Marian Fletcher of The Climate Consultancy - Carbon Literacy, Sustainability, Just Transition, Marine Conservation, Climate Anxiety and More #004

Maz Fletcher, a leading expert in sustainability and climate education in the Middle East, shares her insights on The Ethical Futurist podcast. She discusses her diverse career, which includes working with organizations such as the UN, ILO, and World Economic Forum on projects related to illegal fishing, human rights, plastic pollution, and economic diversification. Fletcher is the founder of the Climate Club, a solutions-driven social enterprise dedicated to educating and empowering individuals and organizations to adopt sustainable practices. She also serves as a board director for the marine conservation NGO Azraq, is an adjunct professor at Middlesex University Dubai, and hosts the Purpose Pods.

Sound Bites
  • “In the GCC, we have a unique opportunity to build a more equitable and inclusive future through the green transition.”
  • “The Climate Club started as a WhatsApp group and has grown into a platform for community learning and action on climate issues.”
  • “Businesses need to move beyond CSR and develop solid ESG strategies to make a real impact.”


Maz Fletcher is a leading expert in sustainability and climate education based in the Middle East. With a diverse career spanning roles at the UN, ILO, and World Economic Forum, Maz has tackled issues such as illegal fishing, human rights, plastic pollution, and economic diversification. She is the founder of the Climate Club, a social enterprise dedicated to educating and empowering individuals and organizations to adopt sustainable practices. Maz also serves as a board director for the marine conservation NGO Azraq, is an adjunct professor at Middlesex University Dubai, and hosts the Purpose Pods. Her work focuses on building frameworks for a just transition in the GCC, advocating for marine conservation, and promoting climate literacy.

Marian Fletcher
Marian Fletcher

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Thank you for listening to The Ethical Futurists podcast!

  1. 0:00 – Introduction by James Taylor and Alison Burns

  2. 1:47 – Guest introduction: Marian Fletcher

  3. 3:35 – Marian’s current focus: The Climate Club and consulting

  4. 4:22 – Top accomplishments in sustainability

  5. 5:23 – Passion for marine conservation

  6. 6:39 – UAE’s first carbon literacy course

  7. 8:09 – Audience for climate education

  8. 8:49 – The Climate Club’s community events

  9. 9:43 – Challenges in sustainability consulting

  10. 11:08 – AI and data in sustainability

  11. 11:49 – Addressing climate anxiety

  12. 13:01 – Book promotion: “Uncharted Waters” by Julie Lewis

  13. 13:37 – Key aha moments in sustainability journey

  14. 14:40 – Vision for The Climate Club’s expansion

  15. 15:18 – Quick fire round: book and podcast recommendations

  16. 18:09 – Vision for an ethical and sustainable future

  17. 18:45 – How to connect with Marian Fletcher

TEF004 Marian Fletcher.txt
James Taylor 0:00
Hi, I’m James Taylor.

And I’m Alison Burns. And together we

are The Ethical Futurists. Now, you’re listening to The Ethical Futurist podcast where we dive in to the world of sustainability, ethics, and why these ideas today are more important than ever, ever before. Now, join us as we engage with leading thinkers, with business leaders, with academics, with entrepreneurs with investors, and changemakers. To uncover the latest ideas shaping a more ethical and sustainable future. We’re going to be covering a lot of different things in this podcast as well.

Alison Burns 0:41
Indeed, from sustainability, innovation to future trends and ESG. Our conversations

James Taylor 0:48
span a wide array of topics, including renewable energy, we’re going to be looking at Clean Tech, ethical investing,

Alison Burns 0:56
food systems, and much more. Yep,

James Taylor 0:59
in each episode, we explore really crucial issues such as carbon emissions, the circular economy, we’re going to be talking about rewilding net zero carbon goals and the future of food and energy, something else and I are really passionate about.

