If we told you the most valuable asset on Earth was soil...
Would you agree?


If we would tell you we are on a journey in South Africa to show we can turn degraded land into productive land and there is a business case to do so, would you be willing to join us?


A unique transformation is taking place in the high plains of Southern Spain: hundreds of farmers and entrepreneurs are organizing themselves to restore their degraded land.


We are on the verge of demonstrating that organic farming practices can make purpose, hope, people and capital return to the Western Australian Wheatbelt.



Healthy landscapes and water systems
are the basis of our life.

They provide food, water, clean air, a stable climate, biodiversity, good health, security and happiness. However, one-fourth of the world’s land mass is seriously degraded from centuries of human activity.

Think: deforestation, overgrazing, overexploitation, the building of infrastructure and pollution. In economic terms, this incurs an estimated loss of more than USD 4.3 trillion per year. The good news is that this process can be reversed.



“Most of the top management journals remain focused on the firm, not the system. It’s essential for managers and academics to take a more systemic approach to landscape restoration, in tandem with the natural sciences and local people.”

Pauline van der Meer Mohr Former President Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

“All people should benefit from restoration of the land, not just the land owners. Everyone.”

Piet Kruger South African farmer

“Water is a key resource for Port Elizabeth; essential for its people and industrial production. We believe that restoring the degraded landscapes upstream can help us secure that resource.”

Patrick King Regional General Manager Sanlam, South Africa

“It’s possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems. So if we can rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems – why don’t we do that?”

John D. Liu Filmmaker

“By locating forests, pastures and water bodies within the larger ecological, social and economic context, landscapes open up to meet a range of objectives that could address demands of preservation, conservation and exploitation.”

Jagdeesh Rao CEO Foundation for Ecological Security, India

“The 21st century will demand more than conservation, it will require us to invest in ecological restoration. Restoring our degraded landscapes and seascapes will foster long term resiliency, promote economic vitality and cultivate a shared vision for our future.”

Keith Bowers IUCN CEM Ecological Restoration Group Lead, Biohabitats

“Degraded landscapes are underperforming common assets linked to many development priorities. And landscape restoration successes have often debunked two prevailing myths: that is takes too long and costs too much. Let’s now overcome the hurdles to scaling up and out.”

Luc Gnacadja Architect, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

“If we cannot conceive our natural and agricultural environments as a single unit, as a close symbiotic network where all the pieces fit perfectly together, we must be doing something fundamentally flawed. Each of us should undergo a deep reflection to understand that the only being that is expendable in our planet is the human being.”

Carmen Román Reche Managing Director of Crisara (Organic Almonds) and Spanish National Award on "Innovation Excellence in Rural Women", Spain

“We require the specialized labor of men and women that work in the fields, because it is them who provide us with our food staples. We must recognize and honor the work of rural people. The quality of our future depends on their good work and on our collective ability to maintain a proper balance with the surrounding natural ecosystems.”

Paco Casero Agricultor, Spain (retired president of Asociación Ecovalia for organic growers)

About Us

Commonland® believes that landscape restoration offers tremendous untapped opportunities for sustainable economic development. To demonstrate this potential, we develop landscape restoration projects that are based on business cases.

Multidisciplinary teams actively involve investors, companies and entrepreneurs in long-term restoration partnerships with farmers and land-users. Long-term commitment is important as it takes approximately 20 years – or one generation – to restore a landscape. Our holistic restoration approach combines and connects natural and economic landscape zones and delivers 4 returns®.

Our goal is to realize large-scale landscape restoration with local farmers, land-users and experts, based on sustainable 4 returns business cases. Our mission is to contribute to a large-scale landscape restoration industry, aligned with international policies and guidelines.
Commonland contributes to the Bonn Challenge, a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

Commonland consists of a foundation and two impact companies: 4 Returns Landscapes and 4 Returns Partners.
The foundation guards and develops the 4 returns restoration approach and works in close cooperation with scientific institutions, business schools, and experts from non-governmental organizations. We are also creating an Academy for Business and Landscapes with our mission partners to educate the next generation of business leaders.

4 Returns Landscapes develops local companies’ and farmers’ initiatives that grow landscape restoration projects. We work on sustainable business cases with different stakeholders in the field, taking all interests into account. To build on their present strengths, these local companies partner with existing initiatives. With our local partners we are building track record in four large landscapes. 

4 Returns Partners provides advisory services to third parties that wish to implement long-term restoration projects. This way, we can share our lessons with others who want to accelerate the process towards a restoration industry. We assist implementing the 4 returns in seven countries. 

Both 4 Returns Landscapes and 4 Returns Partners benefit from Commonland’s strong network which gives access to a variety of investors and banks.

Commonland is stimulating the development of dedicated funding structures.

Read more about our initiatives and our approach.

4 Returns

Our holistic restoration approach combines and connects 3 different landscape zones, for a period of 20 years, delivering 4 returns.

Return of

Giving people hope
and a sense of purpose.

Return of
Social Capital

Bringing back jobs, business
activity, education and security.

Return of
Natural Capital

Restoring biodiversity,
soil and water quality.

Return of
Financial Capital

Realizing long-term
sustainable profit.

Natural Zone

  • Restoring vegetation
  • Planting native trees
    and clearing invasive species
  • Natural restoration
  • Limited maintenance

  • CO2 capture, water, soil
  • Restored biodiversity
  • Forestry, hunting
  • Tourism

Combined Zone

  • Restoring landscape
  • Planting usable trees
  • Restoring perennial vegetation and soil
  • Limited maintenance

  • CO2 capture, water, soil
  • Partially restored biodiversity
  • Agroforestry, fruit trees, timber
  • Tourism

Economic Zone

  • Regenerative agriculture, forestry, aquaculture
  • Real estate, infrastructure that fits the landscape
  • Ventures with positive impact on landscape

  • CO2 capture, water, soil
  • Crops and products
  • New businesses, new collaborations
  • Economic development

Our landscapes

Creating market-based solutions
for landscape restoration

Worldwide, degraded landscapes have led to the loss of biodiversity, productivity, jobs, food security, and social stability. These losses can be reversed, however, by restoring degraded landscapes – at scale – through economically viable solutions.

4 Returns Partners creates market-based solutions for landscape restoration, from idea to realization. Based on the 4 returns philosophy developed by Commonland, our aim is to unite the restoration of landscapes with the economic and social revitalization of communities.

To effectively support our partners with realizing landscape restoration, we offer a combination of advisory services:



Willem Ferwerda

CEO Commonland Group
Close Inspiration, biodiversity, connector, energetic, innovation, ecosystem, business, systemic, caring, value.

Willem Ferwerda has a long track record in ecology, biodiversity, conservation and business. He studied tropical ecology, agriculture and environmental science and is an expert in multi-stakeholder processes. When heading the Netherlands office of IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, he supported hundreds of local conservation and restoration projects in the tropics.

Besides being the founder of Leaders for Nature, an international business network on biodiversity and ecosystems, Willem Ferwerda is also board member and advisor of several institutions, and an executive business and ecosystem fellow at the Rotterdam School of Management – Erasmus University (Netherlands) and the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (Switzerland). In 2010 he created the first agreement on ecosystems and biodiversity between the Netherlands Confederation of Industries and nature organizations. Willem has worked in Latin America, Africa and Europe.

John D. Liu

Ambassador Commonland Foundation
Close Documentary & film, speaker, ecology, landscape restoration, natural ecosystems.

Following 15 years as a television news producer and cameraman for CBS News and other international television networks, John D. Liu made a decision to devote the rest of his life to understanding and communicating about the Earth’s natural ecosystems. This decision has led John to produce many ecological films including; “Hope in a Changing Climate”, “Green Gold”, “Because They’re Worth It”, “A Steppe Ahead”, “Forests of Hope” and many other films. John’s films have been shown on BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Central Chinese Television and many other networks around the world. They have won several awards and continue to inspire people in all continents.

The importance of John’s work in furthering the understanding of Ecological Restoration has been recognized by a number of research fellowships including Visiting Fellowships from The University of the West of England, Rothamsted Research Institute, The Vrije University, Amsterdam, The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and most recently the Netherlands Institute of Ecology of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. John has presented over 350 times in all continents of the world including at the Royal Society in the UK, the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences, Oxford University, among others.

John has received awards from the Society for Ecological Restoration, The Rotary Club International, The United Nations Forum on Forests and several other organizations.
More information about John D. Liu here.

Michiel de Man

Managing Director 4 returns Partners
Close Business strategy, new business development, innovation, sustainability.

Michiel de Man provides Commonland with expertise in business development, strategy, innovation and sustainability. His drive is to build on the innovation power of enterprises to improve people’s lives and solve environmental challenges.

Previously, Michiel worked as a strategy consultant focusing on sustainability and innovation. Recently he worked as an innovation advisor at DSM and as a researcher in business and ecology at the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht University. Michiel holds a MA in Development Studies from Utrecht University and a MSc in Strategic Management from Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Jeroen Voorhuis

COO Commonland Group
Close Business transformation, digital operating model, management consulting, leadership development

Jeroen is responsible for financial management & control, organizational development and process management, people and management development, ICT, communications and legal. He will also work on structuring the further international expansion of Commonland and its impact companies.

Previously, Jeroen has held various international management positions within Philips and Accenture, where most recently he was Managing Director within the Communications, Media and High-Tech Industry and responsible for various global accounts.

Alessandra Caine

Business Development 4 Returns Partners
Close Environmental sciences, landscape restoration, monitoring and evaluation, public-private partnerships, project acquisition and project development, nutrition and health

Alessandra has been enthusiastically working with the Commonland team for 4 years now. In 2013, Alessandra supported Commonland in the design of a multi-criteria selection tool for the identification of restoration projects suitable for the 4 returns approach. In 2014, she joined Commonland’s team in South Africa to investigate the criteria needed to design an effective monitoring framework for the first 4 returns restoration public-private partnership. In 2015, she focused on the design of the monitoring and evaluation framework for the 4 returns, 3 zones, 20 years approach in close collaboration with the teams on the ground. On top of that she worked with the Head of Science and Education to set the basis of the knowledge sharing culture inside Commonland. In 2016, she joined the team of the 4 Returns Partners, impact company of Commonland, to support different types of organizations in applying the 4 returns approach. Lately, she developed a strong interest in nutrition and in how food can be cultivated in a regenerative way, so it is healthy not only for people, but also for the environment.

Alessandra holds a bachelor degree cum laude in science and technology for environment and nature from the University of Trieste and a master’s degree cum laude in earth science and economics from the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam.

