Ms. Figueres Olsen is an internationally recognized leader on global climate change. She is currently a member of the Global Commission on People Centered Energy Transition, convened by the International Energy Agency, and an advisor to the president of COP 26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. Ms Figueres Olsen is co-founder of the social enterprise Global Optimism, Ltd. and is co host of the podcast Outrage and Optimism. She grants strategic guidance to multiple companies, including Amazon and MacQuiarie, and is the co-author of the recently published book entitled “The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis”. Ms. Figueres Olsen has held the position of independent director in the board of directors of ACCIONA from May 18, 2017.
Ms. Figueres Olsen was a distinguished fellow of the non-profit Conservation International and leader of Mission 2020. Among other positions, she has been Climate Leader for the World Bank and member of the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation. Before that, she was vice-chairperson to the rating committee of the Carbon Rating Agency and also member of the Carbon Finance Working Group of Project Catalyst. Ms. Figueres Olsen was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations from 2010 to 2016. Throughout her career, Ms. Figueres has played a key role in international climate change negotiations, having directed the Conferences of the Parties of the Climate Change Conferences of Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013 and Lima 2014, and culminating her efforts with the historical Paris Agreement of 2015. She was formerly director of the Technical Secretariat of Renewable Energy in the Americas (REIA) and, in 1995, she founded the Center for Sustainable Development in the Americas (CSDA), a non-profit organization which she directed for eight years.
She has been a senior adviser to C-Quest Capital, principal climate change advisor to Endesa Latinoamérica, co-chairperson of the Advisory Committee of Formula E, member of the Scientific Advisory Panel of the UNEP, advisory senate of the ICE Organization Limited, member of the technical advisory board of the Prototype Carbon Fund of the World Bank and was an advisory board member at the Italian energy company Eni, S.p.A.
Ms. Figueres Olsen is a shareholder in Grupo Agricola Industrial San Cristobal, S.A., which develops its corporate activity in the agricultural industry. She also was a member of the board of directors of the International Institute for Energy Conservation between 2006 and 2008, and of the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) during 2008.
Ms. Figueres Olsen is an anthropologist, economist and analyst. She pursued her studies at the London School of Economics and Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.), in 1981 and 1991 respectively. She has later been granted honorary doctorates from multiple universities including the Universities of Georgetown, Yale, Massachusetts and Bristol.