Omar Saif of COP28 - Climate Tech, Food Security, Sustainability, Degrowth, Decarbonization and More #003

Omar Saif, a multidisciplinary professional focused on sustainability and decarbonization, shares his journey and insights on The Ethical Futurist podcast. He discusses his role at COP28, the importance of legacy and private sector engagement, and the need for local solutions in the Global South. Saif emphasizes the necessity of decentralized solutions, innovative business models, and partnerships to address climate challenges. He also touches on the impact of livestock on greenhouse gas emissions, the potential of alternative proteins, and the importance of rethinking growth for a sustainable future.

Sound Bites
  • “We don’t want it to just be an event. What things can be done to deliver and see through the commitments made at COP?”
  • “In the Global South, we need to focus more on adaptation rather than mitigation, as they bear the brunt of climate impacts.”
  • “Our systems are designed as if we’re living in an infinite world, but we need to work within the resources we have.”


Omar Saif is a multi-disciplinary professional who has been driving sustainability and decarbonization efforts within the Middle East for the past 11 years. Currently serving as a Senior Specialist at COP28, he focuses on brokering technology & innovation partnerships that accelerate climatetech deployment, especially in emerging markets. Omar’s previous roles include working as a sustainability consultant at EY, WSP, and SmartWatt. In these positions, he led and delivered diverse projects including energy management, GHG accounting, Net-Zero, sustainability strategies, and ESG reporting. Additionally, Omar has played an integral role in government trade promotion efforts with the Dutch and New Zealand governments, focusing on the promotion of green-tech startups and SMEs. Omar holds a Masters of Engineering in Engineering & Public Policy, as well as a B.Sc. in Environmental Science, both from McMaster University in Canada.

Omar Saif
Omar Saif

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

  2. 0:41 – Overview of podcast topics

  3. 1:46 – Guest introduction: Omar Saif

  4. 3:03 – Omar’s current focus post-COP28

  5. 4:01 – Importance of legacy in COP28

  6. 6:14 – Innovate for Climate Tech Initiative

  7. 8:13 – Omar’s professional journey

  8. 10:46 – Key accomplishments at COP28

  9. 12:47 – Building climate-resilient infrastructure

  10. 14:16 – Decentralized solutions for developing regions

  11. 16:54 – Challenges in climate tech deployment

  12. 18:17 – Vision for food security and livestock farming

  13. 21:39 – Potential of alternative proteins

  14. 24:05 – Key aha moment in sustainability journey

  15. 27:24 – Quick fire round: book, podcast, tool recommendations

  16. 31:02 – Vision for an ethical and sustainable future

  17. 33:04 – How to connect with Omar Saif

TEF003 Omar Saif FINAL AUDIO.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.

Omar Saif 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,

Omar Saif 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.

Omar Saif 1:16
So whether you’re interested in lab grown meat, alternative proteins, sustainable finance, or climate related risk, we’ve got you covered. Are you 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.

James Taylor 1:46
Just go to That’s Alternatively, you can drop them an email at [email protected] to book the perfect speaker for your next event. Omar Saif is a multidisciplinary professional who has been driving sustainability and decarbonisation efforts within the Middle East for the past 11 years. Currently serving as a senior specialist at COP28. He focuses on brokering Technology and Innovation Partnerships that accelerate climate tech deployment, especially in emerging markets. Omar’s previous roles include working as a sustainability consultant, EY, WSP, and Smartwatt. In these positions, he led and delivered diverse projects including energy management, GHG, accounting, Net Zero sustainability strategies and ESG reporting. Additionally, Omar has played an integral role in government trade promotion efforts with the Dutch and New Zealand government’s focusing on the promotion of green tech startups and SMEs, Omar holds a Master’s of Engineering and Public Policy as well as a BSc in environmental science, both from McMaster University in Canada. Omar Saif welcome to The Ethical Futurists podcast.