She is very motivated and enthusiastic about being part of this landscape revolution!

Dietmar Roth

Business Development Commonland Foundation
Close Rural development, networking, bottom-up innovation, corporate water strategy, building partnerships, sharing passion, building successful teams

Dietmar is passionate about facilitating social change processes to build multi-stakeholder platforms and partnerships to create collective action. His focus is on creating transformation, and innovations that are owned by local stakeholders and supported by a solid scientific base.

Dietmar has a doctorate in history and holds additional degrees in Spanish, pedagogy and tourism. For more than 20 years, he has worked as a manager of a tourism enterprise, is president of the Sierra María-Los Vélez Natural Park (Almería, Spain), a member of the Surclio research group at Almería University, plus a member of the regional investigation center Instituto de Estudios Almerienses (IEA). Over the past nine years, Dietmar has also served as deputy mayor for the town of Vélez Blanco, also in Almería.

Jim Mackintosh

Managing Director 4 Returns Landscapes
Close Strategy, structuring, finance, impact investment, business development

Jim brings more than ten years of business and corporate finance experience to the Commonland team in a role which combines both fund and project development. He is currently working on the overall funding strategy for Commonland, as well as helping to bring the many business cases underlying landscape restoration to an investment-ready stage.

Prior to joining Commonland, Jim was a director at KPMG Deal Advisory in the Netherlands and led the financial modeling practice. In the latter part of his career with KPMG, his focus was on sustainability-driven initiatives which included ways in which to connect the corporate and societal value that companies create (KPMG’s True Value methodology). JIm has also worked for KPMG in New Zealand and London.

Jim holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Otago and co-owns, with his brother and father, a small Australian-based wine company.

Simon Moolenaar

Science & Education Commonland Foundation
Close Sustainable management of soil and land, natural capital, multi-stakeholder management, transdisciplinarity, learning environments.

Simon Moolenaar is a purpose driven sustainability professional who works on connecting science and business through (business school) education for ecosystem and landscape restoration. As a boundary worker and knowledge broker he enthusiastically mediates between academia, business, governments and NGOs to see sustainable results develop.

Previously, Simon worked at several environmental and agricultural consultancies acting in different roles as a strategic consultant, process and program manager.

Simon holds an MSc in Environmental Science & Management (Soil Quality Management) and a PhD in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences both from Wageningen University.

Dieter van den Broeck

Design Strategist & Facilitator Commonland Foundation
Close Ecosystem management, stakeholder platforms, landscape transformation & leadership.

Dieter Van den Broeck is passionate about facilitating social change processes to build multi sectorial/stakeholder platforms and partnerships to create collective action to restore resilient landscapes. Dieter brings strong experience and knowledge of the Theory U, ecosystem management and transdisciplinary knowledge production into the process, to create strong bottom based and top guided innovations.

Dieter’s focus is to create transformation and innovations that are owned by local stakeholders and supported by solid science. Dieter is also training himself to become a transformational coach to enable him to coach and build leadership capacity within landscape management, organizations, governments and businesses. Dieter is co-founder of the South African NGO called Living Lands.

Carolina van Agtmaal

Finance & Operations Commonland Foundation
Close Service-minded, dynamic, energetic

For the past seven years she has worked abroad for various international companies in the commercial sector.

Having recently moved back to The Netherlands Carolina has joined Commonland where she is currently responsible for finance and operations.

Caroline van Tilborg

Managing Director 4 Returns Partners
Close Climate finance, creating and monetizing environmental credits & benefits, strategic business development

Caroline is a performance oriented professional with a record of over 20 years of experience in the financial design & structuring, project development & implementation and management of renewable energy portfolios and landscape restoration projects in developing countries, including the carbon asset creation process and the associated trade in carbon credits.

Caroline is currently leading Commonland’s subsidiary 4 Returns Partners, specializing in partnering with clients in their endeavors to develop large-scale landscape restoration projects.

Prior to 4 Returns Partners, Caroline acted in various General Manager and Specialist Finance roles including CarbonQuest Australia, C-Quest Capital, Climate Change Capital, the World Bank and Rabobank International.

Caroline holds a masters in economics from the Rijks Universiteit Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Erica ten Broeke

Project Development 4 Returns Landscapes
Close Finance, impact investment, business development, landscaping

Erica brings more than fourteen years of international development experience, supporting project development within Commonland. She develops the funding strategy of multiple projects and brings business cases underlying landscape restoration to an investment-ready stage.

Erica has a background in international development cooperation, building flourishing communities in (post)conflict areas such as Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has extensive experience in managing programs, both through local presences as well as in cooperation with local partner organizations. Most recently Erica worked on product and market development focusing on the US and the UK market.

Erica holds a MA in Business Administration from the University of Tilburg, where she specialized in corporate finance. She also holds a MA in Humanitarian Assistance from the University of Groningen. Next year Erica will obtain a BSc in Landscape Architecture from the Hogeschool van Hall Larenstein in Velp.

Bas van Dijk

Business Development 4 Returns Partners
Close Earth Sciences & Economics, interdisciplinary systems thinking, strategic landscape analysis, connecting, coaching, pragmatic.

Bas van Dijk was trained in analyzing landscapes from a holistic, interdisciplinary approach with consideration to a wide range of socio-economic and environmental aspects. His studies in Earth Sciences & Economics (MSc) provided a knowledge base in a range of earth-science related fields (e.g. hydrology, soil science, ecology, climatology) and macro- and micro-economics (e.g. regional economics, environmental economics, urban economics and decision making processes).

Bas takes a special interest in the underlying causes of landscape degradation, and in exploring the tools for reversing those processes. His goal is to make a difference in large-scale, worldwide landscape restoration projects, and he views good land management as the key towards solving many of the globally important problems related to climate, water, food and migration.

Working with Wide Open Agriculture, Bas recently researched ways of restoring the West Australian Wheatbelt using ecological agriculture and is currently working with Commonland to help establish 4 Returns Partners.

Sanne Collée

Marketing & Communications Commonland Foundation
Close International sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, international communication and media, digital marketing, analytics

Sanne Collée is an energetic and ambitious individual trained in communication, media and marketing. She is passionate about sustainable development and especially interested in how this field of study presents a combination of social, political, economic and environmental issues.

Sanne’s experience in different areas of research provides her with a knowledge base in a broad collection of topics ranging from sustainable development to communication (e.g. political ecology, economic sustainability, territorial development, decision-making processes, qualitative and quantitative research and online media production).

Sanne studied International Communication and Media (Bachelor degree with merit) at the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht, The Netherlands and did her minor in Media at the Dublin Institute of Technology in Dublin, Ireland. She obtained a Master’s degree with honors in International Development at Grenoble Alpes University in Grenoble, France. She has gained previous experience at Philips Nederland and the Nature Foundation St. Maarten.

Clara Ramschie

PA / Executive Assistant Commonland Foundation
Close Pro-active, self-motivated, energetic

Clara Ramschie is an experienced hands-on Personal Assistant. She has previous experience in the airport and healthcare industry.

Clara has joined Commonland as the Personal Assistant to the CEO.

Willemijn de Iongh

Science & Education Commonland Foundation
Close Cultural Anthropologist, sustainable land use, monitoring and evaluation, natural resource management.

Willemijn de Iongh has a background in Cultural Anthropology with a focus on natural resource management and sustainable agriculture. Field research included human-wildlife conflicts in Amboseli National Park in Kenya and redistribution of small-scale fishing rights in Kalk Bay, South Africa. After that, she worked at Oxfam Novib to advocate with businesses, investors, governments, and (local) NGOs for a more sustainable food system and promote alternative business models.

At Commonland, Willemijn is the lynchpin connecting knowledge and research within Commonland's Foundation, Projects, Partners and our networks. As such, she is your one-stop-shop for applied learning around landscape restoration approaches.

Willemijn holds a BSc and MSc in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at the University of Amsterdam and Leiden University, respectively.

Dan Mulder

Project Development 4 Returns Partners
Close Project management, business development, analytical, innovation

Dan brings in analytical skills to the 4 returns partners team. He manages projects focused on business development, value chain collaboration and the evaluation of commercial and technical viability of regenerative production.

Dan is passionate about making the agricultural sector sustainable, since he believes it’s the best way to reduce climate change, restore ecosystems and (re)connect to nature.

Dan co-founded a consultancy and engineering management company, specialized in the circular and biobased economy. He studied Chemistry at the University of Amsterdam (BSc.) and Sustainable Business and Innovation at Utrecht University (MSc.).

Rony Lintjens

Office Manager
Close Energetic, pro-active, self starter

Rony is supporting the Commonland colleagues with regard to HRM, Finance, IT and other general office subjects. Her talents are structuring, organizing, and problem solving.

In previous jobs Rony worked as office manager / management assistent in the Health, Finance, Media and Aviation industry.

Roos van der Deijl

Marketing & Communications Commonland Foundation
Close Future planet ecosystem science, socio-ecological systems, interdisciplinary thinking, communication, analytics

Roos supports Marketing & Communications as a creative assistant. She is passionate about the positive potential of landscape restoration and communicating this to a wider public. Her background in the social and the natural sciences give her an interdisciplinary and holistic perspective, which is central to the 4 returns thinking.

She holds a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Amsterdam University College and a MSc. in Neuroscience from the VU University Amsterdam. Currently, she is working on her thesis for a second MSc. programme in Future Planet Ecosystem Science at the University of Amsterdam. For the thesis research, she collaborated with our partner Living Lands, and lived in the Langkloof landscape, South Africa, for four months.

Tessa Snaterse

Donor Relations Commonland Foundation

Sustainable development, purpose-driven partnerships, organizational strategy

Tessa grew up in the Netherlands and on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten, which exposed her to different cultures and the breathtaking yet fragile nature of the tropics at a young age. Later during university, a course in Corporate Social Responsibility stood out to her as it showed how to put planet & people alongside profit. Tessa holds a BA and MA in Business Communication at Utrecht University and Tilburg University. She completed scientific research on the interpersonal effects of positive emotions during integrative negotiations.

Tessa’s first work experience was helping shape the Corporate Citizenship program at Accenture in the Netherlands. While working here, she further developed her interest for sustainability and purpose-driven partnerships. After almost 8 years of experience in global business transformation at Accenture, she learned about Commonland and its mission to enable a restoration economy. This led her to take on the position of donor relations expert & fundraiser at Commonland. In this role, Tessa is responsible for developing and implementing engagement and fundraising strategies to connect to current and prospective funders. During her free time she loves exploring underwater landscapes.

