Founded in 1995, we are an organisation based in the heart of the EU, dedicated to protecting forests and the rights of people who depend on them. We make decisions by consensus and build campaigns together with social and environmental organisations and movements across the world. We identify the threats facing the world’s forests, and work with affected peoples, social and environmental organisations and policy makers to devise and deliver solutions where the EU can make a difference.
Who we are
Fern seeks a world in which environmental, social and economic justice is fully integrated at all levels and people have a voice in decisions affecting their lives and livelihoods.
Fern’s mission is to achieve greater environmental and social justice, focusing on forests and forest peoples’ rights in the policies and practices of the European Union.
- Collaborative: Part of a global movement working for human rights and environmental justice, our relationship with our partners is mutually beneficial.
- Evidence-based: Our positions and campaigns are based on active research.
- Independent: Fern has a diverse funding base, meaning that our workplans are not tied to individual funders’ philosophies or public perceptions.
- Challenging: Fern persistently questions established thinking about what can and can’t be achieved and responds positively with pro-active ways forward.
- Inclusive: Both internally and externally we strive for transparent, consultative decision-making.
Fern got the EU to reduce illegal logging and improve forest governance through the adoption and implementation of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan - a pioneering programme to tackle illegal imports of timber, strengthen community rights and improve the way forests are managed.
Progress in reducing illegal logging through FLEGT
Exposed the fallacies of carbon trading, shifting EU policy, preventing forests from being included in the EU Emissions Trading System and stopping REDD schemes from being used to justify continuing emissions in the energy and transport sectors.
Reducing loopholes in emissions counting
Fern brought NGOs, academics and scientists into the notoriously complex debate about Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry to ensure a wide chorus of voices calling for EU forests’ carbon carrying capacity to be increased as well as, not instead of emissions reductions in energy and transport.
Bringing expertise to the LULUCF debate
Fern built a coalition of NGOs to challenge EU and Member State plans for biodiversity offsetting. We managed to halt plans for such policies in the UK and the EU and so protected old growth forests can no longer be cut with the promise of “improving something else, somewhere else.”
Building a coalition against biodiversity offsetting
Katja has a background in environmental policy, social theory and climate activism, and previously worked in strategic climate communications at the European Climate Foundation. She has experience of attending United Nations climate negotiations from a communications and climate justice angle. At Fern, she focusses on bioenergy and biomass, as well as EU climate and forest policy more broadly.
Kelsey has worked on land-use and transport issues in European and international climate negotiations, looking specifically at problems linked to international aviation. At Fern she focuses on EU forest and climate policies, the negative emissions debate, and all things linked to Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry.
Alexandra is Fern’s Forest Governance Campaigner with a focus on forestry and forest peoples in Liberia and Ghana. She started working in forestry in 2010, and since then has partnered with governments, civil society organisations, and private businesses to conduct forestry and conservation projects in Liberia, Ghana, India and the USA.
Daria has background in communications and European studies. She started out in the communications department of a psychology organisation. She came to Fern as part of our internship programme and is now covering for the campaign and communication office role - bringing different perspectives to Fern’s communications.
Pierre-Jean is a graduate in political science with experience communicating and campaigning for the climate and environment. He helps Fern's campaigners devise and deliver strong communications strategies and products. Prior to joining Fern, he has worked for other European NGOs as well as a parliamentary assistant in the European Parliament.
Raphael is a CIPFA (CCAB) qualified accountant with wide-ranging experience in not-for-profit financial accounting in the conservation sector. He is Fern’s financial manager and also takes a keen interest in the management of the campaigns.
Richard has been Fern’s communications manager since 2007. He helps design and deliver the strategies behind each campaign and is on the steering committee of the European Environmental Paper Network.
Linde Zuidema is a lawyer with experience advocating for the climate and environment and coordinating NGO positions. Her present focus is on EU bioenergy policies.
Hannah Mowat has over 10 years experience campaigning for stronger energy, climate and forest policies in European NGOs, and has published numerous reports and articles on finance and land rights, carbon trading, biodiversity offsetting, LULUCF and negative emissions. She previously worked at Friends of the Earth and the Munden Project, and lives in Paris.
Saskia Ozinga is Fern’s founder and former campaign coordinator. She has facilitated NGO coalitions to protect forests and strengthen community rights and written and published numerous books, articles and reports on forest governance, forest certification, trade and forests, effective advocacy and forests and climate. She is also currently a board member of TFT, Rights and Resources Initiative and Bank Information Centre Europe.
Nicole has 17 years experience in development and environmental cooperation, notably with the United Nations Development and Environmental Programmes, the European Commission and Parliament, research institutes and think tanks. Her present focus is on reducing EU consumption of products that harm forests globally.
Perrine has nine years of experience working on EU policy in France and Belgium. Her present focus is on forest governance in South East Asia and how trade affects forests.
Rudi has over 20 years’ experience, working with marginalised groups either directly or by supporting partner organisations in Africa and South-East Asia. Areas of work have included strategic planning, financial oversight, organisational development, field office representation, networking and programme management in a variety of fields: emergency relief, micro credit, agro-forestry, education, landmine clearance, and rural infrastructure. His communication skills include teaching experience and fluency in three languages.
Indra is a former member of the Bar of Brussels with 23 years’ NGO-experience in the field of migration, business, human rights and social and environmental justice with an emphasis on Africa. Her present focus is improving forest governance in Cameroon and she took many of the photographs used on Fern’s website.
Marie-Ange Kalenga joined Fern in 2014. She is a development specialist and sociologist with 20 years’ experience in the NGO and development sectors. She has lived in Northern Europe, Central, West, and North Africa, working extensively on natural resource governance including for Transparency International and the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative.
Julia Christian is a lawyer trained in the UK and US who has been working with Fern since 2014. She specialises in climate and development issues, and has worked on forest policy in West and Central Africa, Central America and Europe. Her current focus is on EU forest and climate policy, community forests, and cocoa production in West Africa.