Unknown Speaker 3:01
My pleasure to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

James Taylor 3:03
So share with us what’s going on you are what’s currently got your focus at the moment? Well,

Omar Saif 3:08
we just delivered in my view, a very successful cop back in December cop 28. And, you know, we after I think a lot of us took some much needed time off, we’re we’re back in the grind. Now we’re really focused on the delivery, a lot of the legacy items. So the things that were announced at COP, but you know that we don’t want to drop the ball on really make sure that we stick to those commitments and really see them through.

James Taylor 3:34
Now, Alison and I both attended an amazing, amazing event very inspiring. And one of the things you were involved in with a lot of the programs of talks that were going on there as well, so many different things. So, so obviously, you’re you’re moving to this kind of next stage kind of COP, the actual event happened, but I’m guessing there’s a lot more that’s kind of still has to happen. There’s this legacy, as you were saying,

Speaker 1 4:01
no, absolutely. And I think even early on, we all recognize that with cop that there’s a strong legacy aspect to it, we don’t want it to just be an event. And that’s all it is. I think we were quite blessed to have a really fantastic leadership that really saw the, I think the role of the private sector and, and enabling and then kind of collaborating with the private sector. So that’s something that we did very strongly and I think quite early on, we thought of, you know, what ways can we embed legacy into COP28. So it’s not just strictly programming and and having a great time at the event itself, but what things can be done to deliver. And I can give you some examples of that. So in the in the area that I’m currently working in, which is tech and innovation and entrepreneurship. Our task was to really catalyze the climate tech ecosystem and bring all of those relevant players from across the world and really support and the deployment of climate tech in the Global South. which traditionally has seen not as much support not as much flow of capital towards the startup ecosystems there, although there’s a growing amount of talent and developing ecosystems there. So one of the things that we’re doing now is we launched that cop, the innovate for climate tech initiative. And with this program, what we aim to do is have a coalition of various members. And currently, we’re at around 45 members that are corporates, SMEs, startups, VCs, really the full climate tech ecosystem representing global players. And what we intend to do is really focus on specific hubs in emerging markets, and what we can do to support them from a climate tech point of view. And we’re happy to say, and maybe this is something that it’s nice to announce here is that Abu Dhabi will be the first hub that we’re that we’re launching. The reason being is because we see it as a great engine for the MENA region where there’s a very strong climate tech pipeline that’s being developed. And we want to see that, in a way, cascade downwards into some of the peripheral markets like India, Africa and the MENA region.

James Taylor 6:14
Amazing, actually, this is, this is our first season of doing the show as well. And before we came on, we were talking about where to go next where to do season two, and there’s there’s so many places, so many amazing things happening around the world just now as well.

Omar Saif 6:27
What we’re fascinated with is that you’re keeping that going, you know, and it’s a continue is not actually just an event, like you said, but what’s what’s interesting is what brought you to your involvement with cop 28 in the first place.

Speaker 1 6:42
I think like all things, all good things in life, it’s, it’s an element of luck and just being at the right place at the right time. So I was brought in to cop through a connection of mine who was an ex calling at an ex colleague at Ernst and Young. And he was he’s currently at HSBC, and his boss was the one that was seconded into COP28, Director of Partnerships. And it was basically through her that I had a very quick interview, and then onboarding into COP28. But I think the real journey leading to COP is a bit of a longer one. I mean, I’ve been in the region for 11 years now, I grew up and did all my education. And you know, my first started my career in Canada, but I’ve been in the UAE for 11 years starting in in Bozidar, I was working there as a research engineer, and then I went into consultancy, I did some trade promotion, as well with it with the Dutch and New Zealand governments. But throughout all of that, I think sustainability and decarbonisation has always been a common theme. And I say this as almost I feel like a veteran saying this, but 11 years ago, we were selling sustainability when most clients in the region didn’t really know what sustainability was. So to see kind of full circle, going back to a bit with cup 28, seeing how much the region has evolved, and how much they’ve really, I think, taken on the responsibility and the challenge. The climate challenge, I think is remarkable. That’s

Omar Saif 8:13
fascinating, because you would have been able to see it along that 11 year. Yeah.