Kyra van den Hil

Stakeholder Management 4 Returns Labs
Ecosystem management, stakeholder platforms, landscape transformation & leadership.

Kyra’s role within Commonland is to support transition processes that focus on landscape restoration by building multi sectorial/stakeholder platforms and partnerships. She is fascinated by the human-nature relationships and interested in transformation processes in relationship to agricultural and food systems and new forms of collaboration that prosper changes towards a sustainable future.

She holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Development sociology from the University of Amsterdam and a MSc. in Forest and Nature Conservation with a specialization in Policy & Society and Sustainable Development Diplomacy. She has gained previous experience at WRI Europe.

Wijnand Pon

Founding Patron

Bela Jankovich


Louise Vet

Deputy chair

Gerard van Hengstum


Maas Jan Heineman

General member

John Loudon

Secretary, executive board member
Close John Loudon studied business economics at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. His love of nature and nature conservation and on a more commercial level, brand communication has led him to a diverse, yet very focused, career path. After producing Nature Documentaries for the cinema under the umbrella of the Savage Paradise Foundation, and being an owner of Holland’s largest Sponsorship Strategy agency, BrandWorlds Network, he developed the JL Social Responsibility Impact Scheme™, a tool for NGOs, GOs and businesses to better incorporate and execute Corporate Social Responsibility programs.

In the past 17 years Loudon has acted as an executive Board Member to the Peace Parks Foundation, creating cross-border parks throughout Southern Africa. Recently he became CEO to the COmON Foundation, the major funder of Commonland.

As an Executive Board Member he is assisting the Commonland team to reach its goals. Loudon also serves on the Board of the Prince Bernhard Nature Fund and Het Loo Royal Estate.

Céline van Asselt

Advisor to the board

Zamba Batjargal

International environmental policy
Close Advisor to the Environmental Information Center of the Ministry of Environment and Green Development. Former Minister for Nature and the Environment of Mongolia. Received his PhD degree in physics and mathematics in 1978 from the Hydrometeorological State University, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Dr. Batjargal has more than 30 years experience working for the government entities in Mongolia dealing with environmental protection, nature conservation and hydrometeorological hazards. He has extended experience of work outside of Mongolia being engaged in international cooperation activities. Dr. Batjargal is the author of more than 90 papers and articles on meteorology, climate, water resource, disaster risk reduction, nature conservation, environmental and social sciences.

Dr. Batjargal was among the group of scientists from different countries who, by the request of the Convention on Biological Diversity, drafted the first version of the so called “ecosystem approach” in nature conservation, which was approved by CBD COP-5 in 2000. This concept is well known as an innovative proposal for managing biodiversity and land use and at present widely referred as the “Malawi Principles”. He also contributed to the expert level discussions on the credibility of the World Heritage List and the concept of outstanding universal value within the World Heritage Convention.

John Burton

Wildlife, land acquisition
Close John Burton is founder and CEO of the World Land Trust, an innovative UK based international conservation organization, specialized in direct action on the ground, such as supporting land purchase by local organizations.

John has more than 30 years experience in international conservation, including working with Friends of the Earth and 12 years as Chief Executive of Fauna & Flora International. He set up the first TRAFFIC offices for IUCN and is author of a number of books, as well documentaries. John received an Honorary Doctorate from University Campus Suffolk in October 2012 in honor of his work for international environmental organizations.

Jesús Casas Grande

Landscape ecology
Close Jesús Casas Grande studied forestry, hydrology, rural planning and agricultural law. He occupied several high positions in at the Central Spanish Government. Starting as profesor of the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes, he was director of several National Parques like the Doñana and Picos de Europa.

As Director National Parques and General Director Sustainable Development Rural Environment he was highly involved in the rural development of the Spanish country side. Today he is General Subdirector Programs at the ‘Instituto de la Mujer in Madrid. Among the many publications, Jesús Casas Grande coordinated the Master Plan of the Spanish ecological corridor system, and developed the first National Plan for Sustainable Rural Development. Jesús is currently general director of the Department of Rural Development, Agriculture and Food of the regional government of Asturias in Spain.

Luc Gnacadja

Architecture, international policy
Close Luc Gnacadja was Minister of the Environment, Housing, and Urban Planning in Benin from June 1999 to February 2005. As Beninese politician and architect he has an excellent and long track record in national and international environmental issues.

In 2007 Luc Gnacadja was appointed as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) by UN Secretary General Ban Ki‐Moon, after he was endorsed by the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties of the UNCCD. Gnacadja was awarded the Green Award 2002 by the World Bank.

Mike Jansen

International legal issues
Close Mike Jansen started his career in 1992 as a lawyer and joined the Amsterdam office of Baker & McKenzie in 1995. Mike has been a partner of Baker & McKenzie since 2001. He has been head of the corporate practice from 2001 to 2006.

In 2006 Mike Jansen became a member of the Board of Baker & McKenzie Amsterdam and served as Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board from 2007 to 2010. From July 2013 Mike Jansen served – next to his corporate practice – as Managing Partner and Chairman of the Board. He was a member of the Baker & McKenzie’s Regional Council and Policy Committee. Since 2016 he is Partner Corporate/M&A at Jones Day in Amsterdam.

Geoff Lawton

Close Geoff Lawton is an internationally recognized specialist and teacher in permaculture. Since 1995 he has specialized in permaculture education, design, implementation, system establishment, administration and community development. In 1996 he was accredited with the Permaculture Community Services Award by the permaculture movement for services in Australia and around the world.

Lawton established The Permaculture Research Institute Australia as a global networking centre for permaculture projects where he is managing director. His aim is to establish self-replicating educational demonstration sites to contribute halting the food and water crisis. He has currently educated over 6,000 students in permaculture worldwide.

Jane Madgwick

Ecology, policy, stakeholder management
Close Jane Madgwick has a BSc in Human and Environmental Biology (York) and a MSc in Conservation (University College London); worked in ecology and conservation for around 25 years. Since 2004 CEO of Wetlands International.

Jane leads an international team to promote and demonstrate the role of wetlands management in sustainable development through a network of 20 offices in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. In the past few years, the organization has grown significantly and greatly increased its visibility and impact in the field of community-based environmental management and poverty reduction.

Pauline van der Meer Mohr

Governance, business
Close Pauline van der Meer Mohr is Chair of the Supervisory Board of EY. She was Chair of the Erasmus University Rotterdam Executive Board till December 2015. Her portfolio includes strategic policy, sustainability, international affairs and external relations, for one thing with the region of Rotterdam, the business community and other knowledge institutions.

After studying Law at Erasmus University Rotterdam and at the European University Institute in Florence, Van der Meer Mohr began her career in advocacy. Moving on she worked at Royal Dutch Shell, TNT and ABN Amro. Board member of DSM.

Meiny Prins

Business and eco-agro-technology
Close Meiny Prins is CEO of the Priva Group, a world leader in developing and supplying sustainable technologies for the control of indoor environments within horticulture and the built environment. Was Business Woman of the Year 2009 and won the first Cleantech Star of WWF.

She devotes herself to promoting business sustainability and the international development of (greenhouse) horticulture and is a much sought-after authority in this field, and members of the Dutch government consider her to be a leading voice on sustainability issues. Ms. Prins is a member of the Dutch Trade Board and of the technology industry entrepreneurs’ association, she is a member of the Supervisory Board of Triodos Bank, and she is co-initiator of developments related to the Greenport.

K.H. Moon

Business, sustainability
Close K.H. Moon is President & CEO of New Paradigm Institute and Hansoll Textile in South Korea. He was CEO of Yuhan-­‐Kimberly, one of the most admired companies in Korea, for 1995 ‐ 2007. Moon founded the “Keep Korea Green Movement” in 1984, creating numerous eco-­‐friendly initiatives for students, newly‐weds and civil leaders. He also founded many cross‐sector non‐profit organiza1ons including “Forest For Life”, “Forest For Schools”, “Forest For Peace”, “Northeast Asian Forest Forum”, and “Seoul Green Trust” in the past 3 decades.

Moon was awarded by UNEP with “Global 500 Roll of Honor” in 1997, by Chosun‐Iibo/ Mainichi Newspaper with “Asian Environmental Award” in 1998, and by Korean Government with “Gold Medal Order of Industrial Service Merit” in 2005. Moon was also elected as “The Most Admired CEO of Korea” many times through 2000′s and was chair of the 10th meeting of the UNCCD Business Forum in 2011.

Robert Reibestein

Close Robert Reibestein was senior partner of McKinsey & Company until 31 December 2011. For almost 30 years he served leading financial institutions in Europe and Asia.

Mr Reibestein led McKinsey’s practice in Amsterdam, was then responsible for its Global Banking and Securities Practice and most recently he led McKinsey’s offices across Europe, Middle-East and Africa. He is also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Royal Concertgebouworkest, Vice Chairman of Leiden University and member of the Board of the WWF NL and ING Bank.

Herman Rosa Chávez

Governance, environmental policy
Close Herman Rosa Chávez was Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources in El Salvador between 2009 and 2014. He studied Engineering, Economics and International Relations and worked for more than 30 years as an engineer and in environment and development issues.

Under his visionary leadership, climate change and ecosystem restoration came to be considered a critical development issue for El Salvador. He reframed environmental policy and spearheaded a major transformation of the Ministry of the Environment and its intervention strategies, so that it plays a more influential role in policy formation and is closer to the concerns of ordinary citizens and local governments. It resulted in 2012 in a new National Environmental Policy which seeks: “To Reverse Environmental Degradation and to Reduce Vulnerability to Climate Change”.

In 2012 Herman Rosa Chávez launched the National Landscape and Ecosystem Restoration Program, which has as its goal the restoration of 1 million hectares, or 50% of the country’s territory.

Mehmet Serdar Sarýgül

Restoration, business
Close Mehmet Serdar Sarýgül (1961) is founding Partner & Chairman at BT Global Partners, a global network of business partners with proven success record of strategic and operational management experience in multi-sectoral, multi-functional, multi-geographical and multi-cultural business environment. Before he was director of TEMA Foundation, the largest organization on reforestation in Turkey. He graduated from the Middle East Technical University, Department of Biological Sciences, Richmond College in England.

Mr Serdar Sarýgül has been working in the food sector for many year before he joined TEMA. He had several positions in general management and board and member of the board at Unilever, Bayer, Gillette, Barilla (Filiz food) in Turkey and abroad. ‘Soil life and business will work to protect the soil’, he said.

