Smart Cities

The Official Top Speakers on Sustainable Smart Cities to Hire in 2023

What is a Smart City?

A smart city is a location in which traditional services are enhanced and made more efficient through digitalisation, ultimately benefiting and improving the lives of its inhabitants. Such ‘smartness’ is not only about increasing digital solutions throughout society, but also about creating a better quality of life for citizens. There is already a collection of cities across the globe that are classed as a ‘Smart City’, which includes: Dubai UAE, GIFT City India, Neom Saudi Arabia, Shanghai China, Amsterdam Netherlands, Brisbane Australia, Copenhagen Denmark and Milton Keynes UK.

Source: European Commission & McKinsey

How are Smart Cities Sustainable?

Smart cities utilise technology to improve the efficiency of urban operations and services, whilst respecting social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects. Such improvements can span everything from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to upgrading waste disposal facilities and integrating more efficient methods of heating or lighting in buildings. Such aspects are significant contributors to the environmental impact of a community, and so by improving them, smart cities are increasingly more sustainable than normal cities. As smart cities continue to be both created and advanced, it is expected that smart cities of the future will account for 75% of global energy consumption.

Source: Forbes & UNECE

How Can I Learn More About Smart Cities?

A fantastic way to learn more about smart cities is to hire a keynote speaker on sustainable smart cities! Here at The Sustainability Speakers Agency, we are fortunate to work with countless sustainability experts, many of whom are experts on the creation and advancement of sustainable smart cities. Following a survey with happy clients from across 297 events, we have compiled the top official speakers on sustainable smart cities to hire for your next event!

Official Top Speakers on Sustainable Smart Cities:

  1. Dr Ayesha Khanna – Founder & CEO of Addo
  2. Alice Charles – Former Lead of Cities, Infrastructure & Urban Services for the World Economic Forum
  3. Sheri Hinish – Principal of Global Consulting Sustainability Technology & Ecosystems Leader for Ernst & Young
  4. Nikki Greenberg – Founder & Chief Innovation Officer of Real Estate of the Future
  5. Rachel Armstrong – Professor of Experimental Architecture at Newcastle University
  6. Parag Khanna – Founder & CEO of Climate Alpha
  7. Charles Perry – Founder of Sustainable Future for All
  8. Claire O’Neil – Former Cabinet Minister for Energy & Clean Growth
  9. Sue Garrard – EVP of Sustainable Business Development & Communications for Unilever
  10. Mike Barry – Former Director of Sustainable Business for Marks & Spencer
  11. Tom Rivett-Carnac – Former Senior Advisor to the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  12. Maja Göpel – Former Secretary General of the German Advisory Council on Global Change
  13. Professor Dr. Johan Rockström – Joint Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research at the University of Potsdam

Dr Ayesha Khanna

Dr Ayesha Khanna is a luminary on sustainable smart cities and artificial intelligence. As the Co-Founder and CEO of Addo, one of Asia’s foremost AI companies, she champions the ethical and responsible use of technology for societal advancement. Her background, including a PhD from LSE where she delved into smart city infrastructures, has firmly established her as a thought leader in the area. Beyond her entrepreneurial feats, Ayesha has contributed to major institutions, from The Economist to the Singapore Government. Her commitment to gender equality is evident through initiatives like 21st Century Girls. As a coveted keynote speaker, she offers invaluable insights into the future of tech, smart cities, and AI. Trusted by industry giants, Ayesha’s voice resonates across global platforms, making her an unmatched choice for those aiming to navigate the digital future.

Official Feedback for Dr Ayesha Khanna:

“Listen to this woman! The boss of one of the World’s most important artificial intelligence wants us to shape our own future.”Focus Magazine

Alice Charles

Alice Charles stands at the forefront of smart city innovation, drawing from her extensive experience as the former Lead of Cities at the World Economic Forum and now as the Director of Cities, Planning, and Design for Arup. With 18 years in urban development, she masterfully addresses the complex interplay of city planning, transport, energy, and climate change. Responsible for pioneering projects such as the WEF’s Fourth Industrial Revolution City Preparedness Protocol, Alice has consistently showcased her expertise in integrating technology into urban landscapes. Garnering global recognition, including the Irish Echo 40 Under 40 award, she is a sought-after keynote speaker, celebrated for her insightful talks and transformative ideas on the future of smart cities.

