How do a company and an organization collaborate? Through saving forests!
Sometimes news of climate emergencies can bring me to the brink of despair – and then there’s a surge of wonderful hope through collaboration! How to you help save the rain forest? For Tim O’Brien founder of Tropical Salvage, it’s through a vision, what can be made of wood that has been trashed, used, fallen? A vision to provide trade skills and work at higher wages than palm oil and rubber plantation jobs for the workers, with benefits for families. Tim knows the rain forest and how vitally important it is and how vibrant it can be when left alone. He has amazing knowledge about biodiversity. And the drive to build a company that sells furniture and home goods that support all of this. For the World Forestry Center it’s through research, and the inspiration of International Fellows! They are so inspiring bringing their expertise from Malawi, Brazil, Nairobi, China, Great Britain, France, Taiwan, Costa Rica. They graduated with awesome presentation after a tour of Portland that included Tropical Salvage. I’m so inspired!
Collaboration between Tropical Salvage and the World Forestry Center began a few years ago when a wonderful Portlander became Ambassador to Malaysia, he and his wife became a driving force for collaborations and connections between Malaysian Borneo and Oregon. For all things sustainability and care of our forests, Tropical Salvage and Tim became a part of a movement which now includes the World Forestry Center.
The International Fellows are wonderful, educated, caring and they made an impact during their visit. These wonderful fellows with the World Forestry Center met with Tim on several occasions and the discussion were lively. The fellows were inspired by his passion: of a small company with the big mission of putting profits into buying land in the Indonesian rain forest and by letting it alone, biodiversity regains a hold and multiple species thrive. The collaboration is deeply seated in the understanding of how forests thrive, how they are destroyed and what this means to the climate crisis. When the conversation became granular about carbon draw down and species survival, everyone was enthralled and encouraged.
Tropical Salvage makes and sells furniture and home goods. Tim O’Brien saves forests a few acres at a time. While not certified as a Benefit Corporation or B Corp, Tropical Salvage is an incredible social enterprise. Tim and the fellows also spoke of the importance of how to choose products based on the values a company demonstrates and how much there is care for the planet and people. Finding these companies can be a challenge. I believe they are worth looking for. My office and much of my home is Tropical Salvage and other social enterprise based products. Together we can vote with our wallets and help the planet!
After the visit I took the fellows to another social enterprise, a bastion of sourcing from restoration agriculture paradigms – Dick’s Primal Burger
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The fellows posted this blog about their tour of retail establishments in Portland – From Fancy to Functional Wood Products