At her new employer, international FMCG company PZ Cussons, Donnelly will report to chief financial officer Brandon Leigh.
Donnelly's experience includes producing Virgin Group's first sustainability report and leading sustainability at utilities firm Anglian Water. She most recently worked at John Lewis between February and August this year.
She told PRWeek that PZ Cussons was planning to ramp up its engagement with environmental and supply chain issues and in particular address the "hot topic" of palm oil, which is a key ingredient used by the company.
"The company had people working on sustainability before I arrived, but now trying to consolidate that, ramp it up and give it some teeth," she said.
"There has been a lot of focus on palm oil. We are members of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil – as it a hot topic at the moment, so this will allow someone to have more time to manage those relationships," she said.
The Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil was formed to combat the destruction caused to the environment in Indonesia and Malaysia by the production of palm oil and has more than 1,000 corporate and third sector members.
Donnelly said her brief was also to reduce PZ Cussons' packaging and waste and she was committed to collaborating with NGOs to do so.
The FTSE 250 company's corporate and financial comms have been handled by College Hill since June 2013.