Sheri Hinish

Sheri Hinish, celebrated as the “Supply Chain Queen”, is a luminary in the realms of supply chains and sustainability. As cities globally pivot towards smarter, sustainable solutions, Sheri’s role as the Principal of Global Sustainability Innovation for Ernst & Young informs her expertise on such developments. Her tenure at IBM and Blue Yonder highlighted her aptitude for leveraging technology and innovative practices – essential components in shaping smart cities. Recognised with accolades like “World’s Most Influential Women Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2022”, Sheri is a beacon of sustainable transformation. As the Founder of the Supply Chain Revolution Podcast and a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Sheri offers insights crucial to the evolution of cities into smarter, sustainable hubs. As a keynote speaker, Sheri bridges the intricate web between supply chains and sustainability, relating such expertise to the smart city paradigm, making her an invaluable asset for any urban development discourse.

Official Feedback for Sheri Hinish:

“Sheri is such a great supply chain resource to work with… Sheri is always more than prepared, able to field questions and make intelligent recommendations, plus share her expertise in a unique way. We will continue to work with Sheri on various projects as we evolve. I highly recommend Sheri…”IBM

Nikki Greenberg

Nikki Greenberg is a globally recognised real estate futurist and a trailblazing keynote speaker on smart cities. Her presentations skillfully blend charisma and insight, unravelling the nexus between real space and cyberspace. Renowned for her forward-thinking approach, she not only captivates audiences with emerging technological possibilities but also provides actionable insights on leveraging them. With an extensive international career spanning various continents and leadership roles in Fortune 500 companies, Nikki’s expertise encompasses a vast range of topics including innovation, the Metaverse, IoT, sustainability and more. As the Founder of Women in PropTech and a top-rated speaker by industry leaders like TechCrunch, Nikki Greenberg is undoubtedly the voice shaping the future of smart cities and the built environment.

Official Feedback for Nikki Greenberg:

“Nikki’s topic ‘The 2030 Opportunity’ enabled us to all think about what’s coming next, highlighting megatrends that will shape the future of our industry. We had an outstanding turnout and insightful event, thank you so much Nikki!”Opteon

Rachel Armstrong

Rachel Armstrong, a pioneering Professor of Experimental Architecture from Newcastle University, stands at the forefront of smart city discussions. Drawing on her rich background, from medical doctor to revolutionary architect, Rachel embodies the essence of innovation. Propelled by her ‘Black Sky Thinking’, she’s reimagining the foundations of modern architecture with a keen focus on sustainability and reducing environmental harm. Her groundbreaking work in metabolic research is leading the charge in developing ‘near-living’ building systems. A TEDGlobal speaker with over 1.4 million views, Rachel seamlessly integrates synthetic biology and smart chemistry into her designs, inspired by nature’s marvels. A visionary in every sense, Rachel’s insights into sustainable urban futures are indispensable for any smart city discourse.

Dr Parag Khanna

Dr Parag Khanna is a trailblazing global strategist and a paramount authority on smart cities. As the visionary behind Climate Alpha, an AI-powered analytics firm, he adeptly merges artificial intelligence with property forecasting, integrating pivotal climate scenarios. Furthermore, his role at FutureMap and his extensive writings underline his prowess in analysing the global futures of cities and climate adaptation. A Georgetown University alumnus with key stints at esteemed institutions like the World Economic Forum and LSE, Parag’s expansive career has solidified his reputation. An author whose works resonate globally, and a voice trusted by worldwide media and governments, Dr. Khanna is an unmatched keynote speaker, delivering insights on global trends, digital disruption and forward-thinking strategies. Don’t miss the opportunity to elevate your event with his expertise.

Official Feedback for Dr Parag Khanna:

“Parag is a brilliant, energetic and mesmerising speaker who carried the opening day at our recent symposium, the largest gathering of geospatial intelligence practitioners in the world. Our almost 4000 attendees bring wide-ranging areas of expertise regarding a myriad of emerging technologies, including remote sensing, data analytics and intelligence for national security. They were universally blown away by Parag’s talk and the concepts he raised were grist for superb conversations and debates during the entirety of our event.”US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation

Charles Perry

Charles Perry, with his vast experience in sustainable development, is uniquely positioned as a keynote speaker on smart cities. Smart cities embody the intersection of urban development and technological advancements to enhance the quality of life, and at their core is sustainability – Charles’ forte. As the Co-Founder of SecondNature, a pioneering sustainability consultancy, and the Founder of Sustainable Future For All, his commitment to environmental progress is unwavering. His extensive career includes influential roles as Partner of RISE, COP26 Climate Champion and an advisor for David Cameron’s Quality of Life Group. Charles’ rich history with giants like BP, Shell and Al Gore enhances his reputation as a dynamic keynote speaker, emphasising the fiscal, societal and environmental merits of sustainability. In a rapidly urbanising world, his voice guides city planners, policymakers, and businesses in understanding the imperative of aligning sustainability with urban advancement.

