Sustainability Award, May 2016

Puerto Rico Hardwoods Inc (PRH) is delighted to have won the prestigious 2016 EnterPRize business award for Sustainability, sponsored by Grupo Guayacán and the Aireko Foundation.

Hardwood trees that are felled by government and other agencies for public safety in Puerto Rico are currently dumped as ‘waste’ in the islands landfills. PRH rescues these trees and processes them into valuable timber for export and domestic use. PRH also harvests and sells timber from 30 year old plantations at Las Casas de la Selva, Patillas, and promotes sustainable harvesting of timber from other plantations in Puerto Rico.

PRH maintains that sustainability must start with minimizing waste and the intelligent use of local resources rather than importing timber which contributes to the devastation of forests in other countries. In the context of global increases in deforestation, PRH demonstrates long-term methods for economic utilization of previously disturbed secondary forests in Puerto Rico. This is essential in helping to reduce pressure on the exploitation of pristine rainforests elsewhere. PRH is built on a renewable and recyclable resource model and as one of the first of Puerto Rico’s hardwood distributors, believes that sustainability is much more than just a marketing device; it is a practice that ensures a healthy future for our lives and businesses.

PRH is located on the land known as Las Casas de la Selva, home to the Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry Project established 30 years ago by The Institute of Ecotechnics in the southern mountains adjacent to the Carite State Forest, in Patillas, Puerto Rico.

PRH was created and developed by Andrés Rúa and Thrity Vakil, also both Directors of Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry and Rainforest Enrichment Project. As founders of the Agroforestry Development Advisory Council (CADA), their broader vision is to promote sustainable forestry in Puerto Rico and convert unwanted trees into a valuable resource.

Here are some images from the award ceremony, 24th May 2016

Winners of Sustainability Award: Puerto Rico Hardwoods, and Crosstech
Above: L-R: Keila Lopez, Grupo Guayacan Program Manager, Andrés Rúa, CEO PR Hardwoods, 3t Vakil, President PR Hardwoods, Jose David Torres, Crosstech, Jose Humberto, Crosstech, and Francisco Uriarte, Chairman of Grupo Guayacan.

Below: All the semi-finalists on the night.

EnterPRize’s objective is to strengthen startups through a rigorous educational curriculum, mentoring and access to capital. In this 10th edition, EnterPRize broadens its offering through two phases focused on promising startups that are capable of growing locally and internationally. This new generation of entrepreneurs has the capacity of launching innovative projects with a global economic mindset and we’re proud to be part of the start of their entrepreneurial journey,” said Laura Cantero, Executive Director of Grupo Guayacán. EnterPRize seeks to identify startups and entrepreneurs with significant potential and to spur their development by providing access to the tools and resources they need to scale.

The PRH team: Alex Figueroa, Magha Garcia, Andrés Rúa, 3t Vakil, & Ricardo Valles. 2016

Grupo Guayacán, Inc. is a private sector driven non-profit organization founded in 1996 with a unique model that has coupled private equity investment with a series of programs aimed at developing, strengthening, and advancing Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Aireko Foundation’s vision is that Puerto Ricans develop and sustain leading organizations and enterprising initiatives recognized in and outside Puerto Rico for their sustainability. Our mission is to promote the development of individuals, businesses and non-governmental organizations in a measurable and sustainable manner in Puerto Rico, in order to achieve positive social, economic and environmental change. We value and support education, charity, entrepreneurship and solidarity, integrated with a dynamic search for sustainability.

Symposium and Exhibition of Forest Products at IITF, 6th December 2014


L-R: Luis Soto, (Land Authority Director) Carmen Guerrero, (Secretary of DNR), Connie Carpenter, Magaly Figueroa, (USDA State & Private Forestry), Andrés Rúa, 3t Vakil, (Tropic Ventures and Nuestra Madera), Magha Garcia, (Director Pachamama Organic Farm), Sheila Ward, (Mahogany for the Future), Edgardo Gonzalez (Landscape Conservation Center).

Consejo Asesor para el Desarrollo Agro-forestal 4th March 2014

Meeting at Cyber Café, Caguas, 4th March 2014

NombreAgencia o grupo
Andrés Rúa GonzálezTropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry
Thrity VakilTropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry
Magaly FigueroaUSDA US Forest Service
Arnaldo AstacioDepartamento de Agricultura de Puerto Rico
Fernando ArroyoUSDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Christina CabreraDepartamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales de PR
Enrique SantiagoDepartamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales de PR
Lisette FasCafiesencia
Franklin RománServicio de Extensión Agrícola
Mariano RobledoBamboo Puerto Rico
Maria BenedettiBotanicultura
Daniel CabanBamboo Puerto Rico
Sheila WardMahogany for the future
Félix Aponte GonzálezDepartamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales de PR
Enrique C. Colon BurgosAutoridad de Energía Eléctrica

Images by 3t Vakil, 2014

Talking about wood

L-R: Mark Schofield (Ex-Editor of Fine Woodworking Magazine); Yolanda Flores (Department of Agriculture); Augusto Carvajal (Biologist); Magaly Figueroa (USDA Forest Service, IITF); Andrés Rúa (Tropic Ventures Research & Education Foundation); 3t Vakil (Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry Project); Connie Carpenter (US State & private Forestry, IITF); Christina Cabrera (Departmento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales, Ayudante Especial, Oficina del Secretario); Aileen Amador (Departamento de Transportación y Obras Públicas).

CADA meeting at the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, 30th August 2013.
Consejo Asesor para el Desarrollo Agroforestal de Puerto Rico

“Working towards the development of Sustainable Forestry in Puerto Rico, and the research and creation of a forest products industry and relevant markets.”

See www.nuestramadera.org for more info on this new council and its mission, founded in May 2013 by Andrés Rúa and 3t Vakil.

All images by 3t Vakil