Speaker 1 8:20
I mean, coincidentally, and I think the funny irony of it is that, in a way, I started with Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber as my boss back when I was at Mazda, and then having him back at COP 28. So when I say full circle in more and more ways than was amazing.

Omar Saif 8:34
And what would you say that you feel that are your top accomplishments within your role at COP 28.

Speaker 1 8:40
So I think it’s given the breadth of what was delivered at COP. Maybe I can just start there. We all worked at very on very different things. You know, we had a negotiations team that work focused very much on the actual negotiations process via the UNFCCC. And then we had a non negotiated team that which I was a part of which we were focusing on the climate action agenda, which encompassed various things including climate finance encompassed food security, water, nature, indigenous communities, and also the team that I was part of, which is the tech innovation and entrepreneurship. So I think the big win for all of us was definitely the UAE consensus, being able to move the needle and really bring on a lot of the the major oil and gas companies and and countries to really make a commitment to phase out fossil fuel. That’s definitely a step in the right direction. And I would say even, you know, maybe don’t hold me on this point, right, but I’m a bit biased since covering the non negotiated outcomes. But I think what we delivered in the climate action agenda was was spectacular. And the reason being is that it really was the most inclusive cop as Dr. Sultan promised it would be because we engaged indigenous communities we engage we engage youth, we engage the private sector. Yeah, I mean, we had people coming up to us and saying the Green Zone is amazing. It’s spectacular, although everyone was very skeptical in the beginning, and they were all, you know, approaching us trying to get tickets to the Blue Zone, which obviously we couldn’t do. But to see that response, and that, you know, everyone, there was this buzz and energy and the private sector, which is so involved. And I think, to me, that was one of the biggest accomplishments, which is, it really set a precedent for future coops. And at the same time, I think we included a portfolio of topics that were never really linked to climate, although they’re integral to climate, you know, when we talk about food, and resilience, and fragility, and indigenous communities, these are all real topics that are linked to climate. But traditionally, it’s all been reduced to a common denominator of carbon.

James Taylor 10:46
Yeah, it was interesting, because I think we met for the first time we were two weeks or so or three weeks before we were in event before cop 28 really kind of started the event. And I was looking at you, I thought you weren’t getting much sleep. I don’t think around that. You were kind of surviving on caffeine at that stage?

Speaker 1 11:04
And absolutely, it was, it was a really, really tough time. And it’s, it was a daunting task, right. And I’m just very happy to see what we were able to accomplish as a result of it. I still remember looking several months back almost a little bit less than a year ago, where we were strategizing about what kind of things do we want to accomplish and deliver through, you know, the tech and innovation team. And I remember we mentioned that we would love to do an accelerator that’s focused on the global south. And we delivered that, right, we had around 100, climate tech startups from all across the world. And many of them were actually able to come to cop and we were able to bring them and exhibit their their technologies. We mentioned that we want to have the best programming possible. And, you know, I’m happy to say that in the tech and innovation hub, we delivered over 100 sessions across 10 days with really high caliber, top notch speakers, from CEOs to CSOs to entrepreneurs, to NGOs, we really covered it all. And then we also were saying that we really want to have a lasting legacy when it came to bringing the climate tech community together. And we were able to bring on the right partners and launch the innovate for climate tech initiative. So looking back, it’s it’s not every day that you set out, you know, to accomplish specific things. And really, you’re able to reflect and be like, yes, we actually delivered on those promises. Now, one

James Taylor 12:29
of the things you mentioned about the global South, and I know that an area that you’re really passionate about is building climate resilient infrastructure, specifically as it relates to global south as well. So what are maybe some of the common misconceptions that people have about how that works and how it’s done?

