Cuipo working to preserve endangered rainforest in Panama

By Chloe Barton — March 07, 2013

While operating private real estate funds in Panama, Southern California natives Gus Hurst and Tom Murray witnessed the impact of deforestation firsthand. During a helicopter flyover, they noticed what appeared at first to be massive golf courses in the middle of lush rainforest land. Once they realized these swaths of empty land were not resort golf courses but the aftermath of deforestation, they knew they had to act. With their experience in real estate, Gus and Tom knew that the only way to ensure the preservation of rainforest was to purchase the land, and set is aside for permanent preservation.

Rather than inspiring millionaires to buy the land or convincing the Panamanian government to protect the land with policy, Gus and Tom decided that they would buy the land themselves and allow people to save it in very small increments. Thus Cuipo was born in 2007. Shortly thereafter they began purchasing swaths of primary rainforest land in Panama, donating 100% of land preserved to its nonprofit foundation One Meter at a Time, whose responsibility is to protect, preserve and educate.

A few years later, Gus shared Cuipo’s mission with his long time friend John Oswald, co-founder of the iconic Paul Frank brand. John, a member of the U.S. Green Building Council with a passion for sustainable design, was constructing his own green home at the time. After learning about the magnitude of deforestation, he was inspired to join Cuipo’s fight to protect and preserve tropical rainforest. In 2010, John became Cuipo’s third co-founder.

To date, Cuipo has partnered with the Los Angeles Lakers, Surfrider Foundation, SIGG, Fisher & Paykel, and more. So far, Cuipo has saved over 13 million square meters of rainforest.

Every Cuipo product sold, whether a t-shirt, bracelet or reusable water bottle, saves prime rainforest land. Join Cuipo in its fight against deforestation by giving gifts that give back this Holiday season. Every Cuipo+SIGG reusable water bottle sold saves one square meter of rainforest from deforestation. The bottles are now available on there website.

Images Courtesy of Cuipo          

Slide Image of  the Cuipo booth at PROJECT in Las Vegas, NV during Magic Market Week

Image on top left of page: The Cuipo tree is the tallest tree in the Panamanian rainforest

Image on bottom right of page: The Kuna women of Panama are the artisans behind Cuipo’s beaded bracelets

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