Derek Newberry

This Week: Hope for Change in a Troubled Industry

Proteak?s co-founder, Hector Bonilla is convinced he can defy a deeply engrained and concerning global trend in an extremely problematic sector. He operates within the law, practices responsible forestry and runs a transparent company. This might seem routine, until you consider what he does for a living. Hector is in the teak business. Do even a basic Google search on teak logging and you find plenty of evidence of the issues with harvesting this valuable wood. Article after article discusses the environmental devastation and social ills that arise from the massive illegal or forced logging among major teak producing countries.


Our own World Resources Institute report on the topic highlights Burma, the world’s largest supply of teak wood, and also home to a government responsible for human rights abuses and unsustainable practices in its forestry management (or lack thereof). A recent FAO report discusses the environmental dilemma posed by logging in the Southeast Asian region in general, which has some of the world’s highest deforestation rates. No wonder there are petitions floating around to save the world’s ?last teak forests.?


Enter Proteak, the company Hector was inspired to create during a long drive past plantations in Mexico. Proteak is this week’s featured New Ventures entrepreneur because in an industry dominated by inefficient state enterprises and illegal practices, this company stands out for its proven private sector experience, sustainable forestry practices and social benefits. Find out more about this socially minded group from an article posted here, or visit the NV website to hear a recent interview with Hector.