Pavan Sukhdev

Economics of ecosystems
Close Pavan Sukhdev was Study Leader for the G8+5 commissioned project on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). A career banker, Pavan then took a sabbatical from the Bank to lead TEEB & the Green Economy Initiative for UNEP. While at Deutsche Bank, Pavan had founded (2006) and then chaired Global Markets Centre – Mumbai, a leading-edge front-office offshoring company.

Pavan is Founder-CEO of GIST Advisory, a specialist consulting firm which helps governments and corporations Discover, measure, value, and manage their impacts on natural and human capital. He is a Visiting Fellow at Yale University, where he was awarded the 2011 McCluskey Fellowship and wrote his book “Corporation 2020″. Earlier, he was Special Adviser and Head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative, and lead author of their report “Towards a Green Economy”. He currently serves on the boards of Conservation International, Global Reporting Initiative, TEEB for Business Coalition and the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Pita Verweij

Restoration ecology
Close Pita Verweij is Professor in Land Use and Biodiversity at the Utrecht University, Copernicus Institute. Throughout the years, Pita Verweij’s principal field of research has been land use and biodiversity in the context of natural resource management. She worked in a wide range of tropical ecosystems, from lowland forests to mountain grasslands, and from semi-arid to extremely humid.

In recent years, she strengthened the link between the development and application of ecological knowledge and policy-making in her work. This is demonstrated by her research on the valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the development of ecological knowledge that addresses problems in nature conservation and spatial planning.

Herman Wijffels

Banking, sustainability
Close Herman Wijffels, Dutch economist and former CEO of Rabobank, is a widely recognized authority on sustainability, business and governance. He worked between 1981 and 1999 at the Rabobank, ultimately as CEO. From 1999 – 2006 he was chairman of the Dutch Social-Economic Council, an independent and influencial advisory body of the government.

From 2006 to 2008 Herman Wijffels was director and Dutch representative at the World Bank in Washington. Between 2006-2007 he lead the negotiations between the political parties to create a new Dutch government. From 2009 tp 2016 Herman Wijffels was professor ‘Sustainability and Societal Change’ at Utrecht University.

He chaired and led several innovative initiatives and committees, including the World Connectors and the Sustainable Finance Lab, to reform the banking sector. Some of those initiatives are carrying his name, such as the Herman Wijffels Innovation price.

Mantang Cai

Restoration ecology, forestry
Close Prof. Dr. Mantang Cai is deputy Director of Beijing Development Institute of Beijing University in China. His main research areas are environmental policy and integrated watershed management. He studied agriculture, forestry, land use and natural resource management at the Central-South Forestry University (China), Oxford University (UK) and Indian Forestry Institute (India).

Cai Mantang worked at the Chinese Academy of Forestry from 1983 to 1996 in areas of plantation for energy, agroforestry, community-based natural resource management, and rehabilitation of degraded forestland. From 1997 – 2000, he worked at the International Network For Bamboo and Rattan as the Special Assistant to the Director General and Program Director (Outreach). He is advisor to the Elion Resources Group in China.

Sara Scherr

Landscape management, business
Close Dr. Sara Scherr is an agricultural and natural resource economist specializing in land management policy in tropical developing countries. She is the Founder of EcoAgriculture Partners and currently serves as its President and CEO. In 2011 she led the founding of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative, for which EcoAgriculture Partners now serves as secretariat. Prior to the creation of EcoAgriculture Partners, Dr. Scherr held positions as Director of Ecosystem Services at the non-profit Forest Trends; adjunct professor at the University of Maryland; co-leader of the CGIAR Gender Program; senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute; and principal researcher at the World Agroforestry Centre.

She received her BA in Economics at Wellesley College, and her MSc and PhD in International Economics and Development at Cornell University. As a scientist she is widely published in scientific and policy literature and has been a leading voice globally in promoting the restoration of degraded agricultural lands and new approaches for integrated landscape management.

Rui Li

Soil and water conservation
Close Rui Li is a professor at the Institute of Soil and Water Conservation (ISWC), CAS/MWR and NWUAF. He has been president of the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWAC) since 2011, and is currently editor-in-chief of the International Soil and Water Conservation Research (ISWCR).

Rui has been involved in research on soil and water conservation, land resources investigation, land-use planning, and the monitoring/evaluation of soil erosion/control using remote sensing since 1972. In 1994-2001, he served as deputy director of ISWC, and was promoted to director in 2002, where he remained until 2006. His main research fields include: comprehensive control of soil erosion at small watershed and regional scales; remote sensing image processing and extraction of soil erosion/control factors/measures; regional investigation/planning of soil and water conservation, and regional impacts of soil erosion/conservation on the environment.

He has led more than 30 completed projects and has had more than 120 papers published in journals and at international conferences. As both chief editor and co-editor, he has had 12 books published.

Michael Braungart

Social and Political Sciences of the Environment
Close Michael Braungart is a German chemist who advocates that humans can make a positive instead of a negative environmental impact by redesigning industrial production. For decades, he pioneered the Cradle to Cradle design concept and has worked with various organizations and companies across a range of industries in order to develop and design eco-effective products, business systems and intelligent materials pooling. Michael Braungart is CEO of EPEA, Environmental Protection and Encouragement Agency in Hamburg, Germany, which was founded in 1987 and holds the Academic Cradle to Cradle Chair for Innovation and Quality at RSM, Erasmus University in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and is professor at the Leuphana University in Lüneburg (Germany).

Nanno Kleiterp

Development Finance, banking, sustainability
Close Nanno Kleiterp is the Chairman of the European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI), a group of 15 european development banks financing private business in emerging markets. From 2008 to 2016 Nanno was the CEO of the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), where he worked for almost 30 years. Before joining FMO, he worked in Peru, Mexico and Nicaragua.Nanno is also Chairman of IUCN, Dutch Chapter.

Nanno's passion is to contribute to a sustainable world , bringing together Governments, NGO's, Business and investors. This in order to create new viable business models at scale that will contribute to the Global Goals, where finally institutional investors want to invest in.

Jonathan Wates

Sustainability and leadership
Close Having started his career at Grand Metropolitan (now Diageo), Jonny joined Wates Developments in 1995 and later held the position of Group Marketing Director until 2006. He was appointed to the Wates Group Board in 2008. Jonny is a Trustee of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust and the William Wates Memorial Trust and has an MBA from Cranfield University. He has a particular interest in sustainability and is currently studying for a Masters in Sustainability Leadership at Cambridge University. He Chairs the Wates Group Board Sustainability Committee.

Charles Massy

Environment, society & regenerative agriculture
Close Dr. Charles Massy is a Visiting Fellow at The Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University. He manages an 1820 ha sheep and cattle grazing property under regenerative agriculture principles; is a published author; and consults on landscape management, farming and design, Merino sheep and wool genetics, while teaching university classes on regenerative agriculture principles. He recently published the groundbreaking book ‘Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, A New Earth’.

Wouter-Jan Schouten

Business and Sustainable Food Systems
Close Wouter-Jan Schouten was Partner & Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group until 2013. At BCG he served many of the leading global consumer goods and agriculture companies for over 20 years, he led BCG’s Consumer Goods practice in the Netherlands and was a member of the Dutch ‘Top & Direction team’ Agri-Food. Since 2014, he devotes himself to promoting the transition to sustainable food systems with positive impact. He worked for WWF as the leader of the corporate partnerships team, and he was a member of the Dutch Transition Team ‘Food & Biomass’ that shaped the transition agenda to a circular economy. Currently, he serves as an associate partner at NewForesight and as theme Director Sustainable Food Systems at TiFN, a collaboration platform for pre-competitive research and innovation in the Agri&Food sector.

Aart van den Bos

Social Entrepreneur
Close Aart has over 20 years of professional experience in more than 20 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia as a social entrepreneur and international development practitioner. He holds an MBA Global eCommerce from Rotterdam School of Management.

In the early stages of his career Aart worked for the Dutch Government Agency of Entrepreneurship, which stimulated private sector investments in R&D and innovation. Through his own company, Verbos Business Development, Aart is currently managing projects and setting up new businesses in several countries, with a focus on enhancing sustainable agriculture and mitigating negative environmental and social impacts, while recognizing the need for economic viability. Additionally, Aart is a co-founder of Soil & More International, an organization which supports farmers around the world in implementing sustainable farming approaches that consider regenerative farming systems including incentive models. Aart van den Bos is an active board member in numerous organizations dedicated to positive social and/or ecological development.

Alexander Zeverijn

Business planning, governance
Close Alexander Zeverijn is a social entrepreneur engaged in business driven development opportunities and impact investments in East Africa.
The prime focus of his work is protected area business planning and governance. Recently he worked as the general manager for several land use planning, funding and capacity building programs for protected areas in Kenya and Tanzania, and also as an expert advisor to various NGO’s on role definition and performance improvement.
Previously, Alexander worked as an infrastructure developer focusing on airports. Alexander holds a LLM in Law from Groningen University and a MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau.

Cora van Oosten

Capacity development, training, research
Close Cora van Oosten is a human geographer with approximately 25 years of international experience in landscape approaches, governance, and participatory planning. She has worked as senior advisor, project manager and team leader, for various organizations, usually on long term assignments in Africa (Kenya, Burkina Faso, Ghana), Latin America (Bolivia) and Asia (Cambodia).

At present, Cora is employed as senior project leader at Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen UR, where she is in charge of a project portfolio related to landscape approaches, governance, and capacity development. Within this area, she has developed a keen interest in the restoration of degraded landscapes in the tropics. By combining her trainings, project implementation and research activities she has developed a growing body of knowledge on how landscapes can be restored in an economically viable and socially acceptable way.

All Cora’s work is characterized by a high level of participation and multi-stakeholder learning, often supported by web-based learning and social media. What Cora likes about Commonland is its emphasis on the role of the private sector. Private companies, so she says, have a responsibility in landscape restoration. Especially those companies engaged in global commodity chains have to start perceiving their sourcing areas not only as extraction areas, but also as areas of investment.

Ian Banks

Business intelligence, carbon economics
Close Ian Banks is a specialist in carbon economics, climate change policy and conservation finance. He has experience working on these topics at McKinsey, providing expertise to clients and contributing to reports on environmental sustainability and resource productivity. He has also worked as a researcher on an NGO report on the economics of complementary medicine; for the European Commission on trade issues, including access to HIV/AIDS drugs; and for the Welsh Assembly government on agricultural and environmental economics. He has also been a member of charity expeditions to Chile and Mongolia.

Ian is now working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on a toolkit for governments to stimulate the transition to a circular economy. He has a BA (Hons) in economics from Durham University, England and has studied carbon finance at the London Business School.

