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 Ecosystem Approach, endorsed by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, 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.
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.
Founder and CEO
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.
Chief Operations Officer
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.
Director Landscape Development & Support
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
Director of Development & Communications
Director Landscape Development & Support
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.
Director Knowledge, Education & Innovation
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.
Cindy Musangi Musyoki
Carbon Projects Developer
Head of Global Policy
Senior Landscape Developer
To develop a sustainable world, we need to bring people together to listen, learn, grow and act in a safe and innovative space. Only then can we restore landscapes and create thriving communities.
Learning & Knowledge Manager
Landscape Impact Officer
Major Gift Manager
Senior Landscape Developer
Lotte Henk Crombag
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
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
4 Returns Labs Manager and Designer
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.
Carbon Project Specialist
Intern Landscape Development & Support
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.
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.
Landscape Finance Expert
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
Sr Communication 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.
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
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
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
Landscape Learning Developer
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.
Design Strategist and Facilitator
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.
Donor Relationship Expert
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
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.
Head of Carbon
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.
Landscape Finance Specialist
Bela Jankovich de Jeszenice
Former director Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and em. professor in Evolutionary Ecology WUR
Louise E.M. Vet
CEO of COmON Foundation
Secretary, Executive Board Member
Director at Pon Foundation
Gerard van Hengstum
Chairman of the Board at Form International, &Green.fund, ILX, EDFI, and Van Leer Group Foundation
Managing Director at Goldman Sachs Asset Management
Celine van Asselt
Advisor to the Board
SVP EMEA Marketing at Salesforce
Transformative Innovation, Whole Systems Design, Consultancy, Education, Futures, author of ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’.
Daniel Christian Wahl
International environmental policy
Advisor to the Environmental Information Center of the Ministry of Environment and Green Development, Mongolia.
Occupied several high positions at the Central Spanish Government and former director of several National Parks.
Jesús Casas Grande
Architecture, international policy
Former Minister of the Environment, Housing, and Urban Planning in Benin. Former Executive Secretary of the UNCCD.
Partner Corporate/M&A at Jones Day in Amsterdam. Former member and Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board of Baker & McKenzie Amsterdam.
Internationally recognized specialist and teacher in permaculture.
Ecology, policy, stakeholder management
Worked in ecology and conservation for 25 years. CEO of Wetlands International since 2004.
Business and eco-agro-technology
CEO of the Priva Group, a world leader in sustainable technologies for the indoor environment.
President & CEO of New Paradigm Institute and Hansoll Textile in South Korea.
Was senior partner of McKinsey & Company until 2011. For almost 30 years he served leading financial institutions in Europe and Asia.
Governance, environmental policy
Former Minister of Environment & Natural Resources, El Salvador. Launched National Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Program.
Herman Rosa Chávez
Founding Partner & Chairman at BT Global Partners, former director of TEMA Foundation.
Mehmet Serdar Sarýgül
CEO and Founder of Gist Impact; Economics of Ecosystems
President and Board Chair of WWF-International. Lead writer on UN reports: ‘The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity’ & ‘Towards a Green Economy’.
Dutch economist and former CEO of Rabobank & widely recognized authority on sustainability, business and governance.
Professor in Land Use and Biodiversity at the Utrecht University, Copernicus Institute.
Restoration ecology, forestry
Deputy Director of Beijing Development Institute of Beijing University in China.
Landscape management, business
Agricultural & natural resource economist. Founder, President and CEO of EcoAgriculture Partners.
Soil and water conservation
Professor at the Institute of Soil and Water Conservation (ISWC), CAS/MWR and NWUAF.
Social and Political Sciences of the Environment
CEO, Environmental Protection and Encouragement Agency. Academic Cradle to Cradle Chair for Innovation and Quality, RSM.
Sustainability and leadership
Member of the Wates Group Board and chair of its Sustainability Committee. Holds a Masters in Sustainability Leadership.
Environment, society & regenerative agriculture
Visiting Fellow at The Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University.
Business and Sustainable Food Systems
Associate partner at NewForesight and theme Director Sustainable Food Systems at TiFN.