Alison Burns 1:16
So whether you’re interested in lab grown meat, alternative proteins, sustainable finance, or climate related risk, we’ve got you covered. Or you’re looking to secure a keynote speaker who’s well versed in sustainability ESG, or any of the engaging topics featured on the ethical futures podcast. Well, look no further connect with the experts at many speakers. To book your ideal speaker today. Just

James Taylor 1:47
go to That’s Alternatively, you can drop them an email at [email protected] to book the perfect speaker for your next event. Azraq is a nonprofit marine conservation organization registered with the Community Development Authority in the UAE, and it’s on a mission to achieve cleaner, healthier and better protected oceans. Its purpose is to gather communities from right across the UAE and inspire them to make positive changes to help our ocean as racks goal is to encourage corporates schools and individual ocean ambassadors to make a big difference and spread the importance of keeping our ocean alive. If you’d like to join the UAE biggest ocean movement become a member at That’s Maz Fletcher is a leading expert in sustainability and climate education in the Middle East. Throughout her career, she has worked for organizations such as the UN, ILO and World Economic Forum on projects related to illegal fishing human rights, plastic pollution, and economic diversification. She is the founder of the climate club, a solutions driven social enterprise with a mission to educate and empower individuals and organizations to integrate sustainable practices drive positive change, and foster a future where environmental stewardship is a ubiquitous and intrinsic priority. She’s also a tick tock verified champion, board director to marine conservation NGO Azraq, adjunct professor at Middlesex University, Dubai, and host of the Purpose Pods. And Maz, welcome to The Ethical Futurists. Thank

Marian Fletcher 3:33
you. Thanks for having me.

James Taylor 3:35
So share what’s going on your world just now. What’s your focus at the moment, um, my

Marian Fletcher 3:39
focus is on building the climate cup. So I have two sides, I guess I have the club and I have the consultancy. So my my background and my trade is in management consulting. And I’ve always worked in the space of social impact and education. And I’ve worked with governments and other kind of policy side and businesses. And since leaving that world, I’ve started moving more into the NGO space. And I work with different organizations around green skills and the just transition. So that’s my consulting side. And then the club is really a kind of side project where I’m trying to build more of a community and an education space for people in the community and individuals to really learn more about climate challenges and crisis and the crisis. Well,

Alison Burns 4:22
you’re definitely my kind of person was without a doubt, you’ve done loads, and it sounds like you’re on a total motion. But what do you feel are your top accomplishments with your role as the founder and managing director of the climate consultancy?

Marian Fletcher 4:37
So I think it’s really trying to build out this new framework for the just transition in the GCC. The GCC is very unique region in the sense that there’s a lot of economic diversification projects happening here. And there’s a real push to diversify away from oil. And so there’s big changes to the economy and that means real shifts in the kind of workplace and the jobs that are created here. And with the green transition, there’s a real opportunity To build a more equitable future and an more inclusive one. And so what I’m trying to do is work with businesses and government out here to ensure that with this green transition with the shift, we’re building a workforce that works for everybody who everybody is educated and skilled and the kinds of things that they need to be skilled in, and everybody is protected as well. So that’s kind of what I’m working on that. So

James Taylor 5:23
I mentioned at the top of the show that one of your real passions is around marine conservation, we talked about illegal fishing, plastic pollution, as well. What is it about that cause in particular, resonates with you?

Marian Fletcher 5:37
To be honest, it goes back to my previous job where I worked with Sea Shepherd, who are very big organization, and we worked on a campaign around the Faroe Islands and the dolphin slaughter that goes on there. Horrendous Yes, and recognizing the critical role that these animals play in the ocean, and also learning from Sea Shepherd all of the broader problems around illegal fishing and human rights issues that go on in the ocean as well, and recognizing the importance of protecting the ocean. So that’s what led me to kind of really start to work more in that space. And the campaign that we ran around, called stop the grinned, which is going to crap is the killing spree that goes on there. And we managed to get the campaign to the UK Government. And it went to a kind of petition that led to it being discussed in parliament. And so unfortunately, no big outcomes came with that. But just getting it recognized and getting that kind of topic on the agenda of the UK Government was really exciting and important. So I

Alison Burns 6:39
think I signed that petition. Yeah, I totally did. Yeah. And I mean, what the achievement just getting on on the radar, so it’s, it’s in people’s sights now, you know, so they know what’s going on. You created the UAEs first climate lit literacy course. So who did you have in mind when you created that? Yes.

