10 Apr 2013
Fredo Arias-King (MBA 1996) President of Texas's T&R Chemicals, is aware that—outside of his industry—people aren't necessarily cognizant of the historical and cultural importance of pine resin, the natural resource his company harvests from pine trees. But he can offer a brief history: resin-harvesting is a millenarian tradition, mentioned in the Bible; it was a foundational industry for colonial America; and resin is even why North Carolina was nicknamed the Tar Heel State.
It was through his company's work with the resin that he discovered an opportunity for a unique social enterprise project. Called Green and Tapped Indian Community and launched in 2010, the program works with indigenous Mexican populations to plant new pine tree groves on their land. The new trees give the communities a steady income, provide carbon sequestration and protection for the land's underground water reservoirs, and—eventually—may help increase resin production for T&R.
Eventually, Arias-King hopes to help communities in Mexico plant a total of 12,000 hectares of pine trees, a forest about equal to the size of Boston.
Below, you can hear more from Arias-King about the history of the industry, how his project works, and what it means for the future of the indigenous farmers.
Class of MBA 1996, Section C