Climate & Environment

Conference Programmes

Find out more about our expert speakers or view all the session details below.  

Tuesday 16th April

14:25 - 14:30 | Welcome

Hall 7

MC: Sal Jafar, CEO, ESG Mena

14:30 - 15:15 | Panel: Learnings from COP28 - Navigating climate outcomes

In this introductory panel, we delve into key climate-related takeaways from COP28. Our focus is on bridging the gap between outcomes and practical implementation. We’ll explore how businesses and nations can effectively apply these insights to foster low-carbon economies and reduce pollution. 

Moderator: John Dennehy, Senior Reporter, The National 

Melissa Tan, CEO, Wah & Hua, Singapore & Regional Chapter Representative - Asia & Pacific, International Solid Waste Association 

Suparna Mathur
, Founder & CEO, Parna Impact Advisory

Filippo Ghizzoni
, Partner – Sustainability & Waste Management, Roland Berger

15:15 - 16:00 | Panel: Harmonising with nature: A path to mitigate business emissions 

Nature-based solutions can offer businesses a way to offset emissions and decrease their carbon footprint. By harnessing the regenerative capacity of ecosystems, organisations can make a tangible impact. This panel will discuss how companies ensure these approaches make a true difference, the greenwashing to avoid and will outline examples for those seeking inspiration. 

Moderator: Ben Schroeder, Group Chief Communications Officer, Al-Futtaim Group 

Nadia Ibrahim,
Middle East Director for Sustainability, Ricardo 

Leena Al Olaimy, Founder & CEO, Symbaiosys

Vikram Krishna
, Co-Founder, Sacred Groves

Caroline Hooft-Slootweg, Co-founder, Kelp Blue 

15:55 - 16:30 | Fireside talk: Fostering innovation in carbon abatement 

Technology and innovation is considered a path to reduce CO2 levels and reduce emissions. What are the tangible examples that could make a difference in the near-term? This session will focus on R&D efforts, opportunities to scale and the potential positive decarbonisation impacts. 

Moderator: Sal Jafar, CEO, ESG Mena

Dimitra Theodoropulos, Director Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility, Talabat

Magdalena Konig, General Counsel, AIQ

Jason Pratt, Global Executive Vice President - Health, Safety and Environment, DP World 

Wednesday 17th April

MC: Charlene Nawar, Founder, Unwrapped 

10:30 - 11:15 | Panel: Sustainable tourism – balancing governmental economic targets with environmental demands

How do governments marry their needs for tourism and the money this brings into a country with their net zero ambitions. Can tourism be truly sustainable, particularly when it becomes long-haul? This session will focus on the delicate balance between tourism, maintaining natural habitats and attracting footfall in an Instagram era. 

Cody Paris, 
Deputy Director and Professor, Middlesex University Dubai

Sumaira Isaacs,
General Manager, Gulf Dunes 

Nadia Ibrahim,
Middle East Director for Sustainability, Ricardo 

Oliver Baillie
, Co-Founder & CEO, Plain Tiger

Huda A.K., Co-Founder, Travel Indigenous

Brian Parry, Head of Development, Quest For Adventure

11:15 - 11:30 | Case study: Navigating the skies with renewable energy - Is net zero by 2050 possible?

This case study will examine the unique challenges faced in incorporating sustainable practices both in-flight and at ground level in airports. It highlights the need for collaboration in research, funding, and policymaking to make the transition to net zero by 2050 somewhat feasible. Through an exploration of innovative technologies and strategies, this presentation will provide a clear and actionable roadmap for the aviation industry's shift towards sustainability, balancing environmental imperatives with the practicalities of air travel.

Sven Deckers, Director - Strategic Planning, Dubai Airports

11:30 - 11:45 | Case study: The role of solar energy to improve healthcare in Africa

One of the challenges healthcare in Africa faces is the ability to provide care in communities or regions where there is no electricity. This talk will look at how solar electricity is changing this, having a dramatic impact on the quality of healthcare that can be provided, even in the most remote locations.

John van Zuylen,
CEO, Africa Solar Industry Association

11:45 - 12:00 | Fireside talk: Health and climate: Protecting future generations from the impacts of climate change

This talk will outline ways to protect the most vulnerable, and discuss why the health impacts of climate change need to be addressed. Rising temperatures are predicted to exacerbate health issues in the future, and this session will investigate what action can be taken to minimise risks to the young. What more should reasonably be done by government and business to mitigate health risks whilst ensuring unintended consequences are avoided? 

