Alison Ward has over 20 years of international experience in sustainability and corporate affairs, shaping system change and translating social impact programmes into commercial value within the FMCG, food, and apparel sectors.
Alison is the CEO of CottonConnect, where she leads a team of 45 employees and over 270 implementing partners in India, Pakistan, China and Peru; impacting the lives of 700,000 farming families. Under Alison’s leadership the organization: drives supply chain transparency connecting sustainable fibres from farm to store; focuses on the rights and skills of women in supply chains through pioneering gender programmes; and continues to develop innovations at a farm level. She leads cotton strategies and programmes with Primark, Burberry, C&A, John Lewis and Kering.
Previously Alison was a Consultant to Mondelez International and Primark, where she developed the business case to invest $400m into Cocoa Life, and initiated fair and sustainable cotton practices.
Alison’s commitment to sustainable supply chains started during her four years at Cadbury where she was Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, leading her department’s integration with Kraft Foods and pioneering the first mainstream Fairtrade chocolate bar across six commonwealth markets. She started her career in brand strategy for retailers at communications consultancy, Hill & Knowlton.
Alison has spoken on agriculture and supply chains at 25+ industry events in China, Hong Kong, India and the UK including the Innovation Forum, Ethical Corporation, and the CSR Asia Summit. She lectures at business schools including Ashridge/ Hult, Cambridge University and Nottingham University.
With a mission to drive scalable change, Alison serves as an Advisory Board Member at Textile Exchange and on Forum for the Future’s Working Group, Cotton 2040. She also sat on the Sustainability Advisory Committee for the London Olympic Games and has been a Coach and Mentor to commercial teams at WWF and the Ethical Trade Initiative.
Alison has completed the Senior Executive Programme at Ashridge Business School and the Business & Sustainability Programme at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. She holds a BA Hons in English from the University of Birmingham.