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Our vision 
We imagine a world where communities and nations sustainably manage their forests and natural resources for the benefit of our climate, the environment and humanity.

Our mission
Building upon corporate and scientific partnerships, WeForest empowers communities to sustainably advance and implement innovative, high-standard, scalable and lasting solutions to restore forest landscapes.

Our values
The values that inspire our work are: Integrity, Transparency, Excellence, Collaboration, Passion, and Courage.

Our goal
Our goal is to successfully transform 250,000 ha of forest landscape by 2021, restoring 25,000 ha of forests with an estimated 25 million trees, demonstrating FLR best practices in different ecosystems and leading to the adoption of an international standard.

Who We Are

The idea of WeForest came to Bill Liao in 2008 out of a thorough search for scientific evidence: Bill wanted to find a simple solution to the urgent issue of global warming. Marie-Noëlle Keijzer met Bill in 2009 and they decided to transform this idea into an NGO. Over time, WeForest has developed a unique capacity to mobilize companies – from startups to multinationals – to engage their employees and millions of consumers in restoring the world’s forests.

Our team is spread over 3 continents and 12 countries, sharing the same commitment for a better world.

 

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    Marie-Noëlle Keijzer
    Co-founder, vice-president of the board, Board Member WeForest France, and CEO
    Marie Noëlle provides strategic guidance to the organization. As a multilingual social entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in senior corporate leadership in Supply Chain, CSR and business transformation, she offers expertise in business development, strategy, marketing, communication, advocacy and public speaking. She holds a master's degree in Environmental Science from the ULB, Belgium, a master's degree in Business Administration from IADE, Spain and is a member of Al Gore's Climate reality Corps.
  • Jess Chalmers
    Jessica Chalmers
    Director Partnerships & Communications

    Jessica has extensive experience in developing and managing corporate & donor engagement strategy, both from her previous role as Programme & Partnerships Manager of The Sustainable Agriculture Network (2016-19) and as a Senior Associate at Winrock International (2008-16).  Prior to that, Jessica  worked  with the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership. Jessica holds an MSc in Environmental Technology.

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    Anne-Laure Cordier
    HR Director

    Anne-Laure graduated from an International Business School in France and started her career in Finance. She quickly realised that her interests laid elsewhere and developed and perfected her training in communication, process management, human resources and organisational development, until she managed projects of cultural changes in large organisations. She has passion for people, diversity and Inclusion as well as collaborative approaches and is committed to making a difference for the planet and its communities.

  • Xavier Hatchond
    Xavier Hatchondo
    Director Climate Science and Policy

    Xavier holds an MSc in Astrophysics. He is certified in GHG (Greenhouse Gas Protocol) for carbon footprint, as well as project validation and verification. He has been working since 2010 for Ecocert, first as Head of Carbon Services, then as Head of Business Unit on Climate and Forestry.

  • Olivier Standaert
    Olivier Standaert
    Director Global Programs

    Olivier coordinates our global programs. He holds an advanced master in rural and tropical forestry from the French Institute of Forestry, Agricultural and Environmental Engineering. He worked 15 years in the management of projects' portfolios in Asia and Africa in the fields of environment, disaster risk reduction and  community resilience.

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    Michaël Tytgat
    Director Finance & Administration

    Michael is a seasoned finance professional overseeing the financial organization of WeForest. He holds a master degree in Economic Science from the Catholic University of Leuven and started his career as Auditor. During 15 years he developed international experience as Finance Director in different industries.

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    Aklilu Negussie Mekuria
    Country Director Ethiopia

    Aklilu oversees the various landscape restoration and planting projects in Ethiopia. He holds a PhD in Bioscience Engineering from the University of Leuven (Belgium) and a master's degree in Tropical Land Resources Management from Mekelle University (Ethiopia). Prior to joining WeForest, Aklilu conducted research in Africa and Europe for 12 years in forest ecology, management science, ecosystem safety, invasive plant, agronomy, plant propagation, bioenergy-biofuel, forest entomology, and non-timber forest products and worked for two years as a Consultant at World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

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    Matthias De Beenhouwer
    Southern Africa Director

    Matthias leads the landscape restoration and planting projects in Zambia. He coaches the local teams and makes sure that the forest restoration projects are performed according to the foreseen activity plan. Matthias holds a PhD in Forest Ecology from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. He has 5 years of experience working on agroforestry, forest ecology and conservation and has worked in several countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.

