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Accelerating the timber building transformation

Our built environment is responsible for 40% of global carbon emissions. Incremental steps are not enough: we need transformative solutions.  

Laudes Foundation is our founding partner. 

Our vision is for the built environment to work in unison with nature

Our network supports pioneering developers, architects and engineers, asset owners and managers, investors and insurers, city leaders, academics, researchers, non-profits and policymakers in their journey to decarbonise our built environment and protect nature.

Connect Enable Amplify 

To accelerate the timber building transformation, we connect industry and city frontrunners, creating the networks and opportunities for sector-shaping coalitions and knowledge sharing. We enable innovation and change by convening teams and funding solutions that highlight the innovation, city-scale projects and advocacy required, and amplify the success stories, case studies and knowledge generated by our networks. 

Strategic Partners 

Our Partners are those whose leadership and work drives our collective vision and mission. They are part of Built by Nature’s DNA – each leading on critical solutions to the challenges of the timber building transformation. 

Frontrunners 

Built by Nature’s Frontrunners are recognised as industry leaders in sustainability and timber construction helping to drive this transformation through research, innovation, advocacy, demonstration and city-scale projects. They exhibit an entrepreneurial mindset that embraces cross-industry collaboration to deploy collective solutions for our planetary and societal wellbeing.  

Developers
Investors
Designers
Asset Owners
Insurers
Cities
National Governments
Forestry Community

Developers

Developers

Investors

Investors

Designers

Designers

Asset Owners

Asset Owners

Insurers

Insurers

Cities

Cities

National Governments

Forestry Community

Our board members

Recognised as visionaries in the sustainability movement and proponents of transformation of the built environment, our board members are committed volunteers – contributing their time, profile and strategic acumen toward the effective governance and long-term strategic direction of Built by Nature. 

Donald Brenninkmeijer

Chair

Leslie Johnston

Vice Chair

Bob van der Zande

Secretary

Amol Mehra

Treasurer

Pablo van der Lugt

Board Member

The Built by Nature team

Paul King

CEO

Tamara Streefland

Head of Networks

Jeroen Beek

Head of Operations

Tia Alahuhta

Development Manager

Joe Giddings

UK Networks Lead

Peter Fraanje

NL Networks Lead

Julien Vincelot

Fund Manager

Nicoletta De Pace

Communication Specialist

Laura Moolenaar

Programme Associate

Marie Cambridge

Office Assistant

Mona Menadi

Knowledge and Innovation Lead

Donald Brenninkmeijer

Chair

In addition to his role as Chair of Built by Nature, Donald Brenninkmeijer chairs Laudes Foundation’s Investment Committee and serves as Chairman of Built by Nature. He is also a member of the Brenninkmeijer family office’s supervisory board.

Donald is a passionate advocate for more sustainable food systems. Donald is a special adviser to COFRA’s Sustainable Food Group, which comprises of Dalsem, a leading high-tech greenhouse developer, Ontario Plants Propagation, the leading propagator in North America and several minority investments including Intelligent Growth Solutions and Aerofarms, both vertical farming and agritech companies.

In addition to these roles, Donald is a special adviser to C&A Mexico which builds on his extensive retail experience across Europe, Asia and the Americas, including as C&A’s Chief Brand, Customer and Sustainability Officer and Chief Innovation Officer. 

He also advises Xeros Technologies, a cleantech and AIM listed company.

Donald received a Licentiate in International Management from University of St Gallen, Switzerland

Leslie Johnston

Vice Chair

As its first CEO, Leslie Johnston leads the development and execution of Laudes Foundation’s strategy and operating model to deliver on its vision in which global markets value all people and respect nature. Leslie currently serves on the boards of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (as Chair), Fashion for Good BV, the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), and Built by Nature Stichting (as Vice Chair) as well as University College London’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose Advisory Board. Leslie has over 25 years of management experience across business, entrepreneurship, development, and philanthropy. Previously, she headed C&A Foundation as its first Executive Director, repositioning it as a global catalyst to make fashion a force for good. She served as Executive Director of the Argidius Foundation, Deputy Director for TechnoServe in Africa and a management consultant for McKinsey & Company. 

Bob van der Zande

Secretary

A respected urban strategist and advisor to cities, regions, investors and developers, Bob’s areas of specialisation include building-in-wood and mass timber, social impact, inclusive area development, and public-private collaboration via the Triple Helix model. He is director of the Mass Timber Programme in residential development in the Metropolitan Region Amsterdam also organiser of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Waterfront Cities Council, past chair of ULI in the Netherlands, member and past chair of the European Urban Regeneration ULI Council, participant in five ULI Advisory Services Panels, and a global ULI Trustee. Having graduated as an urban designer from the Delft University of Technology, Bob has been working for decades in the public sector with the City of Amsterdam and the Metropolitan Region of Amsterdam.  

