At a ceremony on Wednesday, January 29, held at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., Bob Taylor, president of Taylor Guitars, was presented with the Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) to honor the company’s transformative work in the ebony trade and in the lives of its many employees at its ebony mill, Crelicam, in Cameroon. The annual award recognizes U.S.-owned businesses that play vital roles around the world as good corporate citizens in supporting sustainable development, respect for human and labor rights, environmental protection, open markets, transparency, and other democratic values.
At a formal presentation ceremony held in the Benjamin Franklin Room, Secretary of State John Kerry presented the award to Bob Taylor, noting that through Crelicam, “Bob and Taylor Guitars have fundamentally changed the entire ebony trade.” Secretary Kerry underscored the company’s commitment to both the environment and its employees, and as an advocate for improved economic policies and responsible forestry management. “Taylor Guitars has become an effective advocate for legal and policy reforms to improve the permitting process around the ebony trade to better protect both the environment and the rights and needs of other forest users,” he observed. “Taylor ensures that its works are protected, and they ensure that their workers likewise benefit as a result of this.” To close, he noted that “this is absolutely the example of how people ought to do business. We’re so proud to be able to tell this story, as each of these stories, because they’re a wonderful example of the best of corporate citizenship globally. It’s an honor for me to present the 2013 Award for Corporate Excellence to Taylor Guitars.”
Upon receipt of the award, Bob Taylor acknowledged the company’s commitment to a vision which would transform the ebony trade, and the lives of its employees, by applying business solutions to an environmental problem. Equally important, Taylor underscored the company’s commitment to act in the spirit of compassionate capitalism, with an emphasis on enriching the lives of employees through training and social events, and to retain the value of ebony wood in Cameroon. “Our vision was to transform the way that ebony is harvested, processed, and sold into a new model of responsible social forestry while enriching the lives of our 75 employees through meaningful work,” Taylor shared in his formal remarks. “To accomplish this, we assumed the role of guardian of the forest, and we operate with the philosophy to use what the forest gives us. To us, this means using ebony of all colors and all variegations, including wood that features spotted or streaked coloring, wood which prior to our involvement would have been left to deteriorate on the forest floor.”
For 15 years, the Secretary of State has bestowed the ACE to U.S. businesses that undertake responsible activities to improve lives and advance the needs of local communities around the world. The Department of State remains committed to furthering best practices by collaborating with U.S. businesses.