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Staff

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Rik Kutsch Lojenga

Executive Director

Rik has been the Executive Director of UEBT since its creation in 2008. He is an expert on sustainable BioTrade in support of the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.  He spent more than a decade with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), where he was involved in the creation of the BioTrade Initiative and helped to conceptualise the idea of UEBT.  He has also served as the Board Chair of ISEAL, the umbrella group for sustainability standards.  Rik grew up in the Netherlands, where he earned a Master’s degree in business and environmental economics.

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Maria Julia Oliva

Deputy Director & Senior Coordinator for ABS and Policy

With UEBT since 2009, Julia is a trained lawyer and a global expert on access and benefit sharing (ABS) of genetic resources.  She provides training and technical support on legal and policy issues linked to innovation and sourcing of biodiversity. She collaborates with international organisations, governments, and companies. Julia is a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, the IUCN Synthetic Biology Technical Subgroup, and the Board of Directors of IP-Watch.  She has law and LL.M degrees.

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Bertjan Bouman

Operations and Finance Director

With UEBT since 2012, Bertjan is responsible for finance, administration and back office support. Prior to joining UEBT, he worked in various development agencies, including in Nepal where he advised and managed community health and development projects. After his return to the Netherlands, he began studying finance, focusing on improved synergies between financial reporting and project management. He earned a Master's degree in Development Studies at Wageningen University and is an ACCA qualified accountant.

 
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Rodrigo de Próspero

Standards and Assurance Coordinator

Now based in our Amsterdam office, Rodrigo is in charge of assurance as well as the implementation of UEBT membership and certification programs. Rodrigo is also supporting members in the implementation of ethical sourcing systems according to their structure and reality. Previously Rodrigo worked for UEBT in Brazil on technical and membership issues for UEBT’s Latin American members. Rodrigo has worked as sustainability coordinator at Natura Cosmetics in Brazil, at the Secretariat for the Environment of Sao Paulo, and as an organic auditor.

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Jerida Sinange

Standards and Certification Expert

Jerida is in charge of UEBT standard revision process, the implementation of the UEBT/UTZ herbal tea program, the oversight of certification bodies and auditors for UEBT certification and of supporting the UEBT membership and certification programs. She brings over eight years of experience working in the certification and sustainability standards sector. Previously, Jerida worked for Rainforest Alliance in Eastern and Southern Africa. She holds a Master's degree from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

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Karène Volpato

Standards and Certification Expert

Karène is in charge of conducting assessments of UEBT members’ ethical sourcing practices, designing improvement programs, training auditors and supporting the management of international projects on capacity development and assessment of natural ingredient supply chains. Previously, she worked in a Fair Trade and Social Responsibility certification body in Chile and Argentina, and was an auditor for Ecocert and the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO). Karène holds a Master degree in International Trade and Strategic Information, with a special mention in Fair Trade.

 
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Simona D'Amico

M&E and Biodiversity Expert

Simona manages UEBT’s monitoring and evaluation (M&E) program and supports UEBT members’ efforts on biodiversity conservation and restoration. Simona holds a PhD in Rural Sociology from Wageningen University. She has worked on European research projects on policies for organic farming and sustainable food systems, as well as the valorisation of agrobiodiversity through sustainable agrifood chains. 

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Rina Razanakolona

Madagascar Representative

Rina previously worked as a consultant for GIZ, UEBT, and Label CBD on value chain development, access and benefit sharing, bio-cultural community protocols, and certification. She holds an Engineer's Degree in Agronomy from the Higher School of Agronomic Sciences, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar and a Master's degree in Food Sciences and Technologies from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of Gembloux and Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

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Ronaldo Santos de Freitas

Latin America Representative

Based in Brazil, Ronaldo previously worked for 11 years for Natura Cosmetics on the development of supply chain biodiversity, access and benefit sharing, traceability, and territorial development in the Brazilian Amazon. He was also responsible for developing the strategy of education on sustainability in Natura Mexico. Ronaldo has a degree in Agronomic Engineering and a post-graduate degree in cooperativism and environmental analysis.

 
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Hoang Thu Huong

Southeast Asia Representative

Based in Hanoi (Vietnam), Huong supports UEBT in promoting Ethical BioTrade practices and application of UEBT standards and tools/approaches in Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Huong has been working as a consultant for BioTrade project in Vietnam on value chain development, application and certification of Organic and GACP _WHO standards. She has practical experience in working with farmers and SMEs on developing sustainable resources and materials compliance with BioTrade principles. Huong graduated from Vietnam Forestry University and holds a Master degree in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.  

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Nguyen Lam Giang

Southeast Asia Representative

Based in Hanoi (Vietnam), Giang has more than 20 years of extensive experience in the development sector, including 10 years’ experience in value chain and market system development. Giang was one of the designers of BioTrade project in Vietnam in 2011. She directed the project’s implementation from 2011 to 2015 and was part of the team to develop the regional BioTrade project in Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Giang holds a Master degree in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

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Sureel Singh

India Representative

Based in Ghaziabad (India) Sureel is country representative for India and Asia Pacific region. He is in charge of guiding companies in the implementation of UEBT standard, conducting supply chain and risk assessments, supervising audits procedures and other certification advisory related functions. He brings over a decade of professional experience working in various positions with Fair trade International and regional stakeholders. Sureel holds a Master's degree in Management and a Diploma in Labour Laws. He is also a SA - 8000  & ISO 9008 certified auditor.

 

Nelly Debril

Membership and Communications Officer

Nelly is in charge of membership and communications. She has worked as a media monitoring specialist for the French Ministry of Environment, and for two years at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Nelly holds a Master's degree in International Relations from the Institute of the Oriental Languages and Civilisations (INALCO) in Paris.

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Lara Koritzke

Communications and Marketing Advisor

Lara provides expertise on building awareness of UEBT through our external communications. Lara brings close to twenty years of experience working in the certification and sustainability standards sector. Previously, she worked for Rainforest Alliance and ISEAL. She graduated from Yale University and holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Cross Sector Partnership from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

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Jennifer Suti

Product Manager Information Systems

Jennifer develops and manages the UEBT data strategy and its information systems. She comes with experience in Environmental Services and Telecommunications industries working with logistics for internal audits, event planning and business intelligence particularly in the field of product development.

 
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Gabriela Salinas Lanao

Knowledge Sharing Advisor

Based in Perú, Gabriela supports UEBT in building and implementing its knowledge sharing strategy. She is a facilitator and trainer of trainers specialised in participatory methodology and active learning. Gabriela has, since 2011, supported UEBT in designing and carrying out training processes, as well as in developing resources and material. She holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies, from the International Institute of Development Studies (ISS) in The Hague.

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Valérie Normand

Senior Expert on Access and Benefit Sharing

With UEBT since 2019, Valerie is an expert on access and benefit sharing (ABS).  She provides technical expertise on issues related to innovation and sourcing of biodiversity.  For the past 19 years she worked at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat on ABS, including 6 years as the head of the Nagoya Protocol unit.  She also worked for GIZ supporting the ABS Capacity Development Initiative in its activities in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.  Valerie is a trained lawyer with a specialisation in public international law.

Charlotte Mallet

Project assistant

Charlotte joined UEBT in 2019 to work on communications and member support. In addition, she is responsible for the logistics of the 2020 Beauty of Sourcing with Respect conference in Paris. Recently graduated from a master’s degree in Earth Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, she previously studied a bachelor in Bioengineering Sciences at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech in Belgium.