Ilse Hennemann

Capacity development, action research
Close Ilse Hennemann is a human geographer and environmental sociologist in the areas of integrated landscape management, environmental governance and multi-stakeholder processes in the wider eco-agricultural landscapes. Her expertise lies in capacity development, which entails the development of those capacities that are needed to design, develop and facilitate restoration projects at landscape level. She is passionate about bringing different stakeholders together and encouraging them to collectively learn from each other.

John van Duursen

Entrepreneurship, climate-smart-agriculture
Close John van Duursen is a business developer with the purpose to restore and protect our planet through innovative business models and disruptive (but smart) thinking.

He has over 10 years experience as entrepreneur and program manager in the field of impact investing, SME development, climate-smart-agriculture and sustainable supply chains, building better and greener businesses.
His track record includes founding the BiD Network, setting up ‘the Nature Challenge’ with WWF, professionalizing and managing the ‘Green Entrepreneurship Program’ at Hivos and accelerating the ‘restorative value chain’ through managing ProClimate. John holds (M)BA’s in International Business and Environmental Management.

Jose Maria Rabade

Environmental Evaluator and Forester
Close Jose Maria Rábade Blanco developed during the last 35 years an intensive activity into the Spanish public sector, particularly the business public sector, where he became top executive, tackling issues relates to strategy consulting, natural, urban and industrial environment, governance and rural development, in national and international projects, this leading position allowed him to span a global professional vision on the challenges and opportunities that sustainable development represents.

Kim van der Leeuw

Entrepreneurship, climate science, carbon
Close Kim van der Leeuw is a business developer with one clear goal in mind: building better business. He has over 10 years experience in renewable energy, carbon markets, impact finance and social entrepreneurship.

He worked on projects in over 20 countries. His track record includes making the 2010 world cup in South Africa more climate neutral through LED lighting, developing programs for clean cook stoves in Africa, and managing a large safari company’s positive impact activities.
Building better business also manifests itself in his entrepreneurial drive. Kim is the proud co-founder of WakaWaka, who’s light is changing lives from Haiti to Syria.

Li An Phoa

Holistic learning, multi-stakeholder processes
Close Li An Phoa is a passionate systems-thinker engaged in research, holistic learning and creation for vital food, water, and landscapes. She initiates and facilitates multi-stakeholder processes. She works with large organizations such as Unilever and the Rwandan Ministry of Health, as well as innovative farmers, artists and indigenous communities.

Li An teaches at Rotterdam School of Management, Nyenrode Business University, Schumacher College and co-founded Spring College teaching hundreds of people outdoors about ecology and economy.

Marlon Sahetapy

International marketing, business development
Close Based in London, Marlon provides Commonland with expertise on international marketing, business development, product structuring, governance and capital raising, areas in which he has fifteen years of global experience.
Marlon was a Director at Hermes Fund Managers Ltd, which is owned by the UK’s largest pension fund, the BT Pension Scheme Ltd, and an Investment Principal at Aureos Capital, a private equity manager exclusively focused on the emerging markets.

Paulus Ingram

Private market investment
Close Paulus is Senior Portfolio Manager Opportunity Fund and Hedge Funds at APG Asset Management and has 15 years of investment and asset management experience primarily in private market investments.

Patrick de Buck

Entrepreneurship, partnerships
Close Technician and social entrepreneur. Has worked for many years setting up local partnerships with communities in sustainable agriculture in West Africa. Is based in Belgium.

Sabine Biesheuvel

Social innovation, online collaboration
Close Sabine Biesheuvel is a digital and cultural anthropologist and a firm believer of an inclusive economy of the crowd that benefits landscapes and people alike. She combines her passion for people, social collaboration and co-creation with business innovation, systems thinking and sustainability.

Sabine holds a MSc in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies with a focus on social capital and migration. She has worked for the commercial sector (mainly financial institutions) on implementing social business and mass online collaboration and is active for several networks that deal with social innovation and large scale interventions such as Open Space, World Cafe and Future Search.

Samira Omar Asem

R&D, natural resources
Close Dr. Samira Omar Asem is a Principal Research Scientist in the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research. Dr. Omar obtained her PhD in Wild Land Resource Science in the year 1990 from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently she is the Program Director for a project entitled “Management Support and Technical Supervision of Kuwait Environmental Remediation Program for Kuwait National Focal Point”.

Dr. Omar has more than 40 years of R&D experience in conservation and sustainable development of renewable natural resources such as; monitoring and assessment of terrestrial environments, establishment of protected areas, rangeland management, control of mobile sand, rehabilitation of degraded rangelands, agriculture master planning, soil survey, GIS application, livestock aerial census, sustainable land-use planning and environmental claims.
She has United Nations consulting work experience on environment and agriculture. She contributed to 30 refereed journal papers; 27 books and chapters, 80 proceedings and 103 technical reports. She is a technical consultant and editor of scientific documents who participated in 120 conferences.

Stef van Dongen

Innovation, venture philanthropy
Close Stef van Dongen is an entrepreneur who founded several impact-driven companies of which Enviu is the mother organization. His passion is to activate professionals to co-create business ideas that address global social and ecological issues and turn these ideas into scalable start-ups. Stef is board member and advisor of several companies and innovation networks.

Steven de Bie

Business and eco-agro-technology
Close Prof. Steven de Bie is a scientist and businessman, a generator of ideas and a freethinker. Always on the lookout for opportunities, out-of-the- box, creative, realistic, challenging; feasible in business terms, better for biodiversity and other challenges facing society as we move towards a sustainable future.
Steven is adjunct professor in Sustainable Use of Living Resources at Wageningen University and until recently manager strategic environmental partnerships at Shell International. The prime focus of his work is biodiversity and ecosystems: how can biodiversity loss be halted without harming economic development.

Steven is an ecologist, with degrees from Groningen and Wageningen Universities.


Commonland works in close cooperation with internationally leading organizations.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Close The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment.

Through its members, the Council applies its respected thought leadership and effective advocacy to generate constructive solutions and take shared action to drive business action on sustainability in the coming decade and beyond.

The WBCSD aims to be the leading voice of business that will support companies in scaling up true value-added business solutions and in creating the conditions where more sustainable companies will succeed and be recognized. Action2020 is the WBCSD’s platform for sustainability in action. It’s the roadmap for how businesses can positively influence environmental and social trends while strengthening their own resilience to issues like climate change, demographic dynamics and skills shortages. Based on the latest scientific consensus, Action2020 sets an agenda for businesses to take action on sustainable development to 2020 and beyond.

The WBCSD is a mission partner of Commonland, as both share the vision that companies and investors should be actively involved in ecosystem restoration and management. The work of Commonland contributes to WBCSD’s Ecosystems & Landscape Management Cluster.

Contact person: Violaine Berger, Director Ecosystems & Agriculture (Berger@wbcsd.org).


United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification

Close Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.

The Convention’s 195 parties work together to improve the living conditions of people in drylands, to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought. The UNCCD is particularly committed to a bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating desertification and land degradation. The UNCCD secretariat facilitates cooperation between developed and developing countries, particularly around knowledge and technology transfer for sustainable land management.

The mission of the UNCCD on restoration and soil rehabilitation and poverty alleviation is aligned with the Bonn Challenge and with Commonland’s mission.


United Nations Environment Programme

Close United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment.

UNEP work encompasses assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends, developing international and national environmental instruments, and strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment.

The mission of the United Nations Environment Programme on ecosystem restoration is aligned with the Bonn Challenge and with Commonland’s mission.


Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration

Close The Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration was launched in 2003 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Forestry Commission of Great Britain. Since then, more than 25 governments and international and non-governmental organizations have joined. It is a proactive network that unites governments, organizations, communities and individuals with a common goal: restoring the world’s degraded and deforested lands.

The partnership was initiated with the purpose of catalyzing and reinforcing a network of diverse examples of restoration of forests and degraded lands that deliver benefits to local communities and to nature, and fulfill international commitments on forests.

Commonland is a member of the partnership with the objective to share information amongst the partnership members and to contribute to the goal of the Bonn Challenge with the 4 returns approach and concrete projects in the field.

Contact person: Carole Saint Laurent, coordinator (carole.saint-laurent@iucn.org).


Economics of Land Degradation

Close The Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative is a global initiative on the economic benefits of land and land-based ecosystems. It aims to increase political and public awareness of the economic costs and benefits of healthy and productive land. The secretariat of the initiative is hosted by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

The initiative highlights the value of sustainable land management and provides a global approach for analysis of the economics of land degradation. It aims to make the economics of land degradation an integral part of policy strategies and decision-making by increasing political and public awareness of the costs and benefits of land and land-based ecosystems.

The ELD vision is to transform global understanding of the economic value of productive land based on both market and non-market values, and to improve stakeholder awareness for socio-economic arguments to improve sustainable land management, prevent the loss of natural capital, preserve ecosystem services, combat climate change, and address food, energy, and water security. The ELD methodological approach will translate economic, social and ecological knowledge into topical information and tools to support improved policy-making and practices in land management suitable for policy makers, scientific communities, local administrators and practitioners, and the private sector.

As mission partner, ELD provides Commonland access to its methodology and network of experts on the economics of land degradation.

Contact person: Mark Schauer, Coordinator (mark.schauer@giz.de).


Wageningen University

Close To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life is the mission of Wageningen UR (University & Research Centre). A staff of 6,500 and 10,000 students from over 100 countries work everywhere around the world in the domain of healthy food and living environment for governments and the business community at large.

The strength of Wageningen UR lies in its ability to combine the strengths of specialized research institutes and Wageningen University. It also lies in the combined efforts of the various fields of natural and social sciences. This union of expertise leads to scientific breakthroughs that can quickly be put into practice and be incorporated into education. This is the Wageningen Approach. As a mission partner, several Wageningen UR institutes and experts are involved in ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation.


IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management

Close The Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) is one of the six scientific commissions of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The IUCN CEM is a network of volunteer experts, numbering 1,000, from around the world working on ecosystem management-related issues, for example climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, Red List of Ecosystems, fisheries and ecosystem restoration and services.

The Commission works closely with other IUCN commissions, such as the Species Survival Commission and the World Commission on Protected Areas, as well as IUCN regional offices and global thematic programs. The IUCN Global Ecosystem Management Programme (EMP) is the focal program for CEM, which provides secretariat and technical support. Commonland staff are taking part in CEM’s thematic working groups on ecosystem restoration and business involvement. The international secretariat is based in Gland, Switzerland.

