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Maaji Swimwear Has Planted a Forest in Colombia

For Earth Day, we reached out to Maaji Swimwear CEO Miguel Piedrahita. The executive was keen to talk about his company’s greening efforts in Colombia, where they’re located in Medellin, Antioquia. Planting an Ocean of Trees is a program coordinated by Maaji to offset the environmental impact of manufacturing. And they are more than compensating for their practices. To date they have planted more than 90,000 trees in rural areas of the Colombian departments of Antioquia, Boyaca and Tolima. Piedrahita himself has planted 3,000 of them.

Maaji Swimwear

“Our company is owned by two sisters and was founded 10 years ago,” Piedrahita explains. “This program is one which the founders decided to plant trees to reduce the impact of our manufacturing process. Now we have planted 82,000 trees, all planted in Colombia in an area surrounded by nature.” Part of the project includes protecting watersheds in Colombian areas where water potential has been impacted by regional violence.

Maaji Swimwear's Planting an Ocean of Trees

Maaji’s trees are planted in Colombian agricultural communities 

Surrounded by verdant forests (including the Amazon), rivers, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Colombia contains some of the planet’s most beautiful landscapes and natural resources. It’s clear why a company set in such environs would feel protective about them.

An avid scuba diver and sailor, Piedrahita emphasizes that the company’s mission exists well outside of greenwashing or lip service. They’ve even enlisted a firm to inspect and audit so that their efforts conform to the geography and the conditions of each site. They plant native arbor species such as cedar, willow, oak and myrtle, and are compounding their efforts.

“The way we want to grow it is to compound our planting annually by at least 10 percent, ” says Piedrahita. “Minimally, the forest has to be 10 percent bigger every year.”

Maaji Swimwear

Maaji’s commitment to environmentalism doesn’