Forests of the World
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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.

A business...

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 political coups.

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.

About Investing

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 experience.

You will not find a company that has done more with less, as dedicated a work force, or a more visionary strategy.

Forests of the World, LLC
1410 Cross St. / Durham, NC 27701
(919) 957-1500 / info @