Speaker 1 12:47
Yeah, so I’ll share maybe a somewhat unpopular view on this, which is, when we’re looking at climate change, right, I mean, we can always dissect it into mitigation and adaptation, and mitigation in a way it’s a global issue, right, we want to reduce the emissions so that we reduce the overall warming within the 1.5 degree target. When it comes to adaptation, it’s actually a lot more of a local issue, right. So the reason why I feel that, especially in the Global South, I would love to see a lot of the solutions, the infrastructure be more specified towards adaptation, that mitigation, because historically, if we’re looking at it from an admissions perspective, they’ve had very little contribution to the actual emissions. But they’re bear bearing most of the grunt of the climate impact. So for that reason, I would love to see more companies, startups in the global south are actually focusing on adaptation rather than mitigation, because they will be the only ones who will develop solutions for their own local needs. So you’re not going to have solutions come and imported from abroad, they really need to localize solutions for themselves. And I guess,

James Taylor 13:55
linked to that, then is about the grid, but electricity power, about having that more as a distributed form of of power as well. Can you talk about the kind of things that you’ve when you were working at COP 28? And the kind of things that you heard in the areas of technology and innovation and partnership that you saw that really inspired you? Absolutely.

Speaker 1 14:16
And I think maybe to juxtapose that with the UAE which is, you know, by all means definitely a developed country, especially when we’re talking about infrastructure, we’re a world class infrastructure, in a way for such an urbanized country like the UAE, the path that they’ve opted for is one of very large utility scale solutions, right? Whether it’s on the renewable side, power side, water desalination slide, etc. And in a way, what a lot of global south countries and communities need is actually quite the opposite of that, right? Centralized solutions. They have enormous capex and operational costs and it’s Quite often too burdensome for those local communities or governments to really do centralized utility solutions. What you need is more of a decentralized approach. And this is not only for the for the power sector, but it applies even for water treatment for whether it’s water distribution systems, water treatment systems, irrigation, and agriculture. Also, you’re not going to have large scale farms, we’re still talking about small, small holder farmers that are that are that are operating in this region. So the kinds of solutions really need to be tailor made for that. And what we see in a lot of parts of the world is you do actually see this, leapfrogging where they’re, whether it’s in the telecom space, or in the energy space, where they’re bypassing a lot of the bulky infrastructure that, you know, the developed countries of the world went, went and adopted. So on the on the renewable side, you see, I think, just the flourishing of renewable projects in Africa, and Asia, were servicing specific communities, micro grids, et cetera, et cetera. So the technology is there. And we we know what a lot of the solutions that are needed, I think the major challenge, and that I foresee for, for really deploying and scaling those climate technologies that are needed is on one the financing side to is also in terms of the price point, so less related to the financing. But this also goes into the business models that are being done, right. Oftentimes, you have solutions and products that are developed elsewhere, and then they’re trying to be sold or implemented in the same way and developing markets. And anyway, you really need to repurpose them for those local markets, or think about how can we introduce more innovative business models that that will actually work and scale in those regions.

James Taylor 16:54
And we didn’t want to come back to that business model. That’s that’s an area of interest is Alison and I, we spend a lot of we’re both from Scotland, or we’ve spent a lot of time living in Scotland. And it’s interesting, because some of the things that you were talking about there, about the global sales, I was thinking, these actually relate to some of the rural communities in some of the Highlands and Islands, parts of Scotland, where those large kind of be centralized projects just don’t work. Yeah. And so now I see people in looking towards what’s going on in India, some of the different parts of the world to see, well, where are the opportunities? What can we be learning from?

Omar Saif 17:29
And also as well, people often feel helpless, they say, Well, you know, what can we do, but if you can use, you should scale down or you know, those technologies, like you said leapfrog to be able to make a difference. Without these massive big infrastructure projects going on, then you don’t feel so helpless. And in relation to making a difference with with climate change and a difference to your own communities, and then how you live your life. And there’s no doubt that there’s been many studies that show that livestock farming, in particular has a profound effect on greenhouse gas emissions. And so what would you see is your vision of for food, food security for the future? And what would that world look like, for future generations? Especially the global sector as well?

