Profundo Research Foundation


In 2019, the Profundo Research Foundation was established to complement the existing activities of Profundo B.V. The Foundation aims to commission policy, economic, financial and legal research with a high social relevance, in support of the transition to a sustainable economy and of increasing social justice at a global level. By publishing concrete research results, the Foundation aims to stimulate public debate at home and abroad about the responsibilities of companies, financial institutions and governments, and about the steps they can take to bring about the necessary changes in the economy and society. to take.

To achieve its goal, the Foundation raises funds, commissions research and publishes the results, and supports civil society organizations to use these research results to influence powerful actors.

The Foundation itself has no employees. The management of the Foundation is carried out unpaid by Profundo. Research activities are outsourced by the Foundation to Profundo.


Profundo has been working as an independent not-for-profit research organization since 2000. Many donors (governments and philanthropic foundations) are interested in the practical, impact-oriented research that Profundo conducts, but they can often only fund organizations that are set up as a non-profit. Although Profundo operates as a non-profit in many ways, in a legal sense the organization is a private company.

The Profundo Research Foundation was established to enhance Profundo's opportunities to attract donor funds for research and related activities that promote global sustainability and social justice. Part of the funds raised by the Foundation is used for capacity development of civil society partners who work with Profundo to influence financial, business and political actors. The remaining part of the funds is used for research activities by Profundo.

Research at a reduced rate

The Foundation also offers research at a reduced rate to civil society organizations from low- and middle-income countries. Local organizations in these countries often defend the interests of local communities, employees and the environment, where they are harmed by the activities of (international) companies. In order to increase the pressure on these companies to behave in a responsible manner, it is useful for such organizations to know who the (international) shareholders, financiers and customers of the companies in question are. However, these organizations often only have a limited budget available. The Foundation therefore offers local organizations from low- and middle-income countries corporate research at a reduced rate. This research is carried out by Profundo.

Advisory board

As director of the Profundo Research Foundation, Jan Willem van Gelder is assisted by an advisory board with three external experts who support the Foundation's mission and who have an affinity with (research into) the Foundation's areas of interest. The current members of the advisory board are:

  • Annette Freyberg-Inan: Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Amsterdam, with special expertise in theoretical and methodological fields. Her research includes international relations and international political economy, European integration and EU enlargement, transitions in Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey, and political protest movements.
  • Alexandra Dawe: head of communications at Rainforest Alliance. As an independent communication specialist she previously advised and trained NGOs and companies on communication strategies related to sustainability. Before that, she worked as a financial journalist and as a communications specialist at Greenpeace International and FMO.
  • Giuseppe van der Helm: former director of the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO). He is now director of the Learning for Tomorrow cooperative, which aims to work on sustainable development in education together with educational institutions in the Netherlands.


In recent years, the Foundation has raised funds from several donors for two long-running programs:

  • Forests & Finance: this program focuses on influencing the financiers (banks and investors) of economic sectors in which the risks of companies contributing to tropical deforestation are high: beef, palm oil, pulp & paper, soy, wood and rubber. In this program, Profundo collaborates with various international and local social organizations: Rainforest Action Network, Sahabat Alam Malaysia, Repórter Brasil, TuK Indonesia, AmazonWatch, Friends of the Earth US and BankTrack.
  • Our work on influencing the funds of the European Union on asylum, migration and border security. We work together with, among others, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE).

The Foundation also commissioned corporate research at a reduced rate from Profundo for social organizations from low- and middle-income countries, including Censat, Fair Finance Asia, 350 Africa, Responsibank and TuK Indonesia

More information


Telephone: +31-20-8208320

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