Our approach: the 4 Returns framework

We offer a practical, holistic approach to landscape restoration that everyone can understand and use: the 4 Returns framework. This approach delivers returns to all landscape stakeholders: people, nature, communities and businesses.

Return of inspiration

Planting seeds of hope for a better future and giving PEOPLE a sense of purpose

Social return

Bringing back jobs, education and social connections: the building blocks of thriving COMMUNITIES

Natural return

Restoring biodiversity for healthy and resilient landscapes: reviving NATURE

Financial return

Creating long-term, sustainable income for communities: new BUSINESS models tailored to each landscape

Our offerings

We facilitate landscape restoration from the ground up. From farmers to business owners, policymakers to NGOs, we collaborate with a diverse range of partners to restore landscapes across the world. To make the greatest impact, we are also building a global movement to accelerate holistic landscape restoration via our 4 Returns framework.

Restoring landscapes

We provide landscape practitioners with the tools, funding, knowledge, and networks to restore their landscape for future generations.

Financing restoration

We offer our local partners access to funding opportunities. We help them to create and roll out regenerative business models and carbon methodologies.

Global learning network

We connect people working in landscape restoration worldwide through the 4 Returns learning network – so that knowledge can be exchanged across landscapes. 

Policy and campaigns

We influence policymaking and raise public awareness of the need to scale landscape restoration through advocacy and campaigning. 

Highlighted process: 4 Returns Labs

4 Returns Labs are a series of workshops that bring stakeholders together to learn from and alongside each other. The emphasis is on learning as a mutual experience as all participants explore the underlying causes of land degradation, create a shared vision and formulate action plans for their landscapes together. 4 Returns Labs combine our practical 4 Returns framework with Theory U, an awareness-based method that enables systems change developed by the Presencing Institute.

Our global and regional partnerships

Collaborative action increases our impact, enables us to support more people and organisations, and leads to the system changes that allow landscapes to flourish. In some landscapes, we co-initiate and co-develop projects with our partners in long term landscape partnerships. In other cases, building on the lessons learned from these partnerships, we connect and enhance the existing work of local initiatives through our global and regional partnerships.

4 Returns Products

The 4 Returns framework has sparked regenerative businesses across the world – from South Africa to Spain. These businesses produce healthy products and offer a sustainable income for local communities. They show us that healthy landscapes can provide a foundation for more nature-positive economies. Regenerative practices at farm-scale eventually become regenerative economies at landscape-level – leading to systems change. Find out more about the products made by our landscape partners by clicking the link below.

“When my father died, I really wanted to start to regenerate the land we’ve farmed for generations in Almeria. I am very grateful to Commonland. They put their trust in the local people and were the first to initiate the change we were looking for. They make our work visible and are here to change the system.”

Antonio Maurandi, farmer and board member, AlVelAl Association, Spain

Our impact

Our practical approach – the 4 Returns framework – is being used by people all over the world to restore their local landscape and keep it healthy for generations to come.


Countries where we are active


People have taken our online courses


Tonnes of CO2 emissions reduced in 2022


Hectares of land being restored

Latest news

Explore Commonland's latest news, publications and events, and get inspired to restore the Earth.

Commonland and partners receive €12 million from the National Dutch Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund to restore 10 million hectares of land worldwide 

With support from the Dutch National Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund (Nationale Postcode Loterij), Commonland and partners will support changemakers to scale up existing landscape restoration projects ...

Commonland chapters featured in Land Restoration book

In 2015, Willem Ferwerda, along with our colleague Dieter van Broeck and Commonland Ambassador John D.Liu, each contributed chapters to the Elsevier-published book “Land Restoration: Reclaiming La ...

Experts agree on importance of long-term investment in landscape restoration

Finance and investment are crucial to meeting the goal of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of nature worldwide. Therefore, Commonland united a panel ...

Recommendations on Delivering the European Green Deal Through Landscape Restoration

Commonland has come together with Landscape Finance Lab, as well as 19 other contributors, to issue a policy briefing offering guidance to EU institutions and Member States on why and how to leve ...