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  • Writer's pictureEthan Fulton

New podcast: Women at the epicenter of climate action

Women have a critical role in fighting the battle against climate change, but there is a long way to go in ensuring their empowerment and representation.

Zest Associates Managing Director Jeffrey Beyer recently moderated Episode 14 of the Future Energy Insights podcast on-site at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. The episode spotlighted two women working at the transformative intersection of renewable energy and sustainable technology. Joining Beyer were:

  1. Susan Payne, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of agri-tech startup Sustainable Planet

  2. Nada Abubakr, the Middle East lead at the Ricardo Group's global water practice

Click the icon to access the episode.

Women currently make up just over a third of the renewable energy workforce, but their impact on climate policies is profound. Research shows that organizations with a higher female board representation are more likely to commit to renewable energy investments and efficiency improvements. Women are also disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change, with the United Nations Environment Programme estimating that women make and girls make up 80% of those displaced by it.

As a leader of water conservation initiatives in the MENA region, Abubakr notes the importance of water-sensitive infrastructure as the UAE grows and the crucial interlink between water and climate.

Climate funds disproportionately do not go to women, and there is a long way to go in making development finance institutions accountable on gender equity, says Payne. However, on a hopeful note, she says there has been drastic change in women's representation in policymaking spaces like COP28.

As a 2023 World Food Forum Startup Innovation Award winner, Payne says she has seen a drastic shift in customer attitudes toward sustainable products. 75% of European consumers now look at sustainability as a driver of their purchasing decisions. She highlights zero emissions protein sources like those produced by Sustainable Planet as being critical in the fight against catastrophic climate change, with meat production being such a large part of global emissions.

Continue tuning in to the Future Energy Insights podcast for an in-depth look at pressing sustainability and energy topics.


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