Speaker 1 18:17
Yeah. And it’s a great question. So, again, I’m just gonna maybe take the example of the Middle East, and specifically here, the Gulf region. You know, looking at a lot of the food security strategies that have come from come out of here, and the the overwhelming I think, need for more diversification and the food products that are that are that are imported, at the moment, like in a lot of the Gulf countries, 90% of all foods are imported, right. And that obviously puts a certain burden and risk on these countries. And COVID was a great example of that, where a lot of countries had their supply chains really tested and pushed to the limits. So food security is critical. But at the same time, we have to define what food security as if it’s about full self sufficiency. The fact of the matter is some regions in the world will never be fully self sufficient, and be able to meet the caloric intake and needs of their populations based on the current resources available, you know, be that arable land, be that water resources, etc. The UAE being one of those places. So what food security is is more about also partnerships. It’s about diplomacy, oftentimes. So how can we work together? So that if there are countries in the world that do have great agricultural capacity, well, how can we enable them to do it, maybe to even drive more production do so sustainably make sure that you know, the water, the groundwater resources aren’t being depleted are being exploited, beyond you know, the, their, their, their carrying capacity? So I really see it in a very holistic sense. Now to your point about livestock. It’s no doubt that when it comes to, you know, as so many I think studies and so many demonstrations have put forth, if you’re looking at the per capita or per the consumption of water per food product train, if you’re going to compare, grab a kilogram of wheat versus a kilogram of tomatoes versus a kilogram of beef, yes, beef is overwhelmingly going to consume the most. At the same time, I am a little bit skeptical of the notion that we should eliminate all livestock production. And the truth of the matter is livestock production can actually be embedded and part of the the ecosystem itself and be very beneficial to regenerating a lot of lands that have been eroded over time. And, you know, there’s a great field emerging with regenerative agriculture that I think is really worth worth looking into. And there are some some regions and some terrains that are they’re ideal for that grazing kind of activities. But again, that will contribute a much smaller proportion of the meat that we would all want to want to consume. So definitely, there needs to be a rationalization of our meat, meat consumption, we need to bring that down. I think that’s that’s very, very clear. But I wouldn’t say that, you know, we’re going to have to go and completely eliminate all all farms and all livestock, I think we just have to take a nuanced approach and really see, you know, what, what, what benefit there is to both from from a human level and also to the ecosystems where these livestock are produced.

James Taylor 21:39
I think one of the things when we attended cop as well, which is what you were doing in creating those conversations that were going on around cop, for example. And there’s a big vegan section there, and which is fantastic, and just different food products. But for me, one was interest. Some of the most interesting sessions were around, you had sessions around old protein, proteins, and they were great speakers from different parts of here in the Gulf region. And there was a couple of things I learned that I didn’t know about. And I was speaking about a month later for in Riyadh for a company called Al moraine, big and in, in food production. And I shared some of those things. And it was like, Oh, this is, you know, there’s a lot of kind of questions that came from that. So we’re kind of at this stage where you’re going through an education process about some of these techniques or technologies, usually

Omar Saif 22:28
innovative as well. I mean, there’s little, there’s amazing innovation going on in your companies like solar foods in Finland, yeah, Finland, don’t they? They’re using making protein out of thin air and microbes. It’s quite incredible what’s going on. So yeah,

Speaker 1 22:44
I couldn’t, I couldn’t agree more. And I think it’s really important that you don’t always lump all technologies in one bucket. So you’ll find some people who are completely repulsed by the idea of alternative proteins. And then you have some who are completely repulsed by the idea of, you know, traditional dairy and livestock meat production. But the truth of the matter is that there are innovations that do well on both ends, right. And I think just like you, you mentioned, it was also eye opening for me at COP, you know, I was sitting in on every single one of those sessions and just learning and listening in. And it actually dispelled quite a bit of myths for myself that I had around alternative proteins where I went in, you know, a little bit skeptical and thinking that it’s a waste of VC money and capital. And then I came out thinking, you know, what, no, I actually think some of them are doing some really interesting and yeah, and meanwhile, work. We

James Taylor 23:37
had some of the discussion afterwards, we’re talking about cultured meats. So it’s like, no, no, no. This is this is interesting. And so I think so you, obviously your brief was around entrepreneurship, innovation as well. Can you tell us about maybe a key aha moment in your, your journey? You’ve gone through this incredible journey? I know, you’ve worked with lots of different organizations, but a key aha moment in terms of your own sustainability journey?

