Fern was named after one of the few plants that grows in all forests across the world

Founded in 1995, we are based in the heart of the EU and the UK, dedicated to protecting forests and the rights of people who depend on them.

We make decisions by consensus and build campaigns with social and environmental organisations and movements across the world. We identify threats facing the world’s forests, and work with affected peoples, social and environmental organisations and policy makers to devise and deliver solutions where Europe can make a difference.

Working with the EU is in our organisation’s DNA as we were born at a Forest Movement Europe meeting to respond to concerns about the lack of NGOs working on forest policies in the often-labyrinthine world of EU policymaking. Fern was created with the idea of not just campaigning, but also guiding other NGOs to understand and get involved in campaigning at the EU level. We were keen not to speak on behalf of other organisations, but to open space for other organisations to raise their own voices.

Environmental and social justice is the heart of our work. We believe that protecting and strengthening Indigenous Peoples and local communities’ rights is not only the right thing to do, it is also the best way to protect and restore forests as when peoples’ right to land is taken away, the forest is often destroyed. 

How we work with the EU

Central to Fern's approach is its engagement with key EU institutions, particularly the European Commission, recognizing its pivotal role in proposing legislation. Leveraging over twenty-five years of experience, Fern strategically collaborates with different Directorates General of the Commission, focusing on areas critical for safeguarding European and global forests. Additionally, Fern actively works with Members of the European Parliament and engages with national representations to shape legislative proposals and advocate for forest protection. Through daily interactions, events, and direct engagement with EU decision-makers, Fern acts as a vital conduit, facilitating meaningful dialogue and cooperation between civil society and EU institutions.

The Fern team

What we work on

Fern works in five year cycles, based on long-term strategies developed in concert with the forest movement. For the period 2023 to 2027 we will be focussing on reducing bioenergy, meat consumption and pulp and paper use, strengthening European and international forest governance, and challenging carbon offsets and damaging unjust trade policies.

Our Mission

To increase understanding of, and access to, European policy making; and to campaign for policies and practices in Europe that focus on forests and forest peoples’ rights and deliver economic, environmental and social justice globally.

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