  • Anna Roesinger
    Anna Roesinger
    Manager Carbon & Technologies

    As Carbon & Technology Manager, Anna is responsible for coordinating the carbon certification processes of WeForest projects and applying the latest technologies for Mapping & MRV. Based in Berlin, Anna holds a MA in Political Science and Public Law and has a background in environmental policy, in the carbon markets and worked in project development for forestry and carbon projects in Southeast Asia. She holds a master's degree in Political Science and Public Law from Heidelberg University and is trained in forest management.

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    Vienna Leigh
    Communications Manager

    Vienna has a B.A. in Language and Linguistics and an M.A. in Literature Studies. She began her career working in publishing and journalism in the UK, then moved into science communication at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. Between 2010 and 2018 she was the Head of Communications and Outreach at IBEC, a bioengineering research institute in Barcelona, Spain. Her passion for the environment and animals led to a position at Eurogroup for Animals and now to the one of Communications Manager at WeForest.

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    Pascaline Haedrich
    Digital Content Manager

    Pascaline manages WeForest's website and digital content. Prior to joining WeForest Pascaline worked for 10 years in multinational environments and 5 years with sustainability topics and developed her own social enterprise. She graduated in Business, Marketing & Applied Foreign languages in France and in Commercial Sciences in Belgium.

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    Rachel Cohen
    Research Officer
    Rachel co-ordinates WeForest’s applied science research and policy engagement activities. Rachel’s background is in forest ecology, she holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, UK where she focused on advancing the methodologies for tropical forest biomass estimation.
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    Bill Liao
    Co-founder and Chairman of the board
    Bill is a social networking pioneer, author, speaker, engaged in not for profit work. Among his non-profit endeavours he is a CoderDojo mentor and he has participated as an investor and volunteer in The Hunger Project. He has also been appointed as a special diplomatic envoy for St Kitts and Nevis for sustainable development and the environment, role which was at the source of the WeForest movement.
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    Laurent Durieux

    Dr Laurent Durieux is board member and head of the WeForest scientific committee. He holds a PhD and is specialized in satellite remote sensing and GIS to study the impact of the deforestation on the convective clouds. His 20 years of international expertise in environmental satellite monitoring and his vision to associate it with artificial intelligence processing capabilities, are instrumental in increasing global environmental reporting and monitoring. Knowing the issues is already partly resolving them. Author of more than 100 international scientific publications, he is actively engaged through transdisciplinary research and thanks to an extensive international network in the reconciliation between peoples and the biosphere.

    Laurent is based at the House of Remote Sensing in Montpellier, France.

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    Marie-Noëlle Keijzer
    Co-founder, vice-president of the board, Board Member WeForest France, and CEO
    Marie Noëlle provides strategic guidance to the organization. As a multilingual social entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in senior corporate leadership in Supply Chain, CSR and business transformation, she offers expertise in business development, strategy, marketing, communication, advocacy and public speaking. She holds a master's degree in Environmental Science from the ULB, Belgium, a master's degree in Business Administration from IADE, Spain and is a member of Al Gore's Climate reality Corps.
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    Astrid Leyssens
    Board Member WeForest Belgium
    Astrid Leyssens is founder of "Do Good Marketing" which provides marketing and CSR consultancy for scaling NGO’s, start-ups and other companies that want to do the right thing. Astrid holds a master's degree in economics and marketing and is currently working on a CSR degree. She is a seasoned impact investor in Asia, Europa and Africa and studied impact investing at Oxford University. She is a true believer of business as a force for good. Astrid is active as Co-President in the Belgian Marketing Association for its Hub Marketing and Society to facilitate more marketeers towards doing good. Astrid is committed to making tree-planting the most logical thing to do for companies wanting to join the fight against global warming.
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    Jan Vets
    Board Member WeForest Belgium
    Jan has 30 years experience in strategy, business and IT. He holds a master's degree in telecommunications and business administration. He is an entrepreneur and is actively building a global consulting company. Jan is driven by sustainability and international collaboration, as drivers for a better world.
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    Tom de Fauw
    Treasurer, Corporate and Project Finance
    Tom is an entrepreneur by spirit and passioned about forestry and agroforestry. He holds a master's degree in Commercial and Financial Sciences, a Post University Degree of the Belgian Association of Financial Analysts, 10 years senior international corporate leadership experience in Finance and Business Development.
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    Pedro Brancalion
    WeForest scientific advisor

