Ernst & Young has appointed a former Spanish government minister, Juan Costa Climent, as its global leader for climate change and sustainability services.

He will lead a global team of more than 700 professionals who are also involved in assurance, advisory and tax services. Climent has until now served as a member of the Spanish Parliament, but has also been involved in sustainability issues. From 1996 to 2004 he held senior positions in the Spanish government, including Minister for Science, Technology and Industry; Secretary of State for Finance; and Secretary of State for International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Climent began his professional career at Ernst & Young. From 2005 to 2007 he led the firm’s tax practice in Spain. He has also dedicated a great part of his professional career to working on sustainability and climate change issues and has recently published a book, “An Unstoppable Revolution,” which looks at the benefits for the world economy of protecting the environment. He has also worked for the International Monetary Fund as an adviser.

“Every 25 years, the global economy doubles in size,” he said in a statement. “This rate of growth places great strain on the planet’s climate and significant obligations for the business community, governments, and the general public to support sustainability initiatives. The challenges facing business are to anticipate future risks, to understand that sustainability can benefit business and the environment together, and that transparency in this area is becoming a crucial issue. I look forward to helping Ernst & Young’s clients become market leaders in the new sustainable economy and deal with sustainability reporting requirements.”

Climent will be responsibile for sustainability services on the international side. Americas leader of climate change and sustainability services Steve Starbuck and Americas director of environmental sustainability Leisha John will continue their roles in North and South America. Climent will be based mainly in London.

“We are delighted that Juan is rejoining Ernst & Young,” said Ernst & Young chairman and CEO Jim Turley in a statement. “His experience of our business and of international public policy ensures he is well-placed to help our clients respond to new global requirements and expectations on sustainability reporting and other challenges associated with climate change. We believe there are demonstrable economic benefits if the right approach is taken.”

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