Claire O’Neil

Claire O’Neill, a distinguished environmental expert and the former Cabinet Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, draws on her extensive experience in environmental policymaking and political insight as a smart cities speaker. Recognised for her pivotal role in leading the UK’s winning bid to host COP26 and her substantial contributions to the UK’s environmental policies, Claire provides invaluable perspectives on climate change action and sustainable transformation. Claire’s insight into clean energy and green finance garnered through her roles in politics and organisations focused on environmental impact, provides her with a comprehensive understanding of sustainable urban development. Her role as a keynote speaker is essential in fostering dialogue and disseminating knowledge about the creation of smart cities that align with global climate goals and sustainability practices.

Sue Garrard

Sue Garrard is a renowned sustainability expert with an extensive background in crafting pivotal sustainability strategies for companies like Mars, Primark and the BBC. Having spent over a decade at Unilever, Sue has amassed profound insights into enhancing sustainability. As the Founder of Sue Garrard Consulting Ltd, she has gained immense respect, advising on sustainability transformations. From her initial role as the Board Director of Fishburn Hedges to her current position as EVP of Sustainable Business Development and Communications at Unilever, Sue has been a steadfast advocate for sustainable practices. Sue Garrard’s sustainability expertise is highly pertinent to the development of smart cities, focusing on integrating sustainable practices and innovations into urban development. By leveraging her knowledge, smart city developers can create urban ecosystems that are not only technologically advanced but also sustainable and future-proofed.

Mike Barry

Mike Barry, the former Director of Sustainable Business for Marks & Spencer, ardently champions sustainability. Now spearheading Mikebarryeco, he concentrates on infusing sustainability into leadership, business transformation, and start-up growth. A Strategic Advisor for Clim8 Invest, Mike is zealous about sculpting a balanced society and robust economy. His discourse encompasses his fervour for the environment and sustainable societal structures. Having initiated the revolutionary Plan A at M&S, generating £750m in benefits, Mike has demonstrated the potential for integrating advanced, eco-friendly solutions within large-scale business models – a concept directly translatable to the development of smart cities. His experience in achieving carbon neutrality and zero waste can guide urban planners in creating cities that are more efficient, resilient, and sustainable.

Tom Rivett-Carnac

Tom Rivett-Carnac, a renowned authority on sustainability, has marked his career by significantly impacting global environmental policies and strategies. As a dedicated political lobbyist, he has worked with the United Nations and architected the groundbreaking Paris Agreement in 2015. He co-founded Global Optimism to foster “stubborn optimism,” urging a challenge to systemic processes contributing to climate change, aiming for carbon net zero by 2050. Tom Rivett-Carnac’s expertise in sustainability directly relates to the development of smart cities, as his profound understanding of environmental economics and renewable energy offers innovative solutions for creating urban areas that are resource-efficient and eco-friendly.

Official Feedback for Tom Rivett-Carnac:

“The event was great and everything went well. Tom did a very interesting speech that was really appreciated. I wish to thank you very much for your precious collaboration.”Sofidel

Maja Göpel

Maja Göpel is a prominent political economist and sustainability scientist revered for her transformative work in shaping society’s future through innovative development solutions and policy. As the Research Director of The New Institute Think Tank, her insights, backed by over 25 years of expertise, are pivotal in promoting actionable sustainability strategies for governments, organisations and businesses. Maja’s distinct approach and substantive experience have made her a beacon in the journey to sustainability, fostering positive change and environmental consciousness. Her commitment to investing in the future is evident through her varied roles, notably as Secretary-General of the German Advisory Council on Global Change, where she astutely identified research gaps and provided solutions to international environmental issues. Maja significantly influences smart city strategies, ensuring that environmental, social and governance aspects are intricately woven into the urban fabric, fostering sustainable smart cities.

Professor Dr. Johan Rockström

Professor Dr. Johan Rockström is a distinguished Swedish scientist, renowned globally for his innovative work on environmental sustainability. With over 25 years of unparalleled experience, he serves as the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Creator of the influential Planetary Boundaries framework and 2020 Laureate of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Johan’s expertise is unmatched. Joining forces with David Attenborough for the Netflix documentary ‘Breaking Boundaries’, he seamlessly bridges science and society. His comprehensive understanding of ecological systems and sustainability aligns with the essence of smart cities, which aim to leverage technology and intelligent design to create environmentally friendly, efficient, and sustainable urban environments.

Hire a Speaker on Sustainable Smart Cities Today!

If you are interested in hiring one of the leading experts on sustainable smart cities from our official selection, get in touch today! Contact one of our dedicated booking agents to hire a smart cities speaker by calling 0203 9355 587 or alternatively, complete our online contact form. Stay ahead of the curve and learn all you need to know about smart cities with one of our expert keynote speakers today!

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