Marc van den Tweel has been appointed as the new chairman of Rewilding Europe’s Supervisory Board. His extensive experience at the intersection of market and society, coupled with a lifelong passion for nature, will prove invaluable as we continue our efforts to make Europe a wilder place.
Welcoming a builder on board
Rewilding Europe is excited to announce that Marc van den Tweel has been appointed as the new chairman of its Supervisory Board. He replaces Sabine Hoefnagel, who has led the board since April as interim chair, and who will now continue her highly valued role as a Supervisory Board member. Marc will begin his chairmanship in December.
Currently CEO and Secretary-General of the Netherlands Olympic Committee (NOC*NSF), Marc has more than 25 years of experience as a CEO, marketing executive and board member at leading international organizations. He also has a strong background in conservation and engaging people and business for good causes. For nine years he was the CEO of Natuurmonumenten (the National Trust of the Netherlands), while he also worked for 10 years at WWF Netherlands as the NGO’s chief marketing officer. At the end of 2021, he topped the DDB 100, which ranks the most influential Dutch people in philanthropy.
Marc’s wealth of experience in governance, entrepreneurship, fundraising, communications, and change management will prove invaluable as Rewilding Europe continues its mission to make Europe a wilder place.
“I’m really happy and energised to be joining the Rewilding Europe team,” says Marc. “For the last 25 years I’ve worked at the intersection of market and society, and have always been a passionate advocate for nature. At heart, I’m a builder – I don’t sit back and enjoy the status quo. By offering guidance and advice, I want to help Rewilding Europe continue building, evolving, and working towards its objectives for 2030 and beyond.”
A keen rewilder
Marc has a longstanding relationship with Frans Schepers, having worked with Rewilding Europe’s Executive Director during their time with WWF around 15 years ago. Although his day-to-day work in the conservation space ended some time ago, he is currently also the chair of FREE Nature, a Dutch NGO which works to help conservation initiatives in the Netherlands enhance natural grazing by supplying herds of large herbivores.
“In terms of conservation, Frans and I share the same values,” says Marc. “I’m a keen supporter of rewilding and have followed Rewilding Europe for a long time. As someone who likes working for mission-driven organisations, I’m really attracted to the initiative’s pioneering approach, entrepreneurial spirit, ambition, and desire to scale up and do more.
“I believe rewilding is complementary to more traditional forms of conservation. It’s a great approach to get people motivated to protect and enhance nature, because it’s practical, it’s future-oriented, it’s inclusive, and it has such a positive narrative. My family and I were in the Affric Highlands rewilding landscape in Scotland over the summer – they were all excited to be there and inspired to see the benefits that rewilding is delivering.”
Generating socio-economic value
When it comes to benefits, Marc is also attracted to rewilding as a way of enabling people to derive greater value from wilder nature.
“It may require a change of thinking, but economy and ecology are not enemies,” he says. “Nature can be an economic force for good and it can give people an opportunity to earn a decent living, particularly in rural areas. Rewilding can’t solve every challenge, but by enhancing nature-based solutions, it can be instrumental in addressing issues such as climate change and rural depopulation.”
The personal connection
As a rewilding enthusiast, it comes as little surprise that Marc van den Tweel values a strong connection with nature in his daily life.
“I’ve always been a strong believer in the power of sports and the power of nature,” he says. “For me, being immersed in nature is a way to clean up the mess in my head. Being active in wild landscapes helps me to be physically and mentally fit.
“Recently I was lucky enough to visit the Marker Wadden rewilding initiative in the Netherlands, which I was heavily involved in developing. Being there on newly created islands, and seeing the stars, the lake, and the amazing birdlife, was really special. I’m always impressed by nature’s power to surprise and change one’s perspective on life. I’m looking forward to helping Rewilding Europe accelerate rewilding within the organisation’s own special landscapes, and across Europe. To helping continue the building process.”