Amol Mehra

Treasurer

Amol is an international human rights lawyer who believes in the potential for a global economic system that works for all people and the planet. He's focused his career on building just that - from using his entrepreneurial skills to establish an international human rights organization working towards rules for a rights-based economy (as Executive Director of ICAR) to developing philanthropic strategies that impact corporate supply chains and strengthen worker power and protections (as Managing Director of the Freedom Fund).  A respected and credible advisor in business and human rights, Amol also serves as a Founding Member of Funders Organized for Rights in the Global Economy ("FORGE"); as a Council Member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Human Rights; as a Board Member of EarthRights International; on the Advisory Council for the Center for Business and Human Rights at NYU Stern and as a Commissioner on the United Nations Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking ("Liechtenstein Initiative").  

Pablo van der Lugt

Board Member

With his depth of expertise, passion and combined academic and industry profile, Pablo adds considerable momentum to the Built by Nature mission of accelerating the adoption of mass timber construction throughout Europe and in the U.K. Based in the Netherlands, Pablo has held numerous leadership roles in the green building industry, provided several keynote speeches, and written several books and articles appearing in popular magazines and scientific journals – all to promote his cause of advancing the adoption of innovative bio-based materials and circular building systems. Pablo’s vision is one of a fundamental transformation of construction towards circularity, especially through the ‘renewable route’, with huge potential and opportunities for bio-based materials including mass timber as sustainable alternatives to carbon intensive materials such as concrete, aluminum and steel. With support from Delft University of Technology and AMS Institute, Pablo has most recently written an influential peer-reviewed report dispelling the major myths around mass timber. 

Paul King

CEO

Paul King joined Built by Nature as CEO after serving as Managing Director, Sustainability and Social Impact, Lendlease Europe, since February 2015.

Previously he was the founding CEO of the UK Green Building Council, May 2007 – January 2015. Before that he worked for WWF-UK as Director of Campaigns, Campaign Director for WWF's One Million Sustainable Homes campaign and co-founder of One Planet Living.

Paul is a Director of BeOnsite, a not-for-profit organisation that supports people furthest from work into sustained employment, and a Design Council Expert Specialist in the areas of sustainability and net zero carbon. Between February 2017 and February 2023, he was a trustee and Vice Chair of the Board of Centre for London, the city’s only dedicated think tank.

Paul was Chairman of the public/private sector Zero Carbon Hub 2008 - 2016 and a member of the Zero Carbon Homes 2016 Task Force, established by the UK Government to translate the zero carbon homes policy ambition into reality. He was a member of the UK Government’s Green Construction Board and Chair of its Buildings Working Group. He was also a member of the Low Carbon Construction IGT, Sustainable Buildings Task Group, Code for Sustainable Homes Steering Group and the Egan Review of Skills for Sustainable Communities, all commissioned by the UK Government. On an international level, he was a member of the Board of the World Green Building Council and Chair of the WorldGBC Europe Network 2007 - 2014.

Tamara Streefland

Head of Networks

Tamara joined Built by Nature from systems thinking agency Metabolic, where she had taken on many different roles, including Urban Systems Lead, Consultant and most recently, Consulting Director. Tamara has a comprehensive international background of advising NGOs, industry, and government on building the livable cities of the future and tackling complex sustainability challenges. Tamara has worked on over 30 projects in various global cities and regions, engaging with municipalities, developers, and other urban stakeholders. Tamara holds a Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies at Parsons The New School for Design in New York. With Tamara’s background in earth sciences, she is well-positioned to integrate knowledge on ecological impacts with creative solutions that deploy innovative technologies and are sensitive to social issues. 

Jeroen Beek

Head of Operations

As Built by Nature’s Head of Operations, Jeroen Beek brings a broad range of operational and service leadership to this important role. With over 15 years of relevant experience in international start-up and scale-up organisations and a background in IT with a specialisation in visual communication technologies, Jeroen now plays an instrumental role as a member of the Built by Nature senior management team. Jeroen is responsible for strategic planning, risk and financial management, human resources, governance, organisational development and office/IT management, as well as contract oversight. He also supports the governance of the Built by Nature Fund, focusing on due diligence and financial management. 

Tia Alahuhta

Development Manager

Tia brings a decade of experience in managing strategic partnerships in the sustainability and non-profit sectors, predominantly working with trusts and foundations and bilateral and multilateral funders. Tia has worked as Fundraising and Philanthropic Partnerships Lead at Circle Economy, where she led fundraising efforts and managed a significant funding portfolio of family and corporate foundations. Prior to this, Tia worked for Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) where she coordinated the full funding and project management cycle for governmental and non-governmental donors supporting the uptake of global standards for sustainability reporting. Tia has also worked for small NGOs in the Netherlands, Spain, and Argentina contributing to tackling some of the most critical sustainability challenges of our time.  Tia holds an MSc degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Amsterdam and a BSc degree in Sociology from the Complutense University of Madrid. 

