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February 4, 2014 (Washington, D.C)--U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has honored Taylor Guitars, the internationally famed guitar maker  in El Cajon, as one of three U.S. companies presented an “Award for Corporate Excellence.   Secretary Kerry praised Taylor Guitars for buying an ebony mill in Cameroon and using shades of ebony in manufacturing its guitars, not just black ebony once used exclusively, to protect forests from being depleted.

At a ceremony on January 29 at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., Bob Taylor, president of Taylor Guitars, was presented with the award.

“Bob and Taylor Guitars have fundamentally changed the entire ebony trade.”  Secretary Kerry said, emphasizing 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.”

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 said in accepting the honor. “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.”

Read more in Voice of America’s article:  Taylor Guitars "Award for Corporate Excellence" and at Taylor Guitars’ website.