To secure our collective future on planet earth, we need to learn to live in harmony with nature.
To do this, we have to change the system – shifting from short-term gains to long-term prosperity. The time has come to move from an economic model that maximises profit at the expense of the environment to one that protects, restores, and strengthens it for future generations.
Since 2013, we’ve been on a mission to make holistic landscape restoration the new norm. To achieve this, we’re working with a diverse range of partners in over 20 countries to facilitate and drive the uptake of holistic landscape restoration on a global scale. Together, we’re aiming to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2040.
Willem Ferwerda’s belief that ecology should drive the economy led him to create Commonland in 2013 with entrepreneur Wijnand Pon. An ecologist and conservationist with over 30 years’ experience pioneering innovative, large-scale approaches to ecosystems restoration and conservation, Willem created the 4 Returns framework as a practical tool to restore degraded landscapes at scale, while also providing an income for local communities. Using the IUCN Ecosystem Approach as a reference, he knew that the only way to sustainably protect and restore ecosystems was to make sure it benefitted communities for generations to come.
We work closely with a growing group of partners on large-scale landscape restoration. From international NGOs and policymakers, to funding bodies, indigenous people, local farmers, universities and media platforms – we believe we need everyone onboard to restore our home planet.
Restoring 100 million hectares of land is a monumental but achievable task– but only if we act together and act now. Commonland’s international team of farmers, scientists, finance specialists, storytellers, conservationists, facilitators, policy experts, and ambassadors works with partners worldwide to restore landscapes. Learn more about our team members below.
Willem Ferwerda – Founder and CEO
Biologist. Expert in tropical ecology, biodiversity and agriculture. Entrepreneur and managing director. Worked worldwide in nature conservation and restoration. Former director IUCN Netherlands and initiator of nature initiatives.
Clara Ramschie – Executive assistant
After working for a long time in a commercial business industry, I wanted to work for an organisation that contributes to the improvement of our living environment. Surrounded with passionate colleagues I’m learning a lot.
Mariken van den Boogaard – Director of Development & Communications
At Commonland we aim to bring the world of economy and ecology together and create common grounds for common solutions via a common language – this inspires me.
Mariken van den Boogaard
Jim Mackintosh – Director Landscape Development & Support
I have always been attracted by the interconnectedness of things. At Commonland we try to see and make connections between different worlds, where we can openly and respectfully engage with indigenous leaders, or with farmers, in the same way we would engage with an investor, or the government. Commonland allows me to work in line with my values.
Laurens Gomes – Director Landscape Development & Support
Simon Moolenaar – Director Knowledge, Education & Innovation
I enjoy developing solutions and exploring opportunities to connect economy and ecology together with academia and stakeholders on the ground. Commonland’s holistic approach, sense of urgency and long-term perspective inspire me. It aligns with my values and mission: to care for creation and contribute to restoring landscapes and revitalizing communities.
Victoria Gutierrez – Head of Global Policy
Ellie Percey – Landscape Developer
Karlijn Fidder – Labs Coordinator
Joanne Pieterse – Impact Manager
Milena Engel – Community Manager
Eva Cappon – Major Gift Manager
Lily Maxwell – Content Lead
Bas van Dijk – Landscape Developer
Commonland’s holistic yet pragmatic way of working towards sustainable change excites me. We work with all the different stakeholders in a landscape and focus on building bridges, taking into account the local context and working with them to develop robust solutions that address the issues at their root.
Bas van Dijk
Dieter Van den Broeck – 4 Returns Labs Manager and Designer
We recognise that there are many inspiring people, initiatives and stories doing the work of our time “restoring nature”, whilst we are still missing the large-scale stories. Therefore, we bring people, initiatives and organisations together to create a safe space for them to write their own collective stories of transformation and regenerative impact.