    Pedro Brancalion is a Professor of Forest Sciences at The University of São Paulo, Brazil and heads the Laboratório de Silvicultura Tropical (LASTROP).  His main research interest is tropical forest restoration in human-modified landscapes. Pedro collaborates with a wide network of national and international researchers.

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    Leendert Adriaan Bruijnzeel

    Leendert Adriaan Bruijnzeel (also known as Sampurno) is an Emeritus Professor of Land Use and Hydrology of the VU University Amsterdam where he last led the Amsterdam Critical Zone Hydrology Group before becoming a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London (UK) in September 2015. He has over 40 years of experience in hydrological research in the humid tropics of the Asian-Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

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    Robin Chazdon
    WeForest scientific advisor

    Robin Chazdon is the Director of an international and interdisciplinary research coordination network, PARTNERS (People and Reforestation in the Tropics).  She is the Executive Director of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, and a professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Connecticut, USA.  More recently, she joined the International Institute of Sustainability (IIS) in Rio De Janeiro as a Senior Research Associate to work on forest restoration in Brazil.

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    David Ellison
    WeForest scientific advisor

    David Ellison is a Researcher/Consultant who works as an External Expert for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU, Umea), the European Forest Institute (EFI—Bonn), and as an Independent Senior Researcher (Ellison Consulting). His work focuses broadly on the science, politics and policy of climate, and primarily on forests and their relevance for climate and policy.

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    Cindy Morris
    WeForest scientific advisor

    Cindy Morris is Research Director and Head of the MISTRAL research team at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Avignon, a unit that focuses on plant pathogens that are dispersed in the atmosphere and water. She set-up Biological Ice Nucleators, an online forum and database on the role of microbes in atmospheric processes.  Dr Morris has worked to build a network of physicists, microbiologists, meteorologists and agronomists for interdisciplinary collaboration.

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    Daniel Murdiyarso
    WeForest scientific advisor

    Daniel Murdiyarso is a Principal Scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and a Professor at the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) in Indonesia. He is a member of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences.  Dr Murdiyarso was the Lead Author of the IPCC Third Assessment Report and the IPCC Special Report on Land-use, Land-use Change and Forestry.

  • Bart Muys
    Bart Muys
    WeForest scientific advisor

    Bart Muys is a professor of forest ecology and management at KU Leuven. His research focuses on the ecosystem function of tree diversity, forest restoration ecology and the evaluation of sustainability in forests and bioenergy systems. He has led several forest restoration projects in Ethiopia and participated in numerous projects worldwide on the role of forests for water, carbon and biodiversity.

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    David Sands
    WeForest scientific advisor

    David Sands is Professor of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology at Montana State University, USA. He is a specialist in agricultural plant science, plant bacteriology, biological control of weeds and biotechnology. His work includes the ecology, detection, characterization and control of plant pathogens, Pseudomonas syringae and Xanthomonas campestris that have been linked to cloud formation and biological precipitation.

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    Iain Woodhouse
    WeForest scientific advisor

    Iain Woodhouse is Professor of Applied Earth Observation at The University of Edinburgh and founder of REDD Horizon, a capacity development programme in Malawi.  He is a co-founder of Ecometrica, a land use and carbon accounting company, and Carbomap, a forest survey company specialising in multi-scale approaches involving radar and LiDAR.

