We believe our impact is as important as our product.
From the beginning we've centered ourselves in fostering a symbiotic relationship between local communities, the threatened environment, and consumers. This is why we produce products that are more than just reliable and beautiful. With your support and the devotion of local communities, we hope to conserve extremely threatened tropical rainforests, and thereby redefine the power of collaborative design.
We believe protecting tropical rainforests can have a global impact.
Deforestation is responsible for nearly 15% of the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Ecuador’s coastal rainforests are among the most threatened forests in the world. Clear-cutting has lead these ecosystems to be reduced to less than 10% of their original range. Yet, this region remains one of the most biodiverse areas of the world. In collaboration with surrounding foundations, we intend to protect the Chocó Wet Forest, one of the last remaining habitats for a host of rare and endangered species, like the brown-headed spider monkey.
In defense of this biological diversity, trees are chosen for extraction based on their importance within the surrounding ecosystem, not their monetary value. Following exceptional standards of sustainable forestry, we only harvest about 2.3 trees per acre every 20 years. For extraction, only portable sawmills are used and we’ve spent years innovating a system of cables to seamlessly transport wood out of the forest resulting in undisturbed wildlife and preventing the need for roads.
Through collective effort, conserving these rainforests will prevent a significant amount of carbon from being released into the atmosphere. It is our hope that this will not only offer an effective alternative to global deforestation, but will have a global impact on climate change.
We believe that economic stability of local communities means a healthy forest.
When Ecomadera was established in 2002 most families in the town of Cristóbal Colón and surrounding communities earned a small living by clear-cutting forests to create monoculture plantations. After a number of years without optimal soil conditions crops begin to fail, land is then converted for cattle-grazing, and people are pushed to clear-cut more forest. Established as a community-owned enterprise with support from the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and the US Peace Corp., our aim was to reverse this cycle, stopping deforestation while helping families build a brighter economic future for their community.
We continue to collaborate on projects that help ensure the community's long-term prosperity. Working with Peace Corp. volunteers, a scholarship program was established. Construction of the area’s first health clinic and commitment to providing staff was supported in part by members of the Pinchot Institute and the Ecuadorian Government.
Since then, we’ve continued to grow, supporting over 100 careers in forestry, manufacturing, and business management. Community members remain significant shareholders and play a large role in business governance. Thanks to the aspiration and devotion of Cristobal Colón, employment is growing, standards of living are rising, and local businesses are flourishing.