Alyssa Jade McDonald-Baertl has a dynamic and energetic entrepreneurial perspective and approach to international development, a passion for the role of research and evidence-based change, and strong knowledge of sustainable business in the midcap/SME sector. She currently advises policy and programs in the European Commission regarding sustainable finance, eco-innovation and deployment for commercial or public-private partnerships to adapt to new market conditions brought on by the green and social economy. She is also a board member of UnternehmensGruen (German Federation of Green Economy), a politically oriented entrepreneurs’ association that campaigns for the environment and a sustainable economy.
A decade ago, she founded a social enterprise to grow and harvest cacao in Ecuador, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea for processing and sale in Europe, producing high-grade chocolate while increasing farmer livelihoods and agroforestry. Responding to the need for better farmer resilience, the enterprise pivoted to focus on cacao farmer education. This transdisciplinary education, drawn from planetary health and living income methodologies, contributed to improved farmer health, wealth and crop yields from Latin America to the Pacific. In the deep past, she spent a decade in corporate business as Head of International Communications at Deutsche Telekom, developing communication strategy for more than 50 countries, and as International Brand Manager for T-Systems (DEU), focused on M&A and market development. She is a former board member of the European Sustainable Business Federation and is currently conducting post-graduate research in Environmental Science regarding farmer training.
She was appointed to the CGIAR System Board in September 2020.