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    Chris Barton
    Ambassador

    Chris is responsible for business development with mobile operators/carriers at Dropbox. He also serves on the board of Shazam Entertainment. Prior to Dropbox, Chris spent nearly eight years at Google focused on mobile with his last two years on the Android business development team. Chris was the original CEO and Founder of Shazam Entertainment, the London-based music recognition company.

     

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    Alexandre Baudin
    Lawyer
    Advisor, WeForest France
    Alexandre is a lawyer at PACT Avocats Paris, France. He specialized in Business Affairs and decided to join WeForest France and use his competencies and network to fight climate change.
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    Giel Boes
    Ambassador

    Giel Boes is a serial and social IT entrepreneur who gets the most out of himself and his environment. Since a young age of 14 he has been extensively active in IT. Giel gained experience in people motivation and working efficiently with computers, has set up several companies, while inspiring hundreds of individuals and organizations to plant trees in his public motivational talks. Giel’s motto: "Inspire others to activate the best version of themselves for a better environment!"

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    Jérôme Boutang
    Advisor • WeForest France
    Jerome is the Executive Director of the Center on Atmospheric Pollution and Greenhouse Gases (CITEPA), in Paris, France. With a background in Agronomy and Economics, as well as 25 years of successful international consulting in the industry, he has long been confronted with risk perceptions & communication, as well as decision-making regarding food and environmental issues.
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    James Cooke
    Ambassador

    From crashing Compuserve while broadcasting a Smashing Pumpkins concert live from Dublin in 1996, through to co-producing U2's online presence for almost a decade. With a passion for doing the right thing, James is a well seasoned internet veteran having worked with numerous platinum selling artists and premium magazine publishers along the way.

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    Serge de Gheldere
    Ambassador

    Serge de Gheldere is lead at Futureproofed (the carrot) and Klimaatzaak (the stick), and ‘climate ambassador’ for Al Gore. Serge trained as an engineer in Leuven (B) and in Delft (NL) and worked for Baxter Healthcare for 7 years - including 15 months in Chicago. Serge has given hundreds of lectures all over the world including - Stanford, Yale, Tsinghua Beijing, India, Dubai, Togo , Budapest - on the choices we face regarding climate change and the opportunity of a sustainable economy."

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    Tom Eddington
    Ambassador

    Tom has spent the last three decades as a consultant, educator, entrepreneur, and strategic advisor. He is a student and teacher of Board, leadership and organization effectiveness.

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    Philip Greffin
    MA General Management
    Advisor • Director Business Development France

    Philip holds a Master's degree in General Management (ESSEC, France) and has 14 years of business experience as a Managing Director for an international company.

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    James Haft
    Advisor

    Entrepreneur and Merchant Banker with broad experience in all aspects of forming, managing, advising, fund raising, and biz dev for entrepreneur-powered businesses, including, business strategy and M&A. Significant and relevant experience with Internet apps and platforms, integrated media, on-line advertising, on-line metrics, mobile apps, telecom, energy, emerging markets, financial consulting, real estate and venture capital.

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    Jack Jacometti
    Ambassador

    Jack initiated the shaping of sustainable energy futures based on scenarios, in cooperation with governments, the business sector and international institutions some 20 years ago. His current focus is on preventing run-away climate change by stopping deforestation in combination with reforestation and soil regeneration. This will require transformative collaboration, exceptional leadership and close cooperation with the local population and support of their economic development on an unprecedented scale. 

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    Ivor Kadragic
    Ambassador

    Ivor holds a double Master degree in Environmental Resource Management (SDU Denmark) and Energy and Sustainable Business (Bocconi University). Subsequent to his studies, Ivor has been working in very different sectors, ranging from energy (GE Wind) to ad-tech (Axel Springer), always with a strong focus on partner and relationship management. At the moment, he is working for the Carbon Disclosure Project, where he advises large stock listed organizations on environmental performance and reporting.