Dieter Van den Broeck
Kilian Walz – Carbon Project Specialist
I am convinced that restoring landscapes benefits people, biodiversity, and the climate. My work at Commonland involves creating a methodology for estimating peat soil carbon emissions in the Netherlands and developing carbon projects for landscape restoration. To successfully restore landscapes, we must improve soil carbon storage, which we link to existing voluntary carbon markets.
Maxyne Leermakers – Office Manager
Growing up, I was already aware of my environment, what I consumed, and its impact on nature. But unfortunately, hospitality and sustainability are not always aligned, so this is where I felt the need to act and create bridges between our western consumption mindset and taking care of our planet.
Jasper Bertels – Landscape Finance Expert
My mission is to reconnect man and nature by realising innovative business models supporting conservation and restoration of nature and biodiversity. This is exactly what I do in my role at Commonland by mobilising funding for large-scale landscape restoration initiatives around the world.
Nadine de Vogel – Sr Communication Manager
I believe that ecosystems and communities can only thrive together – hand in hand. I’m passionate and excited about sparking that change: getting others involved in this collective movement and making them aware of the beautiful world we live in!
Nadine de Vogel
Harma Rademaker – Landscape Manager
I like the combination of working with local communities, restoring landscapes and building resilient livelihoods. It brings together every aspect I have worked on in my career. It is rewarding and unique.
Jacqueline de Ligt – Finance Manager
The work and vision of Commonland, and the passion of the people who work for the organisation appeal to me most. And combining finance with a subject that is close to my heart, that’s what drives me.
Jacqueline de Ligt
Kyra van den Hil – Landscape Developer
I want to contribute to an inclusive regenerative and restorative movement. Where we, humans, will become partners of nature. My work at Commonland allows me to make this contribution.
Kyra van den Hil
Jeroen Voorhuis – Chief Operations Officer
I like business - building strategies - and I love nature. Working at Commonland enables me to combine these interests. Based on a business-model approach, we contribute to changing the world, and we can concretely see the impact we create. Deeply inspiring… it’s what drives me daily in my work.
Roos van der Deijl – Landscape Learning Developer
Commonland’s focus on making a positive impact to our earth, instead of just reducing our negative impacts immediately appealed to me. And the fact that its holistic approach allows for its impact to be long-lasting and large-scale. I really enjoy working with my colleagues and our landscape partners.
Roos van der Deijl
Pieter Ploeg – Design Strategist and Facilitator
My two passions are soil regeneration and participatory processes. Since holistic regeneration of our soils requires collaboration of the whole system I can bring both passions together at Commonland. As we all strive together to reach the (bold) 2040 goal we step into a big responsibility, with the freedom and flexibility to design how to get there.
Tessa Snaterse – Donor Relationship Expert
What excites me is that the 4 Returns framework provides a common language for farmers, entrepreneurs, communities, investors, funders and governments. Being able to connect these groups and forming partnerships with others will be crucial in achieving our mission.
Willemijn de Iongh – Landscape Developer
The way Commonland works with and trusts its partners is quite unconventional, in my experience. Our approach is unique: it takes dedication for an organisation to work holistically. Also, the sense of trust allows people to be creative and to give more energy to work.
Willemijn de Iongh
Anouk Breukers – HR Manager
I love working at Commonland because of our green mission and our contribution to make the world a greener place. Also, Commonland is an open-minded organisation with passionate and inspiring people: my colleagues.
Hicham Daoudi – Head of Carbon
Tom Lovett – Content creator
Commonland offers a mature approach to landscape restoration. People at Commonland are so passionate about their work. And I really enjoy being a part of that. Here, I can combine my two interests: storytelling and the relation between people and nature.
Alejandro Diaz – Landscape Finance Specialist
Rutger Bults – Senior Landscape Developer
Bela Jankovich de Jeszenice
Bela Jankovich de Jeszenice
Secretary, executive board member
Gerard van Hengstum
Gerard van Hengstum
Celine van Asselt
Advisor to the board
Celine van Asselt
Maas Jan Heineman
Maas Jan Heineman