IUCN CEM is one of the founding fathers of Commonland. The Commission offers Commonland guidance and advice and gives access to IUCN’s worldwide database on ecosystems and network experts.

Contact person: Angela Andrade, CEM chair Angela.ANDRADE@iucn.org (or via Manuela Ruiz, cem.iucn.1720@gmail.com)


Rotterdam School of Management – Erasmus University

Close Over the past 40 years, Rotterdam School of Management – Erasmus University (RSM) has firmly established its reputation as one of Europe’s leading business schools.

RSM offers a distinctive intellectual culture. They believe that leadership can be taught through a combination of intellectual and practical challenges, and that the difficulties one encounters when working in diverse teams foster creative new approaches in business. They enjoy a reciprocal, supportive relationship with multinational companies and encourage a flexible, broad and sometimes iconoclastic mindset in matters of business practice and research.

This distinct approach has helped RSM to establish a portfolio of top-ranked programs, as well as one of the world’s largest and most prolific management faculties.

Rotterdam School of Management – Erasmus University is one of the founding fathers of Commonland, because they understand the importance of ecosystems in future business propositions.

Together with RSM and Wageningen University & Research Centre, Commonland aims to set up a center of expertise dedicated to ecosystem restoration, located in the business school. RSM advises Commonland on business cases and makes available its international network of top-notch business schools.

Contact person: Eva Rood, co-director, Center for Eco-transformation (erood@rsm.nl).


COmON Foundation

Close The COmON Foundation is a private initiative, established with the purpose of delivering a concrete contribution to the process of nurturing nature, education and employment. The COmON Foundation supports the development of populations in poor countries by establishing – in regions where such potential is inherently present, step-by-step – the basic conditions for the development of a healthy natural environment, education and a basic infrastructure in order to enable the next steps in development, such as the productivity of farming and cattle raising, forestry and vegetable growing and trade in agrarian products.

The COmON Foundation works exclusively in the form of projects with a clear objective, measurable results and completion within a predefined time-span. This is usually a period of approximately 5 years.

The vision and ambitions of the COmON Foundation are deeply rooted in Commonland. As one of the founding fathers of Commonland, they support the Commonland mission with financial support and access to their private investors network.

Contact person: Annemieke Gerritsen - Nouwens, Personal Assistant to John Loudon, CEO COmON Foundation and executive board member Commonland (annemieke.gerritsen@comon.earth).


ASN Bank

Close As a sustainable bank since 1960, ASN Bank wants to make an active contribution to social processes that promote the long-term sustainability of society. They have been formulating long-term goals at the strategic level for some time now. These goals will allow them to incorporate their mission in all their activities. In wording their long-term goals, they base themselves on the three pillars of their sustainability policy: climate change, human rights and biodiversity.

ASN Bank’s mission is: ‘ASN Bank is a company committed to promoting the sustainability of society and is guided by that commitment in its commercial conduct’. They aim to achieve this mission by increasing sustainability in both their office organization and their investments. The latter is essential, as the impact they have on a sustainable future through their ‘balance sheet activities’ – ASN Bank’s investments and the investments of the ASN Investment Funds and ASN Asset Management – is many times larger than the influence exercised by their office organization. Since the start in 2013, ASN Bank has supported Commonland’s mission and its 4 returns approach in the Netherlands.


The DOEN Foundation

Close As a promoter of people and organizations that take the lead in the field of sustainable, cultural and social innovation, DOEN believes in a green, socially inclusive and creative society. DOEN supports these innovators and brings them into contact with each other.

Annually, DOEN supports more than 200 initiatives by means of subsidies, participations, loans and guarantees. These initiatives are characterized by their enterprising approach: people, organizations and enterprises that dare to take risks that are creative and innovatory and thus effectively contribute to a better and cleaner world. DOEN supports initiatives in the field of Culture and Cohesion and Green and Inclusive Economy.

As an initial supporter, DOEN participates in realizing the establishment of Commonland’s work in South Africa and Spain.



Close Hivos is an international development organization guided by humanist values. Together with local civil society organizations in developing countries, Hivos wants to contribute to a free, fair and sustainable world. A world in which all citizens – both women and men – have equal access to opportunities and resources for development and can participate actively and equally in decision-making processes that determine their lives, their society and their future.

Hivos is committed to people in Africa, Asia and Latin America who are systematically blocked from rights, opportunities and resources. One of the guiding principles of the Hivos philosophy is strengthening the social position of women.

As an initial supporter, Hivos is committed to working together with Commonland on realizing 4 returns projects with their partners.

Contact person: Carol Gribnau, green entrepreneurship program director (cgribnau@hivos.nl)


Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs

Close The Dutch government, represented by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, is committed to Commonland’s mission, as part of its policies on climate smart agriculture, biodiversity conservation and restoration, sustainable trade, business development, green infrastructure and water management. In several embassies of the Netherlands, staff members are willing to participate in the network.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has supported Commonland’s mission and the 4 returns model since 2015.


Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment

Close The Dutch government, represented by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, is committed to Commonland’s mission, as part of its policies on climate smart agriculture, biodiversity conservation and restoration, sustainable trade, business development, green infrastructure and water management. In several embassies of the Netherlands, staff members are willing to participate in the network.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment has supported Commonland’s mission and its 4 returns approach since 2013.


Triodos Bank

Close Triodos Bank is one of the world’s leading sustainable banks. Their mission is to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change.

More specifically, Triodos Bank is in business to help create a society that protects and promotes the quality of life of all its members and that has human dignity at its core; to enable individuals, organizations and businesses to use their money in ways that benefit people as well as the environment and promote sustainable development; and to offer their customers sustainable financial products and high-quality service.

Triodos bank has given international support to Commonland’s mission and its 4 returns approach since the start in 2013.


Charles Darwin Foundation

Close The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (CDF) is an international not-for-profit scientific organization. The CDF has been working in the Galapagos since 1959 with a clear mission to provide scientific knowledge and assistance to ensure the conservation of the Galapagos.

The CDF works closely with the Galapagos National Park Directorate – the main local government environmental authority – overseeing the safeguarding of the islands’ natural resources, and providing the results of scientific research to conserve this living laboratory. The organization’s staff is 90% Ecuadorian and CDF is committed to training Galapagos residents as future scientists for the good of the islands and the country at large.

The CDF is implementing a restoration project on the Galapagos based on the 4 returns approach of Commonland. Commonland contributes to CDF’s long-term vision for the Galapagos.


Ecoagriculture Partners

Close Landscapes are mosaics of natural and human-modified ecosystems. They provide multiple benefits, such as food, rural livelihoods and wellbeing, energy, fibers and building materials, medicines, ecosystem services and biodiversity.

As a form of integrated landscape management, ecoagriculture affirms the value of supporting these benefits in a way that reinforces synergies. In the past, the goals of ecoagriculture were often perceived to be in conflict. But many integrated landscape initiatives practicing ecoagriculture have shown how conservation, agriculture and development can co-exist or even positively affect each other.

This process requires collaboration or coordination between diverse stakeholders who are collectively responsible for managing key components of a landscape. EcoAgriculture Partners uses an integrated approach to enhance rural livelihoods, conserve biodiversity and improve agricultural productivity.

EcoAgriculture Partners is supporting the mission of Commonland. Commonland is a strategic partner of EcoAgriculture Partners and also participates in the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative (www.landscapes.ecoagriculture.org).



Close The Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP) is dedicated to researching and communicating globally about functional and dysfunctional ecosystems. This is in order to envision the way forward for humanity to survive in a world with intact ecosystems.

The EEMP understands the problems facing humanity and their root causes and disseminates information about well-tested solutions through film and multimedia-presentations. It is founded by John D. Liu, Commonland’s ambassador and colleague in outreach and media.

EEMP is able to do this since John D. Liu has made himself responsible for communicating about these critical problems and solutions, roving around the world constantly to reach new audiences with these little-known truths. As he moves, he comes across ever more case studies of degradation and restoration, and this feeds into a constant interplay of ecosystem-related scientific learning and practical interventions with learning partners. The EEMP then captures and leverages visual imagery and explanations translated into many languages to show governments and international agencies, policy makers and different interest groups not only how it is possible to restore the land-based ecosystems of this planet, but to point out countless benefits that logically follow for human wellbeing.

EEMP and Commonland work together to achieve Commonland’s goals.


Foundation for Ecological Security

Close The Foundation for Ecological Security was set up in 2001 to reinforce the massive and critical task of ecological restoration in India. The Foundation strives for a future that is based on a holistic understanding of the principles that govern the interrelationships of various life forms and natural systems.

The essence of these efforts lies in intertwining principles of nature conservation and local self-governance in order to accelerate ecological restoration, as well as to improve the living conditions of the poor.

The Foundation for Ecological Security supports Commonland’s mission.


Global Footprint Network

Close In 2003, Global Footprint Network (GFN) was established to enable a sustainable future where all people have the opportunity to live satisfying lives within the means of one planet. Their work aims to accelerate the use of the Ecological Footprint — a resource accounting tool that measures how much nature we have, how much we use, and who uses what.

The efforts of GFN are fueled by a future vision in which human demand on nature is monitored as closely as the stock market. They provide the scientific data necessary to drive large-scale, social change.

GFN gives insight into the ecological footprint of companies and investors. This insight can help companies and investors get involved in or invest in restoring ecosystems.


ISRIC – World Soil Information

Close ISRIC – World Soil Information is an independent, science-based foundation. The institute was founded in 1966 following a recommendation of the International Soil Science Society (ISSS) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It has a mandate to serve the international community by providing information about the world’s soil resources to help address major global issues.

ISRIC has been the ICSU World Data Centre for Soils since 1989, is a member of the Open Geospatial Consortium and collaborates with a wide range of partners worldwide. ISRIC operates on three priority areas: soil data and soil mapping, application of soil data in global development issues and training and education.

As one of Commonland’s scientific partners, ISRIC provides the necessary soil science and data needed to implement restoration activities on the ground.



Close The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization. Its mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

IUCN is involved in data-analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, lobbying and education. The organization has observer and consultative status at the United Nations, and plays a role in the implementation of several international conventions on nature conservation and biodiversity. It is best known to the wider public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.

IUCN is hosting the Bonn Challenge. It supports Commonland’s mission, and is one of the founding fathers through the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management.


Leaders for Nature

Close Leaders for Nature is the business engagement network of twenty multinationals and major Dutch enterprises working together on greening the economy, founded by the Dutch office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

By offering knowledge and training, hands-on project support and inspiration, Leaders for Nature stimulates and facilitates companies to take the lead in this transition and incorporate natural capital in their core business.

