Jane Nelson Photo
Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy

Jane Nelson is Director of the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She was a director and then senior advisor at The Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) from 1993 to 2013, and has been a senior associate with the Institute for Sustainability Leadership at Cambridge University and an adviser and track leader at the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2001, she worked with the United Nations Global Compact in the office of the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, preparing his report for the General Assembly on cooperation between the UN and the private sector. Prior to 1993, Nelson worked for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in Africa, for FUNDES in Latin America, and as a Vice President at Citibank working for the bank's Financial Institutions Group in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.


Nelson has authored or co-authored five books and over 100 publications on corporate responsibility, public-private partnerships and the role of the private sector in sustainable development, including five of the World Economic Forum's Global Corporate Citizenship reports. She was a 2016 Arthur Vining Davis Aspen Fellow, and a recipient of the Keystone Center's 2005 Leadership in Education Award and co-author of the Academy of Management’s 2015 Best Book Award for the Social Issues in Management Division.


Nelson serves on the Boards of Directors of Newmont and the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative and is an Emeritus Director of the World Environment Center. She serves as the Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Food Systems Innovation and on the Forum’s Stewardship Board for Food Security and Agriculture, and on the following advisory councils: the Economic Advisory Board of the International Finance Corporation; the National Community Advisory Council, Bank of America; the Global Citizenship Advisory Council, Abbott Laboratories: the Sustainability Advisory Council, ExxonMobil; the International Advisory Council, APCO Worldwide; the Advisory Group, Pearson’s Project Literacy campaign; the Advisory Group, Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform; the NGO Futures Advisory Group at InterAction; the Bellagio Program’s Advisory Group at the Rockefeller Foundation; the Circle of Advisers, Business Fights Poverty; the International Advisory Network, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre; and the Programme Advisory Committee, Norwegian Business for Peace Foundation.


Previously, Nelson was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on International Cooperation, Public-Private Partnership and Sustainable Development, and served on the Boards of Directors of FSG, Abraaj, SITA (now part of Suez Environnement), the World Environment Center, the UK Environment Foundation, AIESEC, and the International Council of Toy Industries CARE Foundation. She previously served on advisory councils for Merck Vaccines, British Telecom, Youth Business International, Henderson Fund Managers, UNDP’s Inclusive Markets Initiative, the UK Department for International Development, the Danish Ministry for Social Affairs, the Copenhagen Centre, Instituto Ethos in Brazil, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, the Ford Foundation’s Corporate Involvement Initiative, the International Council on Mining and Metals, and the Global Business Coalition Against HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (now GBCHealth).


Educated in Zimbabwe, the United States, South Africa and the United Kingdom, Nelson was a Rotary Exchange student in Michigan, and has an M.A. (Oxon) Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a BSc. Agricultural Economics (Cum Laude), University of Natal, South Africa.

Mailing Address

Harvard Kennedy School
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138