RSM names Willem Ferwerda Executive Fellow Business & Ecosystems

As of 1 September 2012, Willem Ferwerda will be appointed Executive Fellow Business & Ecosystems at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

RSM names Willem Ferwerda Executive Fellow Business & Ecosystems

As of 1 September 2012, Willem Ferwerda will be appointed Executive Fellow Business & Ecosystems at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). Ferwerda will focus on the important role that ecosystems play in the economy and society, taking The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity as a starting point. This agreement is part of a broader plan to found an international Business Consortium for Ecosystem Restoration, where RSM will be one of the founding fathers.

Steef van de Velde, Dean of RSM: “We’re happy and proud to get Willem Ferwerda on our team. For RSM, it is important to open up new networks in the field of ecosystems, biodiversity and their relation to economics, planetary boundaries and ethics. We want to play an active role in the initiative to create a Business Consortium for Ecosystem Restoration and intend to develop a new programme on the topic of Economics and Ecosystems for Business. We welcome Willem and wish him lots of success in this new role.”

Willem Ferwerda: “RSM is a key partner with specific knowledge and great interest in educating future business leaders for a sustainable economy. The combination between RSM and NGOs and scientific networks such as the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management, enables us to create trust with potential business partners and provides us access to a large international network of business schools so we can maximise attention for the key role ecosystems play in the economy and society.”

Willem Ferwerda - Executive Fellow Business & Ecosystems
Willem Ferwerda (1959) studied tropical ecology and environmental science in Amsterdam and Bogotá and has a background in nonprofit as well as profit organisations. He has worked in several (tropical) countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia on tourism, conservation and restoration of ecosystems. From 2000 to March 2012 he was director of IUCN Netherlands, the Dutch office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the largest international union of nature organizations, states and scientists. Under the Ecosystem Grants Programme, IUCN NL financed more than 1,500 local projects in 40 tropical countries.

Under Ferwerda IUCN NL put biodiversity on the agendas of business and government in The Netherlands, strengthened the Dutch nature conservation network and introduced the UN study ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity’’ (TEEB) to the business community in the Netherlands. In 2005 IUCN NL founded Leaders for Nature (, an international business network on biodiversity and ecosystems. A year later he convened 80 CEOs to signing an open letter to the Dutch government, which led to the creation of the governmental Taskforce on Biodiversity and Natural Resources. His efforts resulted in 2010 to an agreement on biodiversity between VNO-NCW (Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers) and 35 nature organizations. As change agent and connector, Ferwerda is looking for new (business) opportunities where ecosystems can be included in a positive way in people’s thinking and acting. ´We are living in an economic world where disconnection between man and nature has become the norm. The need to reconnect with nature will be our utmost challenge. Based on this systemic thinking a real sustainable economy can be achieved´.

As Special Advisor Business & Ecosystems at the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (, (Switzerland) Ferwerda is creating an innovative and practical mechanism that involves companies and investors to scale-up the restoration of ecosystems in partnership with science, local people, farmers and nature organisations. Among others RSM is assisting in setting up this international initiative to restore millions of hectares worldwide with business.

Ferwerda is ambassador of the Dutch Platform on Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Economy (VNO-NCW/IUCN NL) and board member of several institutions such as the World Land Trust (UK), the Charles Darwin Foundation (Galapagos, Ecuador) and the The Lippe-Biesterfeld NatureCollege Foundation (NL).

About TEEB The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity is a major international initiative to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, to highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and to draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions moving forward).

About RSM: Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University is consistently ranked amongst the top 10 business schools in Europe. It is located in the international port city of Rotterdam where core Dutch values of openness, flexibility and acceptance of diversity have attracted businesses on a global scale. Our emphasis is on ground breaking research and practices relevant to business; our primary focus is on developing business leaders who carry their innovative ideas into a sustainable future. Our portfolio includes a broad array of bachelor, master, doctoral, MBA and executive education programmes.

For more information on this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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