Marian Fletcher 6:59
So it’s a carbon literacy course. It’s with an NGO in the UK called The Carbon Literacy project. And their goal is basically to get as many people around the world carbon literate. And so the audience is very much it’s very much an entry level course. And so it’s accessible to a wide variety of people. The course I’ve developed right now is a for the community. So it’s about empowering people to understand what their own carbon emissions are, particularly in the UAE, which is a very unique place. We don’t always have sight kind of clarity on on the impact of our of our actions. And so helping them to understand how to make changes in this country that can help to reduce carbon emissions, but also just have an impact on climate change more generally. And

James Taylor 7:42
it was another was looking on on your website as well. There’s lots of courses now as well as not just on that, I think you had things around circular economy. There was obviously you’re being a connector in the marine side of things with courses around there as well. And you’re finding a lot of people that are coming into this, where are they coming? Are they coming from other organizations that this is something they need to kind of green skills to upskill themselves? Or is it? Is it schools? Is it really was it coming from

Marian Fletcher 8:09
everywhere? Actually, yes, schools definitely. But it’s people that want to transition into you know, ESG, or sustainability related jobs, and not really knowing how to build that knowledge base. And also businesses as well, who are looking to upskill their workforce and get everybody kind of on a baseline level of knowledge, so that they can start implementing more initiatives that change things internally. for them.

James Taylor 8:31
They also mentioned the Climate Club, which we haven’t been to any of the climate club things yet we are going to come you have events like a climate coffee club, a vegan extravaganza. So tell tell us what was what was really behind creating this this climate club? What What purpose does it serve,

Marian Fletcher 8:49
I guess I felt that there are a lot of panels and a lot of kind of corporate events, but not really many ways for people to get involved individually. And to do things as a community to create a space where people can feel like they’re learning and and contributing as well. So I tried to make it you know, accessible to everyone. So whether you enjoy you know, cocktails in a bar, which was our conscious cocktails event, or you’re really into fashion, which is the conscious post swap, or just a coffee, then there are a variety of different ways that you can get involved and start to learn things in a very kind of organic and natural way, right? You’re just having a conversation with somebody not necessarily having to sit down and listen to a whole 2030 minute panel right there.

Alison Burns 9:33
Your job sounds fun. Sounds like a lot of fun, but it’s completely on point with everything that needs to happen. Right now. In amongst all of that What’s the hardest part of your job?

Marian Fletcher 9:43
Um, I think the hardest part has been especially working with businesses is wanting to skip straight to the speaking about things and not necessarily the education building and doing things. So I work with companies right from the education stage to implementing ESG strategies and reporting and then communications. And I find they’re in a much of a rush to jump to the last stage about communicating things. And often they’re working still in the very much the CSR space where it’s planting a couple of mangroves or, you know, a couple of different community initiatives, but they haven’t really built the solid kind of KPIs that they need to, in order to have a solid ESG strategy. So it’s kind of taking them back to that initial stage, the education space, you know, educating them about what needs to be done, and then trying to work with them on a strategy to make something more concrete happen.