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    Sébastien Le Bescond
    Advisor • WeForest France

    Masters degree in General Management (ESCP, France).
    25 years of business experience as a Marketing and Sales manager mainly in French and International food companies. In 2013 Sébastien took his family for a 1 year trip around the world to meet its inhabitants and discover our beautiful planet. 

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    Yves Lemarchand
    Ambassador

    Yves is managing director of Experience Scotland Ltd. and Honorary Belgian Consul in Scotland since 1996. He’s been supporting WeForest since its beginning with an original idea: celebrating the turn of the year with trees (2016= 2016 trees!) and talking about the need to act for climate within his large network.

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    Dmitri Leonov
    Advisor • WeForest Inc, USA

    Cofounder at SaneBox, a leading email productivity app. Prior to Sanebox, Dmitri founded Wanto (a social networking app for people with common goals) and spent several years at Overture (acquired by Yahoo). While at Yahoo, he was responsible for launching Yahoo's Global Search Reseller Channel, and led business development efforts in Emerging Markets.

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    Nina Neelson
    Ambassador

    Problem Solver in any transformational scenario, Nina is an Entrepreneur; Visionary; Idea Generator and Implementer.

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    Aymeric Olibet
    Ambassador

    Aymeric Olibet is responsible for business development within BNP Paribas’ Sustainable Business Desk in Brussels. With a special focus on decarbonisation strategies and the circular economy, Aymeric puts environmental challenges and sustainable solutions at the heart of his discussions with Corporate leaders.

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    Molly Reams Thompson
    Advisor

    Creator, mentor and community catalyst, Molly founded multiple companies, worked with early stage companies to help set strategic direction and has completely rebuilt two non-profit programs from the ground up. She thrives when connecting people, ideas and resources. Before jumping into the startup game, she spent 15+ years in strategic marketing and sales. Molly is actively engaged in making communities socially, environmentally and economically sustainable, focusing in the areas of entrepreneurship, the arts and local food.

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    Anju Rupal
    Ambassador

    Anju is a serial, now social entrepreneur who believes that the purpose of business extend well beyond profits alone. Anju was one of the early  members of the WeForest team, she used this learning curve to later launch Abhati Suisse. Anju’s background as a sociologist and ethnologist were truly brought into play when she visited India and witnessed the devastating lack of sanitation and education. She mobilised some of the most renowned industry experts from beauty and design to work for free and contribute their skill sets to develop an all-natural skincare range, raising funds to ultimately make an impact in the lives of hundreds of girls in India.

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    Cathy Symington
    PhD
    Ambassador

    Cathy is a passionate and compelling educator in environments, sustainability and biological sciences with 15+ years experience as a lecturer.  She is skilled in coaching and consulting in leadership, effectiveness and engagement with over 12 years in this discipline, as well as being accredited as a mediator for dispute resolution.

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    Tijn van Elderen
    Ambassador

    Tijn is CEO of interior design company Brabantia. He has been leading his family company since 2012 aiming to enrich the quality of life and living just that little bit every day.  It is his goal to make Brabantia 100% recyclable by the end of his tenure. Tijn started his career at Unilever and Diageo. In 2017 he was awarded as the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Netherlands.

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    Nick Wentz
    Ambassador

    Nick currently works at SaneBox where he leads the growth and marketing team. Prior to SaneBox he was involved with various startups and non-profit organizations where he focused on user acquisition, content strategies and partnerships.

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    Desmond Tutu

    We are grateful to Nobel Peace prize laureate Desmond Tutu for his support to WeForest and for writing the foreword to Bill Liao's book 'Forests'

    "The World’s Forests are a Shared Stolen Treasure that we must put back for Our Children’s Future". [Desmond Tutu]

     

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    Jeremy Irons

    Actor and activist, Jeremy Irons kindly lent his wonderful voice for one of WeForest's first videos.

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    Stephen Fry

    English comedian, writer, television personality and journalist, kindly offered his voice for one of our first WeForest videos

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