Energy economist takes helm at green business coalition on a temporary basis after Nigel Topping's departure in January
Dr María Mendiluce has been appointed interim CEO of the We Mean Business Coalition, the global umbrella organisation which brings together seven green business non-profit groups that are working to accelerate the transition towards a zero carbon economy.
Mendiluce, who is currently managing director for circular economy, cities, and mobility, and climate and energy at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) - one of the seven Coalition partners - steps up to the role after Nigel Topping's departure as CEO in January.
Topping is now working full time as the 'High Level Climate Action Champion' for COP26, having been appointed to lead the UK's efforts to galvanise private sector action in the lead up to the crucial international UN climate change summit in Glasgow later this year.
In taking over the reins from Topping, Mendiluce will lead the Coalition alongside her existing role at WBCSD "while the recruitment of the permanent, full-time CEO is underway", the group explained.
It remains unclear how long Mendiluce is expected to stay in post as interim CEO at We Mean Business, nor whether she is likely to lead the Coalition into the critical Glasgow talks in November.
"I am thrilled to take up this role at a moment in time when we urgently need to get on track to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030," said Mendiluce. "This is both critical and possible. The We Mean Business coalition has a major role to play, bringing together seven global organisations and the hundreds of businesses we work with."
As well as the WBCSD, the other six non-profit groups which make up the We Mean Business Coalition include CDP, BSR, Ceres, the European Corporate Leaders Group, the B Team, and The Climate Group.
The Coalition states that its mission is to "ensure that the world economy is on track to avoid dangerous climate change by 2020 while delivering sustainable growth and prosperity for all".
Mendiluce comes to the role with over 20 years' experience in sustainable development, energy and climate action, having previously held senior positions at the Spanish Prime Minister's Economic Bureau, Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, and the International Energy Agency.
She also holds a PhD in energy economics and regularly teaches at universities and publishes in academic journals on green economy topics.
Mendiluce takes over at a testing time for the global economy and green business, with what has been widely viewed as a critical year for climate action in 2020 ahead of COP26 now quickly becoming overshadowed by the escalating coronavirus crisis. Speculation is mounting that the Glasgow Summit may yet have to be rescheduled if the pandemic is not brought under control in the coming months.
However, Mendiluce stressed that the fundamental rationale behind the need to develop a zero emission economy was as compelling as ever.
"It is more important than ever to highlight that business is transforming and driving the transition to zero-carbon to give governments the confidence to step up," she said. "Governments can harness business momentum through implementing clear climate policies to ensure we successfully halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. By doing so they will enable companies to invest now and innovate at the scale and pace that is necessary to create the future we all want."
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