About: Invest in the Future
Forests of the World has been what Jed Emerson, a fellow at the
Hewlett Foundation, described as a "hybrid organization." Our business
is built on a blend of non-profit and for-profit values.
Forests of the World was designed to be a business, with economic
sustainability as its driving force and "bottom line."
The original intent was to have producers and employees own a
portion of the company, to create incentives, provide rewards, and
cement long-term relationships. In addition, the goal was to find
investors, business people with acumen and financial support to
capitalize and grow the company, using the LLC form to help spread
both profits and losses in a tax efficient manner.
Attracting investment and capitalization has been
particularly challenging for us. This is because Forests of the
World has also functioned essentially as a non-profit, breaking even
financially nearly every year since its inception.
... with a social mission.
Over the years, we have
borne the startup costs for numerous producer groups, endured
the problems of working with developing countries in logistically
difficult areas, and donated profits to many non-profit
organizations. We also paid for the costs of forming a non-profit: The
Forest Foundation, Inc.
Our very mission has created hurdles for Forests of the World: working in areas
of high biodiversity, promoting only environmentally sustainable or
low impact products, and using a fair trade model to work with some of
the poorest artisans and producers on the planet. We have also assisted
producers with an array of business development services.
The values at the heart of what we do
are not currently internalized in our marketplace's
prices for the goods that we sell. From a banker's perspective, we are
a high risk organization, in a highly competive market, and we deal with
risks that range from typhoons, to unscrupulous business people, to
With all that, we are proud to say we have paid our bills every year.
Mission Partly Accomplished
The value of what we do is enormous.
The economic "multiplier" effects of our trade on the artisans lives
and communities has been far and wide. We have educated thousands
about the principles we follow -- teachers, students, and consumers --
and have established a market presence such that producers and consumers
come to us to help sell and find new and unique products.
Our Next Phase
Recently we created a non-profit organization -- The Forest
Foundation -- to take on some of these responsibilities and to do some
of the things we have always wanted to do, but never had the resources
to. This will free Forests of the World to become more economically
viable, and ideally attract the investment and capitalization it so
deserves. Individuals can now either donate to the non-profit, or
invest in Forests of the World. Both are organizations with wonderful
goals and results to prove it.
Forests of the World is a North Carolina Limited Liability Company
(LLC). We need capitalization to grow our business. Because of our
high-risk work in developing countries, increasing competition from
sweatshop countries, and our high level of social and environmental
stewardship, we have been at a competitive disadvantage. We need your
help to level the playing field.
The company has both members and managers. We are looking for
members to invest as well as managers to invest and take on
responsibility for various components of the company.
If you want to get involved in a opportunity of several lifetimes,
please contact us for a membership package.
We are looking for individuals with business expertise to join us who
would like to grow what we have created into a company that is
financially sustainable, a powerhouse that can make a greater impact
in the world marketplace. We have the tools, infrastructure and
You will not find a company that has done more with less, as
dedicated a work force, or a more visionary strategy.