“On behalf of the Board, I want to express our deepest appreciation to Andre for the leadership he has brought to the organization,” said Michael Conroy, chair of the FSC International Board of Directors.

“Our strong current position is due in large part to Andre’s able management and clear vision,” Conroy added.

During de Freitas’ tenure, the Forest Stewardship Council experienced dramatic growth, with certified forestlands increasing from 113 million to more than 148 million hectares and the number of certified companies increasing from 10,000 to more than 23,000.

The Forest Stewardship Council now operates in more than 100 countries worldwide.

“This is the right moment to transition the leadership of FSC,” de Freitas said. “After almost 4 years at the helm, I have complete confidence in the strength of our global network of local leaders, as well as FSC’s core team and current financial position. Now is the time to engage a new leader to guide FSC in its next exciting stage of development,” he added. “In the meanwhile, we have much to accomplish yet this year and will not miss a beat during this transition phase”

In addition to managing the growth of this global network, de Freitas oversaw a multi-year effort to revise the FSC Principles & Criteria for the first time, grew the annual budget to more than 15 million Euros and led two successful General Assemblies of the FSC membership.

An executive search committee of the Board has already begun the work to recruit a new leader with business management experience in the sustainability field.