Putting People and Planet Before Profits: A Q&A With Martin Dietrich Brauch

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Money makes the world go round, as we’ve all heard too many times. Money is also making the planet warmer — via fossil fuel subsidies, payouts to politicians, funding of misinformation campaigns, and fueling our fossil addiction. And money will be a major part of the solution to climate change. The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) realizes this and is working on promoting investment practices and governance that help the planet and its people, rather than harming it.

Martin Dietrich Brauch is senior legal and economics researcher at CCSI, where he helps to advance policies and practices that shape investments toward sustainable development — development projects that improve human wellbeing, reduce inequalities, realize human rights, and protect the planet.

Hailing from Brazil, Brauch carries a dizzying array of degrees and specialties, including international law, investment law, environmental law, contracts, economics, and climate change. At CCSI, he focuses on investments in mining and energy in the context of climate action and other Sustainable Development Goals. He has also been instrumental in authoring several recent reports that outline ways for developing countries to transition away from fossil fuels and invest in the zero-carbon future.

In the interview below, he tells us more about his work, shares how coming from a developing country shapes his perspective, and explains how investment treaties significantly undermine climate action.

How did you find your way into the field of sustainable investment?

Martin Dietrich Brauch is senior legal and economics researcher at the Columbia Center on Sustainable…

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