See how we're organised. Meet our Executive Director, Assurance Director and Board of Directors.
Assurance is funded through fee for service revenues, related to the execution of certification and verification assessments and audits.
Our Board guides and oversees our operations and is involved in strategic planning and decision-making. It includes experts on business administration, organisational development, financial and legal matters as well as conservation, certification and community engagement.
Nicolai Andreas Clausen, Chair
Attorney-at-law and partner, Lou Advokatfirma
Nicolai has extensive experience advising companies on corporate law. He is specialised in areas related to contract law, corporate structures, business transfer, intellectual property rights and real estate, among others.
Nicolai has chaired our Board since 2001.
Jacob A. Sterling, Board Member
Senior Director, Head of Ocean Decarbonisation and Innovation, Maersk Line
Jacob is currently heading the decarbonisation of Maersk's shipping activities through driving innovation in fuels and new technologies.
He was previously the Head of Sustainability at Maersk Line helping to drive the targets in reducing CO2 emissions and increasing the use of FSC-certified floorboards in Maersk containers, among other things.
Jacob has been a member of our Board since 2017 and vice-chairman since 2022.
Tasso Azevedo, Board Member
MapBiomas, Princeton University, SEEG/ Observatorio do Clima
Tasso, among others, coordinates the SEEG Network (System for Estimation of Green House Gases Emissions) and MapBiomass, a platform to produce annual land cover and land use maps of entire countries.
He was the founder and director of the Institute of Forest and Agriculture Management and Certification (Imaflora), Brazil's largest FSC and SAN certifier. In addition, Tasso was the Director of the National Forest Programme at the Ministry of Environment.
He has been a member of our Board since 2018.
Ida Theilade, Board Member
Professor in Ethnobotany and Tropical Forest Governance, University of Copenhagen
Ida has worked with the management and conservation of tropical forests for the past 25 years, with her main interests within the areas of indigenous knowledge and natural resource management. She is also a consultant on conservation planning, REDD+ as well as rainforest rehabilitation and a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission on threatened trees.
Ida was also instrumental in developing an app that helps local forest patrols document and prevents illegal logging in Cambodia. The initiative revealed that local populations can play an important role in monitoring and protecting the environment. For this, Ida and her project partners received the 2015 UN Equator Prize.
Ida has been a member of our Board since 2018.
Catur Utami Dewi
Global Rice Programme Coordinator, Rikolto
Dewi is the Global Rice Programme Coordinator of Rikolto, an international network organisation working in 17 countries towards a sustainable income for farmers and nutritious, affordable food for everyone. Dewi oversees its rice programmes in 9 countries in Asia and Africa including the design and implementation of strategic plans.
Starting in 2014, Dewi coordinated the planning, learning and accountability of Rikolto in Indonesia. In 2016, she was appointed as Programme Director and in 2019 as Regional Director, where she managed the organisation and led the programmes on sustainable and quality assured rice, cocoa, coffee, cinnamon and seaweed. She is a member of Rikolto’s International Management Team.
Dewi has been a member of the Board since 2021.
Saúl Blanco Sosa, Board Member
Sustainable Travel Services Manager, Preferred by Nature
Saúl is elected by our staff. Saul joined Preferred by Nature in 2018 (as part of the acquisition of the Rainforest Alliance certification unit). He is responsible for developing and managing Preferred by Nature´s strategy to engage and promote sustainability and the SDGs within the tourism sector. Saúl is also a Senior Auditor for our sustainable tourism certification services and, among other areas of involvement, he is part of the team who worked on developing Preferred by Nature's new brand identity.
He has worked for different organisations such as The Development Foundation of Guatemala – FUNDESA, The Guatemala Tourism Board, USAID Guatemala, Counterpart International and Rainforest Alliance, both as a consultant and also as team leader for various tourism projects, designing and facilitating sustainable tourism trainings and developing tools to measure the impacts of sustainable practices within the travel sector.
Saúl has been a member of the Board since 2020.
Aneeka Malik, Board Member
Senior Specialist, Supply Chains, Preferred by Nature
Aneeka is elected by our staff. She joined Preferred by Nature in 2018 and pre-merger worked at Rainforest Alliance for eight years. Aneeka is an experienced auditor of several chain of custody standards in forestry and agriculture in Preferred by Nature. She is a witness auditor and an expert course trainer for FSC and PEFC Chain of Custody courses.
Beginning her career as a journalist on forestry issues at a local NGO in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Aneeka became interested in the intersection between forests, industry and people. She went on to work on carbon credit projects in Denmark under a UNEP internship and Canada under ICLEI before finding a home in certification.