James Taylor 10:34
It almost reminds me, there’s something that we’re exploring in the season, as well as how artificial intelligence can help us achieve and using data to achieve certain ESG or sustainability goals. And what you mentioned there, it reminds me almost a little bit, see a few years ago, when AI was just getting talked about get talked at the panels and all the cool conferences and all that stuff. And now it’s very much to the point of frontline employees wanting to know, what do I need to do? Yeah, how can I have an impact? How, what skills do I need to learn? So it sounds like that’s kind of where you’re at the stage now. And this is

Marian Fletcher 11:08
the carbon literacy course is about making a pledge. So what can I do personally, and actually, people don’t recognize that in their workplace, they have tremendous power to change things. So you know, you might not feel like you’re that powerful individually. But when you have a role in a company, you know, you everything you’re doing in your job can be made more green. And so we we encourage people to make a pledge, whether that’s at home, you know, turning off the AC when they can or electricity or whatever, but also in their businesses, how can they actually help things, you know, whatever their role is, and they say, Now, every job is going to be a green job. So, you know, everybody needs to start thinking about what their job means in the kind of green transition. If water could

James Taylor 11:49
speak more than say, We’re sure it would say, if you take care of me, I will take care of you. If you love water and marine life, then you’ll love the latest book from Julie Lewis called Uncharted Waters. Discover your hidden depth. It offers readers a chance to really explore the wisdom of water through thought provoking journal prompts, through various inspirational quotes, and really captivating stories from the author. It’s an invitation to explore the many, many ways that water can teach us lessons on embracing change on finding float and on building resilience and playing your part. In this well being of our planet. Copies of uncharted waters can be ordered on Amazon. And if you’d like a free chapter download and more information on Julie’s book then simply just head to uncharted-waters, uncharted-waters plus 10% of royalties from uncharted waters will be contributed to Azraq marine conservation programs.

Alison Burns 13:01
So it’s interesting because I was reading a report recently and it seems that for Gen Z is well and probably beyond is that climate. Climate anxiety is a real thing. But it’s because do you think it’s because it feel helpless? But when you’re tackling it from this from you wrangles in not so you’ve got choices, you’ve got choices, and you can actually make a difference? Definitely,

Marian Fletcher 13:23
yeah, I think people need to start thinking about what their what role they want to happen, things can be communicate, great communicate, or you can be an engineer or you know, whatever your role is, there’s some way of making that a green job as well. So

James Taylor 13:37
in your kind of sustainability journey, you’ve gone from this Board of Management Consulting and into the kind of things that you do now, has there been a key aha moment? We’re just kind of like, oh, okay, maybe the light bulb light bulb went off? Maybe I need to think about this differently, or just something changed?

Marian Fletcher 13:57
Yes, I think it’s one, as I said, when I was realizing that there’s always panels happening, but there’s nothing that you know, individuals and people outside of the sustainability world can really get involved in. And cop was a great, obviously, two weeks for people to kind of explore that space, but I wanted to create something a bit more long lasting. And so the climate club started as just a WhatsApp group. And we’ve grown to over 250 people in that WhatsApp Whatsapp group now. And I’m starting to build more of an online platform to really bring it to life and make it more accessible and have a hub where we can have resources and courses and all that that all the events going on, you know, not just the climate club ones but everybody else’s, and create a kind of forum for people to communicate about things and learn and meet other people.

Alison Burns 14:40
Do you think can you see a vision for that being an international thing so they can actually, you know, it’s almost as if the people in the watsapp group, they’re kind of inviting from international you could actually have chapters chat. Yeah, exactly. That sounds like an amazing

Marian Fletcher 14:55
yeah, I think definitely, at least in the GCC. I would love that. I think the other GCC You see countries have a lot of scope for it as well.

James Taylor 15:03
Yeah, especially I know in Saudi we travel a lot to and do a lot of work where you have this young population. Yeah. Who are just they want their their interest. They’re curious about the these areas. This come to some quickfire questions. Yeah, yeah.

Alison Burns 15:18
Well, yeah, it is, is there a book that you would like to recommend to our listeners in relation to everything, anything that that encompasses what you’re about as a, as a person on this planet? Oh,

Marian Fletcher 15:29
that’s a good one. I mean, I always recommend actually, Bill Gates book, how to how to friend to climate disaster, I think it’s called as an entry level book, because actually, he really dumb dumbs it down actually, for people and, and makes it very accessible. So that’s always a good starter book. And then I started reading recently, the Climate War market, Michael E. Moore. And a lot of my videos on Tiktok, actually, about climate disinformation come from from that book, he talks about the kind of decades long lobbying campaign that’s been going on by different industries to try and prevent and delay climate action. So that’s always a good one as well.