Since its foundation in 2005, the Leaders for Nature network has connected more than 1,200 professionals from various management levels with other member companies, NGOs, governments and academic institutions, resulting in corporate action plans and joint programs. In 2012, Leaders for Nature launched its second network in India.

The Leaders for Nature network provides Commonland access to companies that are interested in working on ecosystem restoration.


Living Lands

Close Living Lands is a South African not-for-profit organization for conserving and restoring living landscapes.

A living landscape consists of a variety of healthy ecosystems and land uses, and is home to ecological, agricultural, and social systems that are managed so as to function sustainably. This ensures that natural and cultural resources are available for future generations and that the system is resilient for adaptation to climate change.

Their mission is to bring synergies and added value to the landscape through promoting living landscapes, mobilizing civil society for sustainability, enabling and facilitating social learning processes and fostering mutually beneficial partnerships and participatory networks.

Living Lands supports Commonland’s mission and works together with Commonland in South Africa.


Netherlands Institute of Ecology

Close The Netherlands Institute of Ecology is one of the largest research institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Its core task is to conduct basic and strategic ecological research that meets the highest international standards.

The scientists at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology perform basic and strategic ecological research on individual organisms, populations, ecological communities and ecosystems. Together they study animal, plant and microbial ecology in terrestrial and freshwater environments. The multidisciplinary collaboration within this diverse group of ecologists has created unique opportunities to develop the broad, comprehensive approaches needed to solve complex ecological problems.

The Netherlands Institute of Ecology supports Commonland’s mission and assists Commonland with technical advice and expertise upon request.


Presencing Institute

Close The Presencing Institute of MIT Harvard is an awareness-based action-research community that creates social technologies, builds capacities, and generates holding spaces for profound societal renewal. They develop and disseminate tools that help change makers to create deep innovation and change.

The Presencing Institute has created a framework and methodology that allows diverse groups of stakeholders to co-sense, reinvent, and co-create the larger eco-systems in which they operate. This has been published in two books: Presence and Theory U. Their third book, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-system Economies (2013), has set the stage for the next wave of action research, systems change, and collaborative renewal.

Theory U is used by Commonland to align all stakeholders in a deeper understanding of the returns of inspiration and social capital. The Presencing Institute gives guidance to the Commonland team on working with Theory U at a landscape level.



Close The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA) is Turkey’s largest and leading environmental NGO.

To fulfill its mission to create effective and conscious public opinion on environmental problems – specifically soil erosion, deforestation, desertification, climate change and biodiversity loss – TEMA operates at local, national and international level.

It organizes awareness-raising events and campaigns for community mobilization and empowerment; it implements educational activities and model projects of various scales; it intervenes in government policies for proper environmental protection and it conducts legal activities, both by legislation drafting and through its lawsuits.

TEMA is implementing restoration projects in Turkey and supports the mission of Commonland.


Tompkins Conservation

Close For two decades, Tompkins Conservation has been creating national parks, recovering imperiled wildlife, implementing ecological agriculture, promoting healthy local communities, and supporting leading-edge activism.

They develop diverse programs around each unique place in which they work, but all efforts lead back to a common vision: big, secure, wild landscapes where all the native plants and animals thrive. Nearby, human communities flourish, their economic vitality linked to the vibrant good health of the natural world surrounding them.

The experiences of Tompkins Conservation in Latin America are a valuable tool to be shared within the Commonland team. Commonland works together with Tompkins Conservation at team level.


Utrecht University

Close Established in 1636, Utrecht University has evolved into a leading modern research university with a growing international reputation. On the 2013 Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities, Utrecht University ranked first in the Netherlands, 13th in Europe and shared 52nd place in the world.

The Copernicus Institute of Utrecht University investigates and develops processes and opportunities for innovative change towards sustainability. The institute thus seeks to contribute to the development of knowledge and techniques as well as methods and instruments in the field of sustainable development, taking note of related social debates and policy processes.

It is the ambition of the institute to make a difference – in science and education, and in society at large – in the exploration of a sustainable world.

The Copernicus Institute – Utrecht University supports Commonland’s mission and gives advice on ecosystem science issues.


Wetlands International

Close Wetlands International is the only global not-for-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands. Their vision is a world where wetlands are treasured and nurtured for their beauty, the life they support and the resources they provide.

Wetlands International is dedicated to maintaining and restoring wetlands for their environmental values as well as for the services they provide to people. They work through a network of offices, partners and experts. Wetlands International works at field level to develop and mobilize knowledge, and uses this practical experience to advocate better policies.

The experience of Wetlands International in wetland restoration is a key component of Commonland’s restoration toolkit. Through their expertise and international network, Wetlands International can work together with Commonland on local restoration projects.


World Land Trust

Close World Land Trust is an international conservation charity, which protects the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats hectare by hectare. Since its foundation in 1989, the World Land Trust has funded partner organizations around the world to create reserves, and give permanent protection to habitats and wildlife.

The mission of the World Land Trust is to protect and sustainably manage the world’s natural ecosystems and to conserve their biodiversity, with emphasis on threatened habitats and endangered species; to develop partnerships with local individuals, communities and organizations; to engage support and commitment among the people who live in project areas; to raise awareness, in the UK and elsewhere, of the need for conservation; and to improve understanding and generate support through education, information and fundraising.

The World Land Trust complements Commonland’s activities with support in the establishment of natural zones within the 4 returns landscape approach in large restoration business developments.



Close Deltares is an independent institute for applied research in the field of water, subsurface and infrastructure. Throughout the world, they work on smart solutions, innovations and applications for people, environment and society.

Their main focus is on deltas, coastal regions and river basins. As an applied research institute, the success of Deltares can be measured in the extent to which their expert knowledge can be used in and for society. For Deltares, the quality of their expertise and advice is foremost. Knowledge is their core business.

Deltares supports Commonland’s mission and can deliver technical expertise.



Close The World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWAC) is a worldwide academic society, founded in the USA in August 1983.

Since its establishment, the WASWAC has devoted itself to research and communication to solve scientific and technical problems related to soil and water conservation. So far, 1,125 members from 82 countries have joined WASWAC to pool their efforts. WASWAC has conducted many technical cooperative research projects; organized a series of international training courses, symposia and workshops; and set up and sponsored several awards in the field of soil and conservation.

WASWAC welcomes future cooperation and collaboration with sister organizations – including governmental bodies, research institutes, universities and consultants in soil and conservation-related fields all over the world – in promoting the application of wise soil and water management practices. The aim of which is to improve and safeguard the quality of land and water resources so they continue to meet the needs of agriculture, society and nature.

APG Asset Management

Close APG manages the pension assets of around 4.5 million Dutch citizens for its clients. APG firmly believes that participants benefit from a collective pension system. They support this pension system with their knowledge and expertise.

APG considers sustainability to be increasingly important because companies that incorporate sustainability in their strategic agenda adapt more easily to the changing environment, because sustainability yields cost savings and because sustainability enhances a company’s attractiveness as an employer and increases labor productivity.

APG is providing advice to Commonland on its long-term strategy.


Jones Day

Close Jones Day is a global law firm with 43 offices in major centers of business and finance throughout the world. Covering 18 countries on five continents, its unique governance system fosters an unparalleled level of integration and contributes to its ranking as one of the best in the world in client service.

Jones Day is legal advisor to Commonland and provides ongoing assistance on local and cross border legal matters.


Egon Zehnder

Close Egon Zehnder is a trusted advisor to many of the world’s most respected organizations and a leading executive search firm. Their clients range from the largest corporations to emerging growth companies, government and regulatory bodies, and major educational and cultural institutions.

Their core services include executive search, board consulting, and leadership strategy services. Egon Zehnder was founded in 1964 with two distinctive aims: to place the interests of their clients first, and to lead their profession in creating value for their clients.

Egon Zehnder supports Commonland’s mission and assists in developing the international business network.



Close Enviu kick-starts impact-driven companies; companies aimed at creating environmental and social impact. The products and services of their start-ups aim to improve the quality of life of as many people as possible in a sustainable way.

Enviu has two core activities: co-creation and business development. Through co-creation they generate business concepts together with their community of entrepreneurs and innovators. They then act as a risk-taking partner with the entrepreneurs that have the most promising concepts and make them investor ready.

Enviu support Commonland’s mission and partners in the quest for restoration companies.



Close Eosta is an international distributor of fresh organic fruits, vegetables and juices, with a focus on overseas fruits and greenhouse crops. They maintain a close working relationship with more than a thousand growers on six continents.

Their ‘trace and tell’ system, Nature & More, provides consumers with transparency about organic products. Their core values of responsibility, togetherness and authenticity are at the heart of their innovative approach.

Eosta supports Commonland’s mission and can assist in promoting and developing organic products.



Close FMO is the Dutch development bank that finances entrepreneurs from developing countries because they believe a thriving, sustainable private sector fuels economic and social progress. Their mission is to empower entrepreneurs to build a better world.

They finance companies, projects and financial institutions from developing and emerging markets. They believe that entrepreneurship is key in creating sustainable economic growth and improving people’s quality of life. FMO specializes in sectors where their contribution can have the highest long-term impact.

FMO supports Commonland’s mission.


Form International

Close Form International is a Dutch forestry-consulting firm established in 1992. It is ISO 9001 certified and offers high quality advice on forest management, certification and technical assistance to plantation establishment and management.

Sustainable commercial forest exploitation is one of the viable options to maintain important forest functions, while adding value to the forest and preserving it. Form International has extensive experience in tropical forest management, mainly in West and Central Africa, and is also active in Europe on Chain-of-Custody certification and PEFC conformity assessments.

Form International supports Commonland’s mission and can assist in the implementation of restoration projects.



Close Groasis is a socially active and environmental friendly enterprise based in the Netherlands. They are successfully planting trees in over 30 countries with extremely dry and hot climates.

The Groasis Technology is extremely efficient with water and helps the planter save money with eco-restoration, while – if the plantation is for agroforestry – also allowing the planter to make more money.

Groasis supports Commonland’s mission. They develop tools that can be used in semi-arid areas to plant trees without irrigation.


McKinsey & Company

Close McKinsey & Company is a global management-consulting firm. They are the trusted advisor to the world’s leading businesses, governments and institutions.

They use the intellectual, financial and convening power of their firm to help address some of the world’s most pressing problems. They do this through their work with private, public and social sector organizations, through their investments in research on topics such as education and through their extensive pro bono and volunteer work.

