Photo: Petra Fantozzi
Text: Maria Nitulescu
The Cuipo organization and lifestyle brand had the inauguration in Berlin within the Dream Universe event held in July 2014.
Cuipo is the name of the endangered tree from tropical rainforests in Central America, in the Panama area, and fits perfectly the organization dedicated to preserve rainforests around the globe.
The promoters behind the business concept, Southern California natives Gus Hurst and Tom Murray, were operating private real estate funds in Panama in 2008, when they witnessed the impact of deforestation firsthand during a helicopter flight.
With their experience in real estate, Hurst and Murray knew that the only way to preserve the rainforest was to purchase the land, and set it aside for permanent preservation.
Cuipo was born in 2007 and shortly after started raising awareness about the rainforest and deforestation. The company mission is about giving back through the purchase of products in exchange for saving a meter of land at a time.
In 2010 Gus shared Cuipo’s mission with his longtime friend John Oswald, co- founder of the Paul Frank brand and member of the U.S. Green Building Council.
With a passion for sustainable design, expertise in the apparel and licensing industries, Oswald – Cuipo’s third co-founder, expanded the company’s vision including an eco-friendly product line and licensee program.
The licensee program gives like-minded companies the opportunity to contribute in Cuipo’s cause and and give a meaningful purpose to their products.
Every Cuipo product sold, whether a t-shirt, bracelet or reusable water bottle, saves one square meter of rainforest. All the products joining the Cuipo series of initiatives are sustainable, eco-friendly or ethic minded.
In terms of reach, the products are sold already in Europe with Sigg reusable bottles and alongside some key partnerships with INT softboards, Sprout biodegradable watches, Panda bamboo bicycles, and their custom branded “Sloth Crew” skate deck.
The Cuipo model is unique and received a patent from the US Patent office, including the online aspect of saving meters and attaching meters to products. Their goal is to create a higher value for the rainforest and make the land to be more valuable in its natural state than it would be if clear-cut and destroyed.