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Fast Company Names Taylor Guitars among Top 10 Most Innovative Manufacturers

We’re thrilled to share that Taylor Guitars has been named by Fast Company as one of the world’s most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector!

Each year, Fast Company produces a list of the companies and enterprises that are pushing boundaries in their fields with new initiatives, new products and new ways of thinking about business. 

We’re honored to be included at #9 of their Top 10 most innovative companies in manufacturing thanks to our global environmental and sustainability initiatives. These projects have become an integral part of Taylor as a business and as a manufacturer, and we’re proud to have them recognized for their impacts on the business world.

Check out Fast Company’s list of the Top Ten Most Innovative Companies in Manufacturing, and scroll down to learn more about our groundbreaking sustainability initiatives around the world.

The Ebony Project

Taylor, like many other brands, crafts fretboards and other guitar parts from ebony, whose density and other physical properties make it the ideal wood for those parts. The Ebony Project was developed in an effort to make the supply chain for West African ebony more sustainable and less wasteful while also helping to replant and restore ebony forests for future generations. 

In 2019, Taylor Guitars completed the largest ebony planting in history in the Congo Basin of Cameroon in partnership with the Congo Basin Institute and in 2020 surpassed its milestone goal of planting 15,000 trees. In 2021, the Ebony Project received a five-year, $1.4 million grant as part of a broader $9.4 million forest conservation initiative in Cameroon funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The project includes fruit tree planting in participating communities, which addresses food insecurity issues in the Congo Basin. The latest goals are to plant 30,000 ebony trees and 25,000 fruit trees by 2025.

Urban Wood Initiative

In 2020, Taylor Guitars partnered with West Coast Arborists to launch a new wood-sourcing initiative. WCA manages some 300 municipalities and public agency properties, caring for over 6 million trees across California and Arizona.

This partnership allows Taylor to create a second life for trees in those municipal or urban areas by crafting guitars from trees that have reached the end of their life cycle. Instead of ending up in a landfill, we repurpose certain trees to use as backs and sides in acoustic guitars, generating value around materials that would otherwise have gone to waste. 

The Urban Wood Initiative has launched in earnest with our use of Urban Ash, taken from Shamel ash trees in need of removal from urban areas. With its mahogany-esque tone profile, Urban Ash serves up a rich musical response while reducing our impacts on international forests.

Koa and Hawaiian Forest Restoration

Finally, Taylor Guitars has been hard at work in the Hawaiian islands, partnering with wood supplier Pacific Rim Tonewoods to form a new venture called Paniolo Tonewoods (soon to be renamed Siglo Tonewoods). The project involves restoring and regenerating native Hawaiian koa forests, which have shrunk dramatically in recent centuries as forestland was cleared for cattle grazing, with natural regeneration threatened by invasive species and feral cattle. In addition to launching several restoration forestry projects with large private landowners in Hawaii, in June of 2021, Paniolo planted over 3,000 koa and more than 800 mixed native tree species on 10 acres of a larger 564-acre property managed by Paniolo on the north end of Hawaii Island. Over the next decade, the plan is to plant 150,000 trees on this property.

Read more about this initiative in Wood&Steel.