Moderator: Julia Carlow,
Acting Head of Sustainability, American University of Sharjah

Amy Lehoczky, 
Director of ESG, G42  

12:00 - 12:15 | Case study: Forging a regional carbon offsets market 

This talk will outline the journey of setting up a voluntary carbon exchange in Saudi Arabia. Owned by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund and Tadawul, the talk will highlight the challenges of growing this market, the reception towards carbon offset schemes, the types of companies buying carbon credits, how to avoid greenwashing and future opportunities to expand and launch in countries globally. 

Abdulrahman Alfayyadh, Chief of Staff, Regional Voluntary Carbon Market Company 

12:15 - 13:00 | Panel: Leave no one behind - bridging skills gaps for long-term, climate careers

So much talk on the environment and climate has a negative outlook - but what if we frame new jobs, skills and reskilling around the opportunities to introduce positive change? This panel will consider what the future could look like as new climate-focused careers are promoted, the education gaps to bridge and the opportunities these will bring to new generations entering the workforce or allow people already in the workforce to retrain. 

Moderator: Charlene Nawar,
Founder, Unwrapped 

Walaa Hirzallah, 
Sustainability Consultant & Business Developer, Eedama

Suzanna El Massah, 
Professor, College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Zayed University

Youssef Diab, Professor of Urban Planning and Design, University Gustave Eiffel France and American University of Ras Al Khaimah 

Alex Misseri,
Regional Country Coordinator, Climate Fresk 

CLIX talks – Startups in the spotlight

13:00Giovanna Laudisio, CEO, Nature Beads

 | Vriko Yu, CEO, Archireef

MC: Adele Guidot, Program Lead, Global Compact Network UAE

14:15 - 14:55 | Panel: Global stock take: Corporate measurement of sustainability progress 

As COP seeks agreement on what should be included in the global stock take, we ask how corporates can continue to measure their sustainability progress and in future, move faster. What open data is needed, and should companies share their emissions data so that similar-sized companies can compare their progress and share information on how changes were introduced. How can companies reach their decarbonisation goals? 

Moderator: Dragos Fundulea
, Principal – Sustainability & Decarbonization, Roland Berger

Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson and Co-founder, Emirates Environmental Group

Joëlle Jammal, Executive Director, Global Compact Network UAE

Anne Marie Thodsen, Managing Director, The Umbrella Institute 

Adrienne Doolan,
CEO, Green Touches

14:55 - 15:10 | Case study: A sustainability framework: Building a sustainable electric power system

Presented by: Sandra Halayel, Director, International Government Affairs and Sustainability,
GE Vernova

15:10 - 15:50 | Panel: Driving corporate investment in decarbonisation for a greener future 

Regulation can highlight gaps in decarbonisation strategies. However, does it sometimes favour organisations big enough to employ teams to understand and advise on them but hinder smaller companies, even where it is intended to help? Our experts explore how regulation can accelerate decarbonisation, what policies they need to encourage companies to decarbonise their operations, and the role that customers (big or small) play in ensuring climate targets are met. 

Moderator: Lenah Hassaballah, Editor, CNN Business Arabic 

Jonathan Churchman-Davies, Industrial Water and Energy Efficiency Lead, Abu Dhabi Distribution Company

Ellora-Julie Parekh, Chief Sustainability Officer, Al-Futtaim Group

Nadia Rouchdy, Head of Climate, Emirates Nature – WWF

Tanzeed Alam,
Managing Director, Earth Matters Consulting 

Jessica Scopacasa,
Co-Founder, Olive Gaea 

15:50 - 16:30 | Panel: Strengthening regional ESG data quality for greater actionable insights 

This panel will look at ways to improve the transparency, accuracy, reliability, and completeness of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data within the Middle East. It will ask what types of data are needed, if regulatory requirements need to be updated or changed and if these are critical to attract and meet investor expectations. 

Moderator: Dr Jelena Janjusevic
, Associate Professor of Finance, Heriot Watt University Dubai 

Anne Marie Thodsen, Managing Director, The Umbrella Institute 

Vash Singh, Sustainability Director, KEO Sustainability + Environment

Wassim Merheby
, CEO & Co-Founder, Verofax

Lisa Knudsen, Vice President & Head of ESG, RAKBank 

Anna Jakobsen
, EMEA Leader - Sustainability & Commercial Advisory, GHD

CLIX talks – Startups in the spotlight

16:30 | Neha Jain, Founder, Zero Circle

 | Dian Primavera, Head of Business Development, Fairatmos

 | Shirook Ali, Founder, Ecosystem Informatics

 | Heba As'ad, Founder, SmartEye Global