Helen Crowley

Head of Sustainable Sourcing Innovation, Kering

Until January 2015, Dr. Crowley was the Conservation and Ecosystem Services Specialist in the Sustainability Department at the Luxury, Sports and Lifestyle company, Kering. In this position she supported Kering’s 21 brands (including Gucci and Puma) in developing and implementing more sustainable business approaches. In particular, she focused on ways to reduce business’s environmental footprint through more sustainable sourcing of raw materials and through measuring and monitoring the impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems through the Environment Profit & Loss Accounting. Dr. Crowley has developed collaborations between Kering and IUCN – notably with the Boa & Python Specialist Groups and the Crocodile Specialist Group,

Prior to her work at Kering, Dr Crowley spent most of her 25 year career in conservation and development programs. She was born in Tasmania, Australia, and completed her Honours degree in Zoology at the University of Tasmania and after which she went on to do her Ph.D. at the Australian National University in Canberra supported by a Commonwealth Scholarship. Her Ph.D. focused in field of eco-physiology exploring the energetics of lactation in two species of marsupials across different environments. For her post-doctoral research, Dr. Crowley spent two summers with the Australian Antarctic Research Expeditions at the Research Station on Macquarie Island looking into the foraging strategies and energetics two species of Fur Seals as a contribution to their conservation strategy. Her other research work included a study on the energetics and distribution of the endangered greater Bilby in the Great Sandy Desert and the foraging behaviour and impact of infrastructure development on Mountain Pygmy Possums in the Snowy Mountains of Australia.

In 1990, she went to Madagascar to be the first Manager of Berenty Reserve, one of the most important ecotourism destinations in the country. She also consulted on a range of ecotourism and conservation projects across Madagascar. After several years in Madagascar, Dr. Crowley moved to the USA where she worked for an environmental consulting company advising companies (including Wrigleys and Whirlpool) and training corporate staff on environmental management issues.

In 2001, Dr. Crowley took up the position of Assistant Director of Africa Program for WCS and was responsible for supporting and managing a wide range of conservation programs in Madagascar and across Central Africa. After two years, Dr. Crowley returned to Madagascar to be the Director of the WCS Madagascar Country Program with projects across the country. She was responsible for launching a pioneer forest-based carbon offset (REDD+) program in Madagascar and for expanding the WCS program to marine and coastal conservation. She also worked with private sector companies to develop a program of organic cotton production that integrated social, biodiversity and ecosystem service benefits. In 2008, Helen returned to the WCS headquarters at the Bronx Zoo, New York to take up a new position as Associate Director of Market-based Conservation Initiatives. In this role she bridged the NGO and private sector worlds through supporting the development of community-based enterprises, developing and launching the Conservation Enterprise Development Fund, contributing to the development of the Wildlife Friendly Certification Scheme and cultivating new corporate partnerships for WCS. During this time, Dr. Crowley was adjunct Research Scientist at Columbia University where she taught in the Earth Institute’s Centre for Environmental Research and Conservation. She has played a significant role in various WCS strategic initiatives including the design of the first Global Conservation Program Strategic Plan.