They draw on their functional and industry expertise to support organizations that are seeking to tackle the toughest societal challenges. Each year, they help leading foundations, nonprofits, and multilateral institutions to address issues such as disease, poverty, climate change and natural disasters.

McKinsey & Company gave pro bono advice during the start up phase of Commonland.


Land Life Company

Close The Land Life Company fills a void by providing professional, low-cost and biodegradable products to improve the ecological and esthetic value of land. The objective of the Land Life Company is to make a material contribution in the form of large restoration projects (1,000 hectares and more) and landscaping projects in dry climates.

Achieving this objective will enhance the quality of ecosystems through improved water management, enriched biodiversity, reduced soil erosion and increased dust and CO2 absorption. Perhaps most importantly, it will help to build local economies and communities and form a source of pride and inspiration for people.

The Land Life Company supports Commonland’s mission. They develop tools that can be used in semi-arid areas to plant trees without irrigation.



Close Santam is widely regarded as the leading and most trusted brand in the South African short-term insurance industry. As part of the largest general insurance group in Africa, Santam currently holds a local market share of 23%.

Key to its success is Santam’s unyielding commitment to providing insurance good and proper. At Santam, they believe in a simple principle - that insurance is something that should add value and peace of mind, not questions, uncertainty, parameters or excuses.

Santam is committed to creating a stable and prosperous society and supports Commonland’s mission.


Close AlVelAl is based in the Altiplano de Granada, Los Véles and the Alto Almanzora. Together with the association AlVelAl, Commonland developed a large-scale 4 returns landscape restoration plan for the region, which will be implemented in the coming years.

The goal of the association is to mobilize the community in sharing the vision of creating a region that is self-sufficient and full of life. Their aim is to take care of the soil and water in the area and work towards ecological agriculture, which improves the soil fertility. The association’s work is based on the 4 returns approach and is supported by Commonland. AlVelAl organizes activities which improve the capacity of professionals in agriculture and ecotourism and it helps to implement regenerative practices and to restore the land.

La Almendrehesa

Close Our young company, La Almendrehesa, has been created as an initiative within a project of landscape restoration in the southeast of Andalusia, one of the areas at highest risk for desertification in the world. Launched by the Commonland Foundation in 2014, this project is a start-up spurred by highly motivated persons and institutions such as farmers, researchers, engineers, public bodies, etc. of the high plains districts of Granada, Los Vélez and the Alto Almanzora combining their efforts within the AlVelAl Association and recently expanded with the addition of the northeast of Murcia and the district of Guadix. Our company also stems from this initiative. Our objective is to showcase this effort to improve our natural environment and to offer regional products obtained using regenerative methods for soil and landscape that are ecologically, economically and socially sustainable, with an outlook to the development and well-being of the area. All of this is aimed at an ideally productive ecosystem which we call La Almendrehesa, where non-irrigated almond trees as main crop together with other crops such as olive trees, vines, cereals and aromatic plants combine with the implementation of hedges, vegetation cover, bee-keeping and sustainable grazing.


Close Grounded works with farmers to develop regenerative businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. These businesses establish a healthier and more profitable balance between nature and agriculture, while shortening the value chain between producers and consumers. Through a thoroughly holistic approach (Commonland’s 4 returns approach), they systematically develop landscape-scale businesses that produce higher yields while simultaneously having a lower impact on the environment. In doing so, they support and foster the mass restoration of nature and degraded farmland across sub-Saharan Africa. Their main focus is on developing and cultivating high-value crops which can be processed on the landscape, thus shortening the value-chain while maximizing the value for the farmer.

Living Lands

Close Living Lands is a not-for-profit organization created for the purpose of restoring living landscapes. Together with various stakeholders, they set up local learning networks to create a mutual understanding in working together towards more sustainable land use. They bring synergies and added value to the landscape through promoting living landscapes and mobilizing civil society for sustainability. Furthermore, they enable and facilitate social learning processes and foster mutually beneficial partnerships and participatory networks.

Wide Open Agriculture

Close The aim of Wide Open Agriculture is to empower Wheatbelt farmers to transition towards regenerative farming practices, which can deliver both the selection and variety, that local and export markets are demanding. They believe this transition will produce meaningful food that inspires communities and regenerates ecosystems. Together with Commonland, Wide Open Agriculture aims to rehabilitate the degraded landscape and rejuvenate communities by using the 4 returns approach.

Their effort also focusses on delivering healthy, nutritious, fresh and affordable food. Currently, they produce food in a way that delivers 4 returns, but remains affordable to the buyer. They adopt technologies that are non-harmful to the environment and the community that surrounds them. Their food systems will be water-secure and resilient to climatic variability. This will ensure consistent, regular supply of fresh, local foods from the Wheatbelt.


Close Froidefontaine Farm, located in Havelange Belgium, brings together producers of food, and other entrepreneurs to build a unique place for food, crafts, education and hospitality. By combining these diverse activities, Froidefontaine Farm offers a range of high-quality products and catering, as well as an enriching experience for many visitors. They apply agroecological and regenerative practices based on Commonland’s 4 returns approach, and protect our natural zones, which all in all, makes a farm full of life!

Watch video.

Baviaanskloof Development Company

Close The Baviaanskloof Devco promotes the development of Four Returns farming practices in the Baviaanskloof, to restore degraded land and increase income for farmers. It's primary focus is the processing and marketing of essential oils. The company also supports farmers to establish these crops on their farms, and transition towards regenerative farming practices. The income from the oils will over time replace the income from goat farming. Goat farming in the Baviaanskloof has led to massive degradation, due to unsustainable management practices. The farmers in the Baviaanskloof Devco want to support a transition towards more sustainable land use, to benefit the future generations, and create a landscape to be proud of. Through the activities of the Baviaanskloof Devco, land becomes available for active nature restoration, so millions of trees can be planted to revitalize nature in this World Heritage Site, and Biodiversity Hotspot. The company is the result of a strong collaboration between the Baviaanskloof community, Commonland, Living Lands, and Grounded.


In this library you will find a selection of publications and videos that give an introduction to landscape restoration. In addition, it also provides an overview of expert libraries that have compiled a large collection of articles, country reports, maps, books, guidelines and videos related to landscape restoration.

Commonland Publication

4 returns from landscape restoration

Commonland Publication

Willem Ferwerda heads Dutch sustainable 100 list

Article in Dutch newspaper October 2016

Willem Ferwerda heads Dutch sustainable 100 list

4 Returns Impact Report - Executive summary

4 Returns Impact Report - Executive summary

4 Returns Impact Report - Executive summary

Interview with nature restorer Willem Ferwerda

Sustainable 100 interview in Dutch newspaper October 2016

Interview with nature restorer Willem Ferwerda

4 returns, 3 zones, 20 years

A holistic framework for ecological restoration by people and business for next generations

4 returns, 3 zones, 20 years

Dead planet, living planet

Biodiversity and ecosystem restoration for sustainable development

Dead planet, living planet

Planetary boundaries

Exploring the safe operating space for humanity

Planetary boundaries

A safe and just space for humanity

Can we live within the doughnut?

A safe and just space for humanity

Ecosystem restoration is now a global priority

Restoration ecology: time to roll up our sleeves

Ecosystem restoration is now a global priority

Zero net land degradation

A Sustainable Development Goal for Rio+20

Zero net land degradation

Benefits of investing in ecosystem restoration

Benefits of investing in ecosystem restoration

The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity

TEEB for business

The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity

Changes in global value of ecosystems

Changes in the global value of ecosystem services

Changes in global value of ecosystems

Restoring natural capital

Science, business, and practice

Restoring natural capital

The value of land

Prosperous lands and positive rewards through sustainable land management

The value of land

The little sustainable landscapes book

Achieving sustainable development through integrated landscape managment

The little sustainable landscapes book

Sustainable financing for forest and landscape restoration

Sustainable financing for forest and landscape restoration

The role of trust in restoration success

Public engagement and temporal and spatial scale in a complex social-ecological system

The role of trust in restoration success

Economics of land degradation and improvement

A global assessment for sustainable development

Economics of land degradation and improvement

Land degradation neutrality: a business perspective

Land degradation neutrality: a business perspective

ELD initiative: Report for the private sector

Sustainable land management: A business opportunity

ELD initiative: Report for the private sector

New Horizons for the Transitioning of our Food System

Connecting Ecosystems, Value Chains and Consumers

New Horizons for the Transitioning of our Food System

Royal Address Sustainability

By Willem Ferwerda, 5th of September 2017

Royal Address Sustainability

Annual Report 2018

Annual Report 2018

VPRO Backlight Green Gold 1

Environmental film maker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects.

VPRO Backlight Green Gold 1

VPRO Backlight Green Gold 2 - Teaser

Ecologist Willem Ferwerda explains how the planet, the environment, and the economy can be restored on the basis of 4 returns.

VPRO Backlight Green Gold 2 - Teaser

Hope in a changing climate - Trailer

Environmental film maker John D. Liu demonstrates that it is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems.

Hope in a changing climate - Trailer

Lessons of the Loess Plateau

Environmental film maker John D. Liu documented the world's largest watershed restoration in China.

Lessons of the Loess Plateau

The value of soil

The ELD initiative produced a short information film on the value of soil and the economic impact of land degradation.

The value of soil

Land for life award - Foundation for ecological security

When land is shared by everyone, who is responsible for its well-being?

Land for life award - Foundation for ecological security

John D. Liu about Allan Savory & Holistic Management

Commonland ambassador, John D. Liu, talks about his first encounter with Allan Savory and what he learned about Holistic Management

John D. Liu about Allan Savory & Holistic Management

Unbroken Ground by Patagonia

Unbroken Grounds explains the critical role food will play in the next frontier of our efforts to solve the environmental crisis.

Unbroken Ground by Patagonia

EcoAgriculture partners resources

EcoAgriculture partners resources

FAO publications

FAO publications

IUCN resources

IUCN resources

TEEB publications

TEEB publications

GPFLR resources

GPFLR resources

UNCCD publications

UNCCD publications

WRI publications

WRI publications

ISRIC library

ISRIC library

Digital library of the commons

Digital library of the commons

WOCAT the Global Database on Sustainable Land Management

WOCAT the Global Database on Sustainable Land Management


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The story behind the Sankofa
The Commonland logo is derived from the image of the Sankofa. This Ghanese symbol represents the importance of learning from the past.

The original symbol shows a bird with its head turned backwards taking an egg off its back. It symbolizes taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress through the use of knowledge.

At the same time the logo can be seens as a "C" representing the name "Commonland" or as a graphic illustration of the world.