out to Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio, and we interviewed a whole bunch of consumers that were participating in the Gig economy. Griffith works at a medical industry startup. Because it’s a startup and he’s one of the principlas, he doesn’t earn any money in this startup, but while he pursues this medical startup, he’s got to patch together his income. And so Griffith works three different gigs. He drives a limo, he does package delivery, and then he is a pub trivia host. He’s got a very complicated situation in terms of income, but he has met that challenge through a very complicated budgeting process using envelopes. So Griffith has about 15 different paper envelopes, one for each outgoing expense. So, he’s got an envelope for his, his cell phone bill. He’s got an envelope for his rent. He’s got an envelope for food, he’s got an envelope for healthcare, etcetera, right? And he knows, you know, how much he needs to fill each envelope and he keeps track of how full the envelope is with a little yellow post it on the outside of each envelope. So anyway, when we met Griffith and we saw all these envelopes, I thought, uh, there’s gotta be a better way to do this.

Edie Lush: 17:19  I asked Jennifer what Mastercard is doing to help people like Griffith.

Jennifer R:  17:23  We have an APP that we’ve been piloting that allows consumers to track multiple sources of income. We’re piloting this, for example, with So, the workers can track what money they’re earning through the platform and then it allows them to allocate, the money that comes in to different virtual envelopes to save for the fixed expenses that they will have later in the month.

Claudia R E:  18:01 Welcome back. Jennifer will join us later to share another story of a real person whose experience helped shape Mastercard’s products. Edie, one thing I notice in your conversation is that you cannot really separate the discussion of artificial intelligence from the broader topic of the Internet and the worldwide web. The web is where people will find the software to power AI and the data to train intelligent machines.

Edie Lush: 18:32  Exactly. If you can’t even get on the Internet, you can’t begin to use these technologies, which is why I spoke to Rosemary Leith, the cofounder of the Worldwide Web Foundation.

Rosemary Leith: 18:47 Inclusion is in every single Sustainable Development Goal. It’s embedded in all of the SDGs. I believe that one of the biggest barriers to the benefits of digital technologies being spread more widely is the lack of basic web access. Goal nine says that we should have universal and affordable access to the Internet by 2020. Clearly, we’re far from meeting this target. We just crossed the 50% threshold and that means that 50% of the world is on the Web, but the Web Foundation research suggests we’re unlikely to get close to universal access until around 2050 and what worries me is that the latest data suggests that progress on the affordability in low income countries is reversing. Lack of affordability is the key thing that we really need to tackle. Data is ju,st too expensive in the latest review of prices in low and middle income countries shows that it costs almost 6% of a person’s average monthly income just to buy one gigabyte of data, which is well above the UN broadband commissions threshold of 2%. In Africa, the average is 9.2% of monthly income

Edie Lush:  20:13  Cutting the cost of data sounds kind of esoteric. It’s a lot easier to imagine through some of the specific suggestions that Rosemary made, like building mobile phone mast, which several telecoms then share; or encouraging smaller Internet providers and even community networks and building more libraries, school and community centers where everyone can get online.

Rosemary Leith:  20:36  One thing I think a lot about is gender exclusion. There really is a stark digital gender divide. We’re never going to get close to the universal access as long as women continue to lag behind men in access and use. What’s required are targeted solutions to improve access for women. That includes subsidies for devices and internet plans and skills and training.

Edie Lush:  21:04  We’ve talked about this digital gender gap in earlier episodes Claudia, remember that family of 16 people in Afghanistan in our episode last season about vaccines and trust?

New Speaker:  21:15  Oh yeah.

Edie Lush:  21:15  The only person who had a mobile phone was the grandfather. That’s what Rosemary Leith is talking about. That’s why men are 25% more likely to have digital access than women. So, let’s look at that question about web access. Most people I know probably don’t realize that half the world isn’t even on the worldwide web, is addressing that a necessary precondition to the rest of the inclusion conversation?

Rosemary Leith:  21:45  We need to speed up the rate at which people are coming online. We need to remove the barriers to affordability and we need to ensure that markets for data remain open and compatitive. We need to make sure that those who are traditionally excluded: women, poor people and those living in rural areas are able to get online and we need to make sure people have digital literacy skills necessary to use this digital technology. As a majority of the global population comes online, the web population inevitably becomes more international and more diverse. So it’s important that these people are able to be creators as well as the consumers of the web so that the web’s content is as diverse as its users.

Claudia R E: 22:36  That seems like a good point to go back to our AI expert in Africa. Here we give you Abdigani Diriye from IBM.