Speaker 1 24:05
Oh, well, that’s a that’s a great question. I think that takes me back to the time that I was working with the Dutch government and I was promoting a lot of the Dutch SMEs and in various in the agri tech, water and energy space, in the Gulf region. And the the challenge that I saw was that we were promoting these these companies through very, I would say traditional methods, right? So I went through a couple of iterations where we would have a trade mission organized, we bring these companies, we take them around to some major major clients like Diwa, add nog, etc. You know, the big names that we have here in the UAE, and these are these are SMEs, right? So typically, out of courtesy and you know, we would have those meetings and they get to pitch their, their their, their businesses to these these big players. But does it did it ever really resulted in contracts? Honestly speaking? No, I don’t think I can recall one case where it resulted in a proper contract. And the reason being is that, you know, everyone recognized that they were innovative and really solid companies oftentimes with really great solutions, but how you get them into the market is a completely different question. Right. And this is what now, you know, whenever we talk, and I, whenever I advise any startups or SMEs that are interested in getting into the Gulf market, and I would say any market for that matter is you really need to understand what is your what are your entry points? And what how much are you willing to invest in, in the region, right? If you’re, if you’re an SME that’s based in Rotterdam, chances are you don’t have a massive budget or workforce that’s going to be able to open up offices throughout the world and do active business development everywhere. So and that’s fine. You know, that’s, that’s where you’re currently are. What that means is that you’re not going to be going and pitching to the end client directly. Rather, you have to use the right market mechanisms. And sometimes they may be agents that may be distributors, they may be local partners that you have to go and find that can push those technologies and products on your behalf. And that was that was a bit of an aha moment for me, because when I did actually speak, especially in the water tech space, I spoke to various distributors and agents in the region. And I was shocked almost here that not a single Dutch water company or water, SME was actually supplying tech to them. Although we know the Netherlands is very well known in the water tech space. So for me, okay, then this is clearly a gap and that we haven’t been fulfilling in terms of trade promotion. So instead of for all the future trade missions, what I really actively pushed for is, let’s do a distributor mapping. Let’s do an agent mapping, let’s identify who these middlemen are, who are the contractors that are winning a lot of the bids as well, to the likes of ADNOC to the likes of DEWA. Can we become vendors or subcontractors to these contractors. So that kind of, I would say approach was my aha moment. And I was very happy that, you know, when we did start to think in that way, we did start to see a lot more meaningful partnerships. And, and I think partnerships with some of those distributors and agents where they were starting to push those technologies into the market,

James Taylor 27:24
having that big of you have a partnership. So quick fire round, just so we start to finish off here as well. I’ll let you go first, I

Omar Saif 27:31
shall go first. Well, if you could recommend one book. For our listeners who want to learn more about sustainability and climate tech, what book would that be, in your opinion?

Unknown Speaker 27:43
So I would say one of the books that I read, actually, during my time at COP was Less is More by Jason Hickel. And the whole book is are actually around degrowth, which is a very taboo topic, I think, and in the sustainability space. But for me, it was quite important to read it as I was going through the QA process, because I think like any good professional, you always have to have an existential crisis about what you’re doing. Right. And while that cop, you know, I was questioning also, well, how much are these negotiations going to help? Are we doing the right things is triple a triple link renewables going to solve things is doubling efficiency going to solve things? So it kind of led me to really want to want to dig deeper into what is the the the underlying issue behind a lot of the climate challenge. And I think a lot of the other social ailments that we have, and I found that this book was quite eye opening. For me, it was interesting. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in the in the book, but I think the premise of questioning that growth imperative, and this is really the heart of the book, which is that, you know, we cannot enter in a finite world, we cannot push for endless growth, you know, whether it’s not a corporate level or an industrial level or government level, is that we have to work within the the resources that we actually have. And I think that’s very quite common sense. You know, no one would, would say otherwise, however, our whole systems are designed, in contrary to that, and that’s the part that really sticks out in the page when you’re reading the book is that, you know, this, this makes sense. But then why is it that everything that we’re doing it’s as if we’re living in an infinite world, and I think that reminder was quite was quite good that at the end of the day, work as hard as we want on on climate, the the economics is really, really crucial, and it should be, I think, at the heart of future cop discussions as well.

