José María Figueres Olsen

Former President of Costa Rica

José María Figueres is a prominent politician and environmentalist who has played a significant role in global sustainability and leadership. Notably, he served as the President of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998, focusing on environmental conservation and modernisation.

"Climate change is the ultimate challenge"

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  • Sustainable Economic Development
  • The Economic Opportunity in Addressing Climate Change
  • Attracting Foreign Investment
  • Innovation and Competitiveness
  • Leadership


He is fluent in English and Spanish.

How he presents

José María Figueres is recognised as a world-class speaker and moderator. His inspirational presentations are both well researched and compelling.

Books & Media

  • Key Elements for a 2020 Competitiveness Agenda in the Americas
  • Remarkable Events in Central America: International Perspectives on Sustainability


 José María Figueres Olsen  - Microsite

In Detail

After years of public service, José María joined the Management Board of the World Economic Forum and was appointed its first CEO. He was the chairperson of the Carbon War Room, created by Sir Richard Branson, later also becoming its chief executive. José María helped launch the Global Ocean Commission and became its Co-Chair together with David Miliband and Trevor Manuel. Now as Co-Chair of Ocean Unite he has taken on the task to chart a way forward for the high seas; to identify challenges and threats and highlight reforms that will allow the ocean to be managed effectively, productively and sustainably for the maximum benefit to humankind. In 2017, José María resigned from his position at the Carbon War Room, which later transformed into the Rocky Mountain Institute. In 2022, he pursued a presidential campaign during the Costa Rican elections but was defeated by Rodrigo Chaves.


José María is involved in the search for solutions to global challenges and offers a truly unique perspective into the world of business, international affairs and development. He speaks knowledgeably and passionately about how changes in the world can be brought about through innovation and principled leadership.


Recent Reviews

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International Youth Gathering

José María Figueres gave a really powerful speech with content totally related to the topic of the event. He interacted with the audience really well, they really liked him.

Mexican Government Organisation

Wealth Creation Summit

José María Figueres was excellent. He is very engaging and approachable and he had great content. He is a people’s person which endeared the audience to him.

Economic Development Union

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