Abdigani Diriye: 22:43 We don’t suffer the same legacy systems that a number of countries face, which really allows us to come up with new ways of addressing problems. So, one project that my colleagues and I have been working on is figuring out how we can go about profiling individuals based on non alternative data. So you can think of this as data that maybe is on social media or on your phone to enable people to not just create an identity for themselves but also access financial services. So this type of technology has been used to extend credit to tens of millions of people on the continent. So this is technology that in a lot of continents wouldn’t be deployed simply because there are legacy systems in place.

Edie Lush:  23:36  Some people in the global north might be uneasy about scraping Facebook to establish credit ratings. But Natalie gave us an example of a project in Africa that’s about to move to the US.

Nathalie M: 23:47  In Rwanda, for example, the Zipline was able to stay luck. We’re pilot a drone for blood and medical supplies to be able to reach the remotest parts of the country and remote hospitals where the rodes were not working well. And so they were able to scale that up. So they scaled up to one country, it didn’t work and they scaled up to another country, it worked. So they went from Rwanda, first country they went to, it didn’t work because of regulation, because of slowness of government. Where was that? That you’re going to get me into trouble, but that’s Tanzania.

Edie Lush: 24:16  Ok

Nathalie M:  24:16   So they want to Tanzania, it didn’t work out. They now are in Ghana and they have actually, what we call reverse innovation. They’ve actually gone back to the US. I believe they’ve already started some work in some parts of the US. Uh, so I think there are absolute definite opportunities.

Edie Lush: 24:31  Because of what they were able to demonstrate in Rwanda and Ghana Zipline is due to start medical deliveries by drone in North Carolina in June. Abdigani told me about other projects IBM research has developed in Africa that will also benefit my home state of California, stopping my mom’s house from burning down

Claudia R E: 24:49  Which is always a good thing.

Abdigani Diriye: 24:51  There currently is one project that is running at the lab called ‘Kenya RAPID’ And it stands for Kenya’s arid semi arid lands program and the objective of this program is to enable better access to data in regions that have traditionally suffered from droughts. So we’ve been deploying this and testing this in northern Kenya with several counties. And the just of the technology that we’ve developed is a water management platform that aggregates IOT data and is able to identify when a particular borehole is likely to fail. So that would allow county offices in the region to act ahead of time and address those mechanical issues. We’re also leveraging this data to help planning, so they’re able to identify and plan for the year ahead in terms of how much water they’re citizens and the wildlife around them would need. So this program has been running for about three years. Also undertaking a project that now tries to take what we’ve been doing here in Africa and reverse that and take it to the west. So there’s a project in California that tries to apply a lot of the techniques in the Kenya RAPID Project and leverage our water management platform to try and address the problem of water scarcity in California. So that’s a proud moment for us because not only does it show that our technology is being tested and leveraged, but also it can not only address Africa’s problems, but the problems facing the whole world.

Claudia R E: 26:35  Local people applying their knowledge to local issues. It is time for wrap. You usually just get Edie and I, witty, smart, and even sometimes well informed; but in this episode we want to try something very special. Someone who actually knows what he’s talking about and leading it. He’s a good friend and a great talent. His name is Chris Fabian, Senior Advisor on Innovation to the Executive Director of UNICEF. Welcome Chris.

Chris Fabian: 27:08  Hi Claudia. Thanks so much.

Claudia R E:  27:09  You’re all the way from Geneva, right?

Chris Fabian: 27:11  Yeah, I’ve just landed here, um, actually to talk about issues of artificial intelligence and connectivity, so the timing couldn’t be better.

Edie Lush: 27:18  What is UNICEF doing to be involved in this debate?

Claudia R E: 27:21  UNICEF has been involved in technology and looking at how we can use technology to serve children better for many years. And it seems to us as we’re entering this world of new data and new algorithms that can do things at increasingly accelerated speeds, that we have an opportunity to take advantage of them and use them to do things like understand where nutrition might be a problem or where after an emergency we need to send our disaster supplies. I’ll give you a really clear example in my mind of an opportunity, which is that during the recent Zika crisis in central and South America, we were able to start using data from a bunch of different companies, data about where people were moving and what type of phones they were using and how and use that to calculate the risks of exposure to this disease. And that was something that was previously impossible. We were able to do in real time what would normally take months or even years to do with paper surveys. And you can imagine doing the same thing during the Ebola response. And in fact we did start getting data from network operators in West Africa that allowed us to see where people were moving and then where the disease was moving. But the problem is that while it’s easy to apply those techniques in a very developed area with a lot of connectivity in Geneva, or in New York, if you’re looking at eastern DR Congo in the Far East, there’s very, very little signal. And so we have a responsibility to make sure that we’re getting that data and that we’re working with companies in new ways.

Claudia R E:  28:39   One of the big red flags that I have is how AI particularly could accent with exclusion.

