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 specialized within areas related to contract law, corporate structures, business transfer, intellectual property rights and real estate among others.
Nicolai is a certified board attorney and works with management in a number of companies, partly as a board member and partly as a permanent adviser to the management.
Nicolai has chaired our Board since 2001.
Peter M. Buron, Deputy Chair
Accounting Manager, Løje Arnesen & Meedom
Peter has extensive experience working with financial monitoring of projects. He has provided training and coaching to many local project members within the field of project management. In addition, he has managed project accounts for a number of international projects.
Peter has been a member of our Board since 2004.
Jacob A. Sterling, Board Member
Director, Head of Product and Charge Management, Maersk Line
Jacob is the Head of Product and Charge Management at Maersk Line. He is responsible for the development, governance and continuous optimisation of Maersk Line’s product offerings and surcharges.
Prior to his current role, he was the Head of Sustainability at Maersk Line helping to drive the targets in reducing CO2 emissions and increasing use of FSC certified floorboards in Maersk containers, among other things.
Before joining Maersk in 2009, he worked as Conservation Director at WWF Denmark leading their national and international work on climate change and sustainable development.
Jacob holds a MSc degree in Biology from the University of Copenhagen.
Jacob has been a member of our Board since 2017.
Tasso Azevedo, Board Member
MapBiomas, Princeton University, SEEG/ Observatorio do Clima
Tasso Azevedo is a consultant and social entrepreneur in the field of forests, sustainability and climate change. He coordinates the SEEG Network (System for Estimation of Green House Gases Emissions) as well as MapBiomas, a platform to produce annual land cover and land use maps of entire countries through a multi-institutional collaboration.
He is a forestry engineer graduate at ESALQ/USP and was the founder and director of the Institute of Forest and Agriculture Management and Certification (Imaflora), the largest FSC and SAN certifier in Brazil.
Tasso was Director of the National Forest Programme at the Ministry of Environment and General-Secretary of the National Forest Commission. He was the first Chief and Director-General of the Brazilian Forest Service.
He was one of the key people involved in the design and implementation of the National Plan to Combat Deforestation and the Amazon Fund (world's largest first protection funds). In addition, Tasso teaches at postgraduate programmes on sustainability issues and is a columnist at O Globo newspaper and Epoca Negocious magazine.
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 is a Professor of Ethnobotany and Tropical Forest Governance at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She has worked with management and conservation of tropical forests for the past 25 years with 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.
Most recently, Ida was instrumental in developing an app that helps local forest patrols document and prevent illegal logging in Cambodia. The initiative has shown 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 2019.
Saúl Blanco Sosa, Board Member
Sustainable Tourism 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 new brand identity.
Born in Guatemala, majored in social and legal sciences and specialised in sustainable tourism management, Saúl has been working in the tourism industry for 25+ years; initially as a tour guide; and later in the field of development for sustainable tourism initiatives, including certification and community based tourism projects.
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. She was previously based in Canada as a member of the US/Canada team and became part of the EU team – working from Kempten, Germany – in May 2020.
Aneeka is an experienced auditor to several chain of custody standards in forestry and agriculture. She serves as a witness auditor and is an expert course trainer for Forest Stewardship CouncilTM (FSCTM) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (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 holds a master's degree in Forest Conservation and an honours bachelor's degree in Environmental Science – both from the University of Toronto, Canada.
Aneeka has been a member of the Board since 2021.
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 coordinating 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. Before that, she worked with various international organisations in Indonesia and Nigeria.
Two international Master degrees from Germany and South Africa complement her practical expertise in the global development sector, particularly in sustainable agriculture, inclusive markets and sustainable food systems.
Dewi has been a member of the Board since 2021.
Peter steers Preferred by Nature towards our mission and goals. His experience and thought-leadership has 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.
Justinas assumes a key organisational role in ensuring that our assurance services are well-managed and comply with external and internal technical quality requirements, across the entire organisation.
Senior Director of Projects and Solutions
Jon leads the Projects and Solutions division, which supports businesses’ efforts towards sustainable sourcing practices on a global level.
Director of Operations Support
Janis is responsible for ensuring the stability and efficiency of Preferred by Nature activities in terms of HR, IT, finance as well as quality and legal compliance of Preferred by Nature processes and services.
Director of Agriculture
Ariel oversees the overall implementation of Preferred by Nature agriculture certification services, including Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard, UEBT and UTZ. His responsibilities include, among others, 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.
He oversees the development and maintenance of Preferred by Nature's service programmes, ensuring that our service portfolio meets tomorrow’s needs for sustainability services.
Ngan Nguyen Thuy
Ngan oversees all financial activities in Preferred by Nature. Her role involves reporting on revenue, budgeting, implementing policies and improving both internal and external financial processes for the organisation.
Market and Development Director
Sandra is leading the Market and Development Division of Preferred by Nature and is responsible for developing a market strategy for our organisation in order to expand Preferred by Nature’s activities on all continents through the sales and marketing of our certification and support services, as well as through the identification of key alliances with strategic partners.
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.