Laura Kelly comes to IIED from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), where she most recently led work on business engagement. This involved engaging with business on the Sustainable Development Goals, developing programmes promoting inclusive and responsible market development, and leading and managing a team to deliver an annual £16m programme portfolio.
Kelly is also visiting professor in practice at the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics.
Welcoming Kelly to the institute, IIED director Andrew Norton said: "Laura comes to us from leading DFID’s engagement with business on sustainable development. Her experience in promoting socially responsible market development, including fair and ethical trade and supply chains, will be a huge asset to IIED as we seek to strengthen our work with private sector actors at different scales – from the ‘largest private sector’ of informal micro-entrepreneurs through to global corporates."
"Laura will bring great qualities of leadership and vision to IIED. We are looking forward hugely to working with her as we strengthen our engagement on sustainable markets in the coming years."
Kelly added: "I'm very excited to be joining the institute at such an important time. The Sustainable Development Goals set out a common framework for governments, citizens and business to address global environment and development challenges. IIED is well placed to help build and assess the partnerships needed if we are to achieve these goals, and I'm looking forward to being part of that effort."
Kelly has held senior roles in government and NGOs, working on a wide range of sustainable development issues. She worked at the international NGO Action Aid, where she led on agriculture and trade policy. She was also European policy director at the ONE Campaign, an international campaigning and advocacy organisation working to eradicate poverty. While at DFID, she led the London Ebola Crisis Response Unit that co-ordinated the UK government response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa in 2014-15.
Kelly has degrees in agriculture and international development and has written and lectured on sustainable trade and development. She is a trustee of the Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT UK), the UK arm of a Canadian NGO that works with young people to harness digital technologies for development.
IIED's Shaping Sustainable Markets research group drives IIED's efforts to ensure that markets contribute to positive social, environmental, and economic outcomes. It works on business and sustainable development, market structure, environmental economics, trade and investment, tourism, and mining.