Chris Fabian:  28:48   This is the thing that worries me most, which is that we get a set of policy and guidance developed by a bunch of white men in Silicon Valley that tries to speak to world

Edie Lush:  28:57  I think Michael Chui called a male and Pale.

Chris Fabian: 29:00  There you go. I’ll steal that. You know, four out of five jobs that will be lost due to automation will be jobs that women hold. And that’s because the automation is automating these things that are at the furthest removed from a densely packed urban environment. And it’s just augmenting and reinforcing the bias that we see already. And that’s really troubling. That only thing that I mean I see as a very basic pointer is that we have to develop the technology and the skills everywhere. It can’t just be the domain of a few cities, a few countries, or a few types of people. And in order to develop artificial intelligence and the technologies around it, you need connectivity. And we live in a world where there are huge gaps in connectivity for communities and for people. And not only do they not have access to the right tools for them, there’s just zero kilobytes at all. And so another thing that I’m very excited to be discussing here in Geneva over the next few days is how we can start looking at creating that global connectivity and whether it’s the, the local mesh networks that we heard about earlier or just making sure that we can do advanced market commitments in market shaping with big connectivity budgets.

Edie Lush:  30:05  Wait. What’s a mesh network?

Chris Fabian:  30:05 So a mesh network is this i-, I like it because it just sort of esoteric and anarchist vision of the Internet, which I approve of in in some deep personal sense. But a Mesh network, you can think about it like a little mini Internet, an Internet where people are connected to each other dynamically, where they don’t have to connect necessarily to the big internet, but you could have a mesh network for your village or if you’re on a boat, you can have everybody sharing the same small set of information and then eventually when you connect to the big internet you can share back and forth, but it gives you much of the capacity, like a local library or a local cache of the internet and those types of solutions are being developed in places where you don’t necessarily have the big connectivity providers coming in.

Claudia R E: 30:46  I was just coming back yesterday from China and I went to visit with my children and my husband an AI accelerator, the largest actually in Shanghai, of, a set up by a guy called Kai-Fung Lee, who, uh, ran Google and it used to be, you know, Microsoft. He did his PHD on artificial intelligence 20 years ago and was really interesting to have a sense of how China has got a plan for AI and is committed AI development at not only at the governmental level but also at the foreign affairs label because they are also heavily investing in Africa in order to develop that. A red flag that I got from there, is that how we will have two parallel worlds, where you have China having a set of data and developing artificial intelligence with no connection to the West for example.

Chris Fabian: 31:36  When I talked to Kai-Fu in New York a few months ago, he was also talking about these two worlds and I think that it really comes down to the need to develop models and algorithms and all of the kind of funny complex math that you can put on this data in a way that’s open and public and principle based and that can be done regardless of where that’s being, where it’s being developed and it’s important for many reasons. I’ll just give you like maybe two examples of where we see this having a huge potential. The ability to apply complicated math to sort of large, large amounts of data. One is in the space of education and clearly whether it’s in western China or east Africa or anywhere else in the world, the ability to provide a kid with the right material at the right time and have them interact with it individually is what differentiates a good learning experience from a bad one, among many other things. And the ability to use data and understand what’s needed and when is extremely powerful. One other example is in the space of identity, we’re seeing face recognition now increasingly ubiquitously used through airports across the world and that relies on machine learning, and we know that if there’s bias in there, there’s a problem. And if there are algorithms that can’t see people of certain races, that’s a problem. But that same technology is something that we’re using to detect schools. So in the same way that you can detect a face and an image of a lot of people, we can pull a school out of a satellite image for example, in, in Liberia where we can see through machine learning where schools are. And that lets us understand where to send equipment, supplies, material and teachers in a way that we wouldn’t if we didn’t have that data. So, I think Kai-Fu is correct. There is a big danger of two worlds. I’m not sure that those two worlds are China and the rest of the world. I think they’re very clearly the world of the wealthy and the world of the poor. Without connectivity, the whole SDG circle with all the different pieces on the side, that whole thing is missing something in the middle. And it is, there’s a hole in it. And if we don’t connect young people to access to information and opportunity to learn maths, English, literature, whatever, they cannot produce the right data and the right models for AI. And so to me that’s sort of foundational, is making sure that opportunity is spread equally. Uh, which which it isn’t right now. If you look at the map of broadband connectivity and good connectivity, it’s exactly the opposite of the map of high school dropouts where there is connectivity, there are fewer dropouts. We know that connectivity provides access to opportunity and choice and there are a lot of scary things on the Internet too, but fundamentally if we don’t have a diverse set of users and creators, programmers making this stuff, we’re going to end up in a world that’s even more separated than it is now and that’s a chilling potential future.

