Meet the Orangutan Alliance Team

Meet the Orangutan Alliance Team

Maria Abadilla
Founder and Chairperson

Orangutan Alliance was established by founder and responsible food system advocate, Maria Abadilla as a result of her time spent working in the food industry on certification, brand management and product development.

As a marketing consultant working internationally, she has lived around the world and seen first hand the effects of non-sustainable palm oil development on people, on the environment and on endangered species.

As a passionate campaigner for responsible food systems she wanted to assist grassroots projects working on conservation and reforestation affected by this issue but believed that part of the solution needs to come from the cause – affected by demand and consumers awareness.

Seeing the urgency of the issue from NGO’s, frustration from consumers and motivated by slow policy response and regulation, she set out to give consumers a choice – a choice to be part of the solution through their purchase via the Orangutan Alliance Palm Oil Free Seal. She developed the program to achieve three outcomes – to provide consumer choice, to produce a new revenue stream for grassroots projects and to support businesses that want to create products with care.

Through her passion, Orangutan Alliance has built international networks with food technologists, cosmetic manufacturers, agricultural experts, ingredient makers, researchers, policy makers, conservation networks, influencers and the media with the aim of working together to develop solutions to this issue.

Kate Macdonald
Advisor Economics, Social & Environmental Standards

Kate Macdonald is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, having held previous positions at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Australian National University, and Oxford University. Her research focuses on the politics of transnational production and business, with a particular focus on social, labour and human rights regulation of global business. Recent projects have examined how social and environmental standards governing production in agribusiness sectors such as tea and palm oil have been influenced by a range of transnational organisations, including international banks, financial institutions, and multi-stakeholder standard-setting schemes such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance.

Sarah Young
Advisor for campaigns

As well as sitting on the Board of the Orangutan Alliance as advisor for campaigns, Sarah is leader of her local Sustainability Alliance, runs online environmental groups and manages a global environmental news page, ‘Plastic Free Future.’ She was a 2018 sustainability judge for the Lord Mayor of Brisbane’s business awards and is a media presenter at the Lord Mayor Asia Pacific Summit 2019 on ‘Ocean Plastic Pollution’.

Sarah is committed to creating positive change for the future of our planet,all life on it and for future generations.

Claire Madeleine Gold
Policy Committee Advisor

Having graduated with her Master's in Environmental Law and Sustainable Development with a First Class honours award, she focused her research interests on marine conservation and the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems.

Claire currently works for the Knowledge Management team in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support for the United Nations in New York. She supports the Orangutan Alliance as a Policy Advisor

Stephan Kaestner
Advisory Team

Stephan is an advid wildlife supporter and paints Orangutans with passion. Having a managed major IT teams, he helps support Orangutan Alliance with advise on systems integration. Stephan is a valuable part of the Advisory team in ensuring that the team works efficiently.

Kate Horsfall
Marketing and Communications Advisor

Kate is an award winning Marketing & Communications professional based in Melbourne, with over 10 years experience in businesses across the fashion, beauty, media, lifestyle, major event, tourism and not for profit industries, both locally and internationally.

A passionate conservationist, she is utelising her years of Marketing and Communications expertise to assist environmental conservation and animal protection organisations to maximise their positive impact and influence around the world.

Natalie Long