Aneeka has been a member of the Board since 2021.
Assistant Professor – Department of Accounting, Copenhagen Business School
Leif is a state authorised financial auditor and has from 1983 worked as an accountant and consultant, including 15 years as a PwC partner. He has been working at the Copenhagen Business School for over 20 years, focusing on accounting, risk management and audit.
In 2013, Leif began a research project on the optimization of internal controls. The project includes a multiple case study of the relationship between auditor's impact on business decisions related to scope and number of internal controls.
Leif is also serving as Censor in the area of Business Economics and teaching accounting at the University of Copenhagen.
Leif has been a member of the Board since 2022.
Peter steers Preferred by Nature towards our mission and goals. His experience and thought-leadership have positioned him as a respected voice within the forest certification arena. For this reason, you may spot Peter speaking at global sustainability events in addition to contributing behind-the-scenes as a member of a number of technical working groups, tackling critical issues from FSC Controlled Wood to refocusing accreditation systems.
Senior Director of Projects and Solutions
Jon leads the Projects and Solutions division, offering organisations various customised sustainability verification and sourcing support services. In addition, the division is responsible for the implementation of donor-funded projects.
Ngan Nguyen Thuy
Ngan is responsible for managing the financial operations and offering financial services to the organisation. Her role is also to ensure all required financial information is available to track and to handle the annual financial audit.
Market and Development Director
Sandra leads the Market and Development Division and is responsible for the promotion of Preferred by Nature's activities globally. She also supports the organisation's marketing efforts in the regions.
Director of Operations Support
As the Director of Operations Support, Janis oversees all support systems to ensure efficient and effective operations.
Director of Strategy and Innovation
Hando is responsible for leading the development of new services and coordination of strategy development. His division also works on monitoring impacts, training programme, delivery of public training courses and IT & technology-related aspects. Some ongoing services include sustainable travel and climate-related services. This division is also home to The Long Run programme, focusing on conservation in private protected areas.
Senior Director of Forestry
Justinas directs and oversees the Preferred by Nature's certification unit's delivery of all assurance services as the Forestry Senior Director. He supports business planning, market development and efficient service management across all our offices.
Senior Quality Manager
Tigran is responsible for Preferred by Nature's Quality Management System, ensuring that all our activities align with our own policies and any system accreditation requirements.
Director of Agriculture
Ariel oversees the overall implementation of Preferred by Nature agriculture certification services, including Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard, UEBT, SRP, C.A.F.E. Practices, BCI, RSPO and UTZ. His responsibilities include auditing, audit management and coordination in several countries, managing relationships with key clients, certification schemes owners and stakeholders, as well as developing new agriculture schemes for the organisation.
Our Impartiality Committee helps safeguard the impartiality and objectivity of all Preferred by Nature certification and verification activities.
Anders Hildeman – Forestry sector
Anders’ work experience spans forest management, regulatory and environmental affairs, communication and leading development projects. He is a Forester by training and his career is mainly linked to forestry, wood working industry, and pulp and paper industry. He is experienced in leading network/matrix organisations with a track record of achieving results. Through his earlier jobs he has accumulated considerable experience interacting with customers, trade associations, politicians, non-governmental organisations or financial institutions.
Nolan Quiros – Agriculture sector
Nolan Quiros is a lawyer who studied Agricultural Economics. He completed his PhD at Oklahoma State University, USA, focusing on Natural Resources Management, and also completed a Master’s degree in Comparative Law at American University, Washington D.C, USA. He is based in a small rural town called Atenas, which is located around 30 km from San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Nolan has worked as a researcher for the USDA and as a market analyst for a US fertiliser company. Furthermore, he has also served as a field scientist for Boston University, a university professor in the USA and Costa Rica, and as an international consultant on carbon and water foot print calculations. During the last five years, Nolan worked for a banana producing company, where he managed third-party certifications, social and labour issues, and retailer relations with 72 farms in seven different countries in Latin America.
Katrin Oswald – Climate sector
Based in Switzerland, Katrin Oswald is a passionate expert in climate and sustainability issues – with over a decade of experience in policy and strategy development as well as international implementations. Working across both the public and private sector, Katrin has been involved in several international conservation and development organisations, with a strong and active network in the climate sector.
Samantha Bray – Sustainable travel sector
Samantha Bray is based in South Carolina, United States. As a graduate of the George Washington University's Master of Tourism Administration programme, she recognises the incredible power travel plays in shaping people and places – for better or worse. Her passion for this vast and nuanced industry has driven Samantha to contribute towards helping destinations and businesses use tourism as a tool to sustain and enhance their culture, environment, economies and wellbeing of the community members.