Claudia R E:  34:12  Thank you so much Chris Fabian, Senior Advisor in Innovation to the Executive Director at UNICEF for being here with us.

Chris Fabian:  34:19   Thanks, both of you. It’s really been a pleasure and it’s been a lot of fun as well. Before I go, I wanted to give the audience a few facts, really three of them so that they can look smart in front of the mother in law, father in law or whoever else at dinner and also three actions they can take to learn a bit more about artificial intelligence. The first fun fact, which will also make you sound a bit pedantic, is that you can keep repeating, there’s no such thing as true artificial intelligence, there’s a lot of complicated math on even more big data, but it’s not yet in the realm of science fiction, not yet. The second fact is that governments are increasingly creating ministers of artificial intelligence or other roles at that level, to engage with companies and technology makers even better and if governments are starting to set up these types of very serious engagements, it would probably do us well to follow along.

Speaker 14:  35:11  And the third fun fact, well this one’s not so fun, but something to remember is that for all the benefits of automation and artificial intelligence, they will take away four jobs from women for every one job that’s automated away from a man. I also wanted to give you three things to do to learn a little bit more. First of all, please, if you haven’t signed up for Finland’s online course on artificial intelligence, it’s called ‘Elements of AI’ and you can find it through a quick Google search. Second, come and follow us and our team online at UNICEF Innovate. You can find us on Twitter, on Instagram and elsewhere on the Internet. And finally if you’d like a bit more of a thoughtful take on some of the effects of artificial intelligence on the world’s poorest people, please take a read of Virginia Eubanks book ‘Automating Inequality’, which is available in print or on a kindle edition. Thanks a lot. It’s really been a pleasure and I’m happy to have been able to share those tidbits of where to look next and look forward to talking again in the future.

Claudia R E:  36:16 And before we go, let’s hear the second half of Edie’s conversation with Jennifer Rademaker, Executive Vice President of Global Customer Delivery at Mastercard. In this one we will hear a story about another one of the people making their leading via the gig economy and how Mastercard is helping people manage the challenges that income stream brings.

Jennifer R:  36:43 Shelly lives in Columbus, Ohio. She is very well educated. She has a masters in journalism from NYU, but she lost her job a couple of years ago and so she and her husband and her small three year old daughter had to move back in with her parents. Shelly realized pretty quickly that somebody in the family needed to have a more formal employment so that they could get healthcare benefits because of the little girl. So Shelly works a compressed night shift on the weekends at Amazon and she does that because Amazon has great benefits for things like health care. And so she works that job to get the health care benefits and then she drives for Uber during the rest of the week while her husband is at home with the daughter. And then when she’s at home, her husband drives for Uber as well. And he does contract work laying floors and so they’ve stitched together this quilt of income if you will. But it’s, it’s sort of a fragile situation and if you think about their, their home life, it’s not easy. Shelly and her husband never get time together because one of them is always sort of trading off looking after the daughter and they’re making just enough to get by. But thinking about Shelly and how she manages her time and how does Shelly get any joy in her life?

Edie Lush:  38:15 What products come to mind when you think about Shelly that helped her?

Jennifer R:  38:19 It’s really the just-in-time payment because her Amazon work is on a paycheck, so she has some sort of regular cadence of income there, but if she wants to buy birthday presents for her daughter and there’s an extra expense for her, being able to draw down the money when she needs it and not have to wait for the Amazon check to come through was really important. The other thing that has really been sparked by Shelly, we have an educational program that we offer free to community partners around the United States called ‘Master Your Card’. What we started to think a lot about is educating consumers on their rights and how to navigate this new world of finances because Shelly’s real cry for help was no education, “I got no advice that my parents ever gave me that prepared me for the financial situation that I’m in right now”, but you know, certainly we are thinking through the kinds of educational tools that consumers might need to help them have the skills to succeed in this new paradigm.

Edie Lush:  39:35 Thanks to Jennifer Rademaker and Mastercard for sharing those stories with us and to the rest of our guests in this episode, Chris Fabian especially for joining us on the wrap, you can find out more about all of them on our website: and we’re going to invite you once again to like us and subscribe wherever you listen and to follow us on every single form of social media at Global GoalsCast. I’m Edie Lush and I’m Claudia Romo Edelman. Today’s April’s fool, but we’re not fooling you, we will see you next time.

Credits: 40:16 Music in this episode was by Neil Hale, Andrew Phillips, Angelica Garcia, Simon James and Katie Crown. This episode was made possible thanks to the support of Mastercard, CBS News, digital and Harmon. The official sound of Global GoalsCast. This episode would not have been possible without Keith Reynolds founder and president of Spoke Media who lent us his ea