Doing Well by Doing Good for the World

In The News Piece in Boston Globe
Sept. 21, 2016

Bretton Woods II and its "Trillion Dollar Challenge" were both featured in an article by the Boston Globe editorial board:

In his final address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Obama said a root cause of global crisis is “a world in which 1 percent of humanity controls as much wealth as the other 99 percent.” He’s right to call on advanced economies to invest more in poor ones – and not only to improve health, governance, and opportunity far from home. Doing so also builds markets for exports and prevents states from collapsing into war and chaos, averting far-reaching ripple effects like refugee crises and extremism. But as Obama admitted, it’s tough politically to boost foreign aid when there’s always need at home.

So what if large private investors leveraged trillions of dollars under their management — far more than the richest countries or foundations have at their disposal — to do good for the world while doing well for their clients? That’s the idea behind an exciting initiative launched on the sidelines of the UN confab this week, one with the potential to do more to end poverty, boost well-being, and improve the environment than any UN resolution or aid program.

The “Trillion Dollar Challenge” kicked off by the State Department and Bretton Woods II is a public-private partnership to mobilize some of the $25 trillion controlled by the world’s largest asset owners — pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and endowments — into infrastructure, food security, green energy, good governance, and more, accruing benefits far away and close to home. Just 1 percent of that is $250 billion, or six times USAID’s annual budget. The idea is to direct investment capital toward achieving the 17 sustainable development goals — concrete targets including ending poverty by 2030 — that the UN agreed upon a year ago.