Joe Giddings

UK Networks Lead

Formally trained as an architect, Joe’s most recent experience as a leader in the sustainable construction movement includes his role as Projects & Campaigns Director, Timber Accelerator Hub, an initiative under the Association for Sustainable Building Products, and as a founding coordinator of the Architects Climate Action Network. As an architect, Joe worked at Rock Townsend, and is currently teaching an undergraduate design studio on the theme of bio-based materials at Oxford Brookes University School of Architecture. Joe received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from Oxford Brookes and a Masters degree from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts – Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation. 

Peter Fraanje

NL Networks Lead

As a recognised expert on circular and biobased construction, Peter has provided guidance and direction for several organisations including the Netherlands Institute for Applied Research TNO and building contractor BAM. He has also served as Director of the Netherlands Association for Construction Suppliers at NVTB, Amsterdam and as a Board Member at Construction Products Europe CPE, Brussels. Peter also was the innovation and sustainability expert for the national association of building contractors at Bouwend Nederland. Peter holds a PhD in biobased materials and has authored numerous books and reports on the benefits of timber and biobased materials including flax, hemp and straw. 

Julien Vincelot

Fund Manager

Julien is an urban planner and strategist with 6 years of experience in health, equity, climate change mitigation, policy, and spatial planning. As Fund Manager at Built by Nature, Julien oversees grant-making activities. Julien recognizes the strategic potential of transforming the built-environment into a carbon sink through timber construction and balanced forest management. Julien previously worked at BYCS and the Bernard van Leer Foundation, coordinating grants, advising implementation, and strengthening networks. Julien holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a dual Master of Science in Urban Policy.

Nicoletta De Pace

Communication Specialist

Nicoletta has joined Built by Nature to support our strategic objective of amplifying the progress and projects of our networks in accelerating the timber building transformation, and addressing the sustainability challenges of the built environment sector throughout Europe and the UK. Drawing upon her formal education in communication design and cultural economics, Nicoletta's journey has reflected a range of experience in communications at the intersection of sustainability, impact entrepreneurship and culture. Reporting to our Head of Communications, Nicoletta supports the team at Built by Nature across all social media and online functions, event planning and management, along with editorial support.

Nicoletta has a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Design from Politecnico di Milano, and a Masters in Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship from Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

Laura Moolenaar

Programme Associate

Laura has recently joined the Built by Nature team as a Programme Associate, where she plays a key role in supporting the Networks team's mission to accelerate the utilisation of timber and biobased materials in the built environment.

Graduating from the University of Amsterdam with a specialisation in sustainable housing policies across Europe, Laura's academic journey began with her Bachelor's degree in Global Studies from the University of Salamanca, where she initiated her research in this field.

Laura's personal mission revolves around creating a built environment that is not only environmentally responsible but also equitable for all. She is dedicated to achieving comprehensive sustainability goals that encompass environmental, social, and economic dimensions.

In her capacity as a Programme Associate at Built by Nature, Laura brings her insights from her academic background to contribute to the organisation's overarching mission. She is enthusiastic about collaborating with the team to drive progress and positive impact in the built environment.

Marie Cambridge

Office Assistant

Marie Cambridge is our Office Assistant, bringing years of experience in administrative support in various U.K. and Amsterdam-based organisations. Marie will be assisting the Built by Nature team in general operational management including but not limited to, scheduling, correspondence and event logistics, records maintenance, and assistance with grants and contracts – to ensure the Amsterdam office runs smoothly and efficiently.

Mona Menadi

Knowledge and Innovation Lead

Mona Menadi has joined Built by Nature as Knowledge and Innovation Lead – a vital role in identifying, curating and compiling best practices and key insights into biobased construction from our Frontrunners, broader network and global built environment sector.

Mona joins us from Urbain des bois in Paris, where she served a Lead, Development and Innovation. She is also the Founder and President of Alternative Builders, a transdisciplinary movement that challenges the status quo of construction and urban development for just, healthy and sustainable cities. Trained as a civil and urban engineer with a political science degree, Mona brings a unique combination of technical knowledge and a holistic understanding of policy and regulations.Her skill set and personal commitment to sustainable construction and thriving cities clearly represent a valuable addition to the Built by Nature team.

Careers

We are always looking for committed professionals to join our Built by Nature team. Feel free to send your CV and motivational letter describing your skills and reasons for wanting to work with us to recruitment@builtbn.org.

Communications Internship

Theory of Change

With our mission to accelerate the timber building transformation, Built by Nature’s Theory of Change is a visual description of how relevant strategies, actions, and conditions will facilitate this vital transformation and achieve desired outcomes.

Access the document