James Taylor 29:36
And then what about podcasts? What would be it was one if I go on your Spotify playlist just now what are you listening to podcast wise?

Speaker 1 29:43
Podcast wise, I’m a creature of habit. And I’ve been listening to the Freakonomics podcast for years. I, as someone who has a lot of various interests, I find that they really tick the box for me where, you know, it’s the economics of everyday things and it’s just every day or every week, they’re exploring a new topic. And I really love that

James Taylor 30:04
and Oldie and Goldie there. And what about a website tool or a mobile app, like Evernote or Gmail that you couldn’t live without today? Yeah.

Speaker 1 30:11
So my favorite app, it’s it’s more of a software that I’ve had on my laptop, since I was pretty much in university. It’s mind jet mind mapping. So I do mind maps all the time. It’s very easy to use. That’s me, I’m with you on that. Easy to use. I’ve even used it for COP, by the way, because I wanted to arrange all of the, the organizations and the partnerships that we’ve had, and you know, who’s doing what, and I find it very useful. In fact, I used to study, using it all the time where I was create, I would restructure all of the material that’s in the book, but in how my brain processes it. And in doing that, that was my way to study, and it worked quite well. Great.

Omar Saif 30:52
And in an ideal world, which we’re never going to have, I’m sure. What does an ethical and sustainable future look like for you? Big Question,

Speaker 1 31:02
it is a big question. And I don’t think any of us can say that we have the answer on our own. But I would say similar a little bit to the question about my kind of recommended book is that I do want to live in a world where we’re not constantly driving towards growth, I think it’s exhausting. And I think people are exhausted. And you see this, especially with millennials, and I think, you know, my generation and the ones after, as well as that. It’s just, it’s not the profit. It’s not just about profit anymore, right? People want to have a career that they find fulfilling, they want to be able to have time off, they want to be able to be close to nature. Everyone is apparently baking now at home since COVID, sourdough sourdough queens, so I think there is this in a tribe and a lot of us to get closer back to a traditional way of life. And I think the balance is somewhere in between where we have to find a system where you know, there is advancement, there is innovation that’s happening, but at the same time, you don’t have to be stuck in a rat race. And you can actually just, you know, relax, calm down, have community have cities that are that are community oriented, where you do know your neighbors, and you are able to go out for walks and buy fresh produce from the local farm farmers market. So, you know, maybe maybe my vision is a little bit more, it sounds

Omar Saif 32:38
like more connected with nature as well. It is to be not just you’ve to be a part of nature, as opposed to apart from it.

Speaker 1 32:47
No, no, absolutely. And I think my secret is I’m explaining to my retirement plan more than just the

James Taylor 32:53
things really good for you retire for you. What is the best place for people to go to learn more about the work you do the organization and to also connect with you as well.

Unknown Speaker 33:04
So I think in a nutshell, if you want to visit and learn more about what COP28 is doing, and some of the legacy items that are happening, definitely do visit the website, And if you’re interested in learning more about what what I do, and especially in the climate tech space, best place to reach means I think via LinkedIn, Omar safe, easy to find, and I’d be happy to connect with anyone. Well,

James Taylor 33:29
Omar Saif thank you so much for being a guest on the ethical futures podcast today. We’ll put all these links in the show notes so people can go just go to the ethical And you can learn more about Omar and all his amazing work. Thank you, Omar for being a guest on ethical futures. Thank you for having thank you so much. We put together a list of all the books recommended by our guests here on Season One of the ethical futurist podcast. To access the ethical futures book club, just go to the ethical forward slash books. That’s the now, if you decide to purchase a book through this link, then we’re going to receive a small affiliate commission that goes towards helping to create future episodes of this podcast. Thanks. 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 Allison 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 and I as The Ethical Futurists for your next event, then simply head to the That’s the To schedule a call to discuss with us your next event. We’re delighted that you listen to this podcast. And we 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 futurist podcast.