James Taylor 16:12
It’s there’s people have been in this kind of Climate War, I guess, a band for a while, I think yesterday, there was a, there was a famous case that just came through, I think, in Switzerland, where there’s all or a group of women were able to actually get the thing was the first case in the European Court of Human Rights where they actually got change happening, we’ll put links to all these things we were talking to as well, what’s your your perspective on that?

Marian Fletcher 16:37
I think it’s great that there’s different, you know, people getting involved in this. So that was specifically about menopausal women, right. But I even read something the other day about babies being really impacted by climate change, you know, there are so many vulnerable populations, and they need to have a voice. And so forums like, you know, European courts or something are really good avenues for them to, to be recognized. And, you know, part of the just transition is about social dialogue and listening to these vulnerable populations and how they’re being impacted. So I think it’s super important.

James Taylor 17:08
That’s what listening what a podcast is a podcast that you listen to a lot, it could be on this area of sustainability. ESG, or it could be just a podcast that inspires you to do the work you do. Um,

Marian Fletcher 17:17
to be honest, I listened to more business or entrepreneurial podcasts. The classic one is, obviously Steven Bartlett, I love his, because I just like hearing about thought leaders and how they also have about their communicate, I think it’s really important to communicate impactfully about what you do. And he’s speaks to such a wide variety of people doing amazing work. So that’s always inspiring. And then there’s one called My first million, which is more just about entrepreneurial journeys, I guess, which, as an entrepreneur, myself, I’m very interested in learning from others. And, you know, hearing other people’s stories. Fantastic.

Alison Burns 17:53
And this is kind of like my final question. But what this is quite a big question, I suppose. What does an ethical and sustainable world look like for you in relation to hope you want to leave the planet for future generations?

Marian Fletcher 18:09
Great question. I mean, I think actually having a planet to leave to future generations is a good idea. But really about an inclusive one, one where everyone is well informed and playing their role, where everyone is, you know, brought along in the journey, no one is left behind. And yeah, where we are all kind of contributing and playing our part. I think that’s really important. Beautiful.

James Taylor 18:31
If listeners want to learn more about you, some of the climate club, we spoke at your consultancy all these things, where should they go? Where’s the best place for them to go? How is best for them to connect with you if they want to learn more maybe to get the organization involved in some of these courses you’ve been talking about?

Marian Fletcher 18:45
They can follow me on LinkedIn, it’s a good place to start or my TikTok and Instagram accounts. I’ll be there. We have The Climate Club. And then thatclimatechick which is my kind of climate related profile, so you can find that online as well. Great.

James Taylor 19:03
We’ll put all the links here, people were listening to that just now. We’ll have all those links on the show notes at Maz Fletcher. Thank you so much for being a guest on The Ethical Futurists.

Alison Burns 19:13
What a joy. Perfect, thank

Marian Fletcher 19:15
you, thank you.

James Taylor 19:17
If you’re considering making sustainability or ESG, one of the themes for your next conference, your event, or perhaps a company retreat, then why not invite Alison and myself to be your keynote speakers or event MCs? We’ve delivered really inspiring keynote programs for some of the world’s largest organizations from all different kinds of industries. Now, The Ethical Futurist keynote will take your audience on a journey to discover how the world’s most ethical and sustainable companies are really innovating in their industries. So if you’d like to learn more about booking Alison lie as the ethical futurists for your next event, then simply head to That’s To schedule a call to discuss with us your next event. We’re delighted that you listen to this podcast. And we’d really thank you if you could just take a moment now to subscribe to this podcast on your favorite podcast platform. Also, while you’re there, why don’t give us a five star rating and leave us a review. It would really mean a lot to Allison and I so for me, James Taylor, and me, Alison Burns. Thanks for listening to The Ethical Futurists podcast.