Not long after
we began Tropical American Tree Farms, Sherry and I were invited to
speak at the 1992 World Congress on the Family, being held that year
in Columbus, Ohio. The Congress founders had chosen Doņa Gloria Bejarano Calderon, the
First Lady of Costa Rica at that time, to receive the Pathfinder Award
for her outstanding work on behalf of children and families and Sherry
and I were honored to be asked to make the presentation to Doņa
As part of their invitation
to us, the organizers of the Congress asked that we submit a statement
of our principles and objectives in founding Tropical American Tree
Farms, to be included in the permanent record of the ceremony to be
given to Doņa Gloria.
are today motivated by the very same vision
and guided by the very same principles. And we will be for the rest
of our lives.
This is our commitment:
Sherry and Steve in protected
rainforest on the farms
We believe that to be
truly successful, every business must be based upon a set of guiding
principles and committed to certain clear objectives.
Tropical American Tree
Farms is founded in and guided by the following beliefs:
- Profit can easily coexist with conscience and good values.
- Profit alone is rewarding, but profit coupled with benefit to
others is immeasurably more satisfying.
- Specialized knowledge improves success.
- Profit is much more self-perpetuating than altruism alone.
- A successful business relationship
benefits everyone involved.
- God gives all of us the ability, and the
responsibility, to leave this world and those around us better than
when we arrived.
- Out of every problem arises equal or greater
- Working together we can accomplish much more
than working alone.
In pursuing our free
enterprise solution to the problem of tropical deforestation, we are
committed to the following objectives:
- Honesty. We will be open and
honest with everyone, in everything we do.
- Excellence. From choosing the farms to plant, to the selection
of our species, seeds and seedlings, to our preparation, planting
and care techniques, to the milling and drying of the precious hardwoods
from the harvests of your and our trees, we will pursue excellence
in everything that we do.
- Conservation. We will work to help protect the world's
remaining tropical rainforests, including protecting all of the
existing rainforest on our farms. We will plant as many tropical
trees, sustainably produce as much tropical hardwood, and protect as much tropical rainforest as is consistent with maintaining
profitability and quality. As part of our effort, we will maintain
our tree farms as private biological reserves. And in addition to
the trees we plant for harvest, will also plant trees that will
not be harvested, to protect steep hillsides and the rivers and
streams, and provide additional food and shelter for the birds and
- Education. We will work to help slow tropical deforestation
through education. On a global level, we will continue to communicate
the importance of protecting the world's remaining rainforests,
and that profit and the environment can coexist in harmony. We will
continue to communicate to the citizens and businesses of consuming
nations the importance of utilizing only those tropical woods that
come from sustainable sources and not from the destruction of rainforests.
At the local level, we will continue to work to teach the children
and their families the importance of protecting the local flora
and fauna and to love, respect and value both the forest and its
- Sharing. We will share this opportunity as widely as possible
while continuing to maintain quality and profitability. By planting
and growing tropical hardwood trees by contract for our tree owners,
many more people may profit from this opportunity and enjoy the
beauty of the farms. And, together we can plant many more trees,
produce much more tropical hardwood, and protect much more rainforest
than if we limited our efforts to our own resources.
- Community. In addition to focusing on profit for our tree
owners and ourselves, we will always strive to be a benefit to all
with whom we come into contact, especially our tree owners and our
workers, and to help all of our neighboring communities, their schools
and their churches.
- Continuity. We are committed to having our business continue,
independent of our existence. We are organized as a corporation
for profit, and share our knowledge, beliefs, values, authority
and responsibility with our employees with the objective that they
may continue on without us.
our beliefs and adhering to our commitments, by continuing to convey
to others the importance of conserving the world's remaining rainforests
and the benefits of planting tropical trees for harvest for profit,
by continuing to share our unique opportunity with others and continuing
to plant more trees and protect more rainforest, together we can all
make a difference. We can be of some small benefit to the family
Sherry and I
thank God every day for the opportunity to dedicate ourselves to such
a fulfilling endeavor, and for all of our wonderful tree owners and
all of our dedicated workers who together make all of this possible.
Steve and Sherry Brunner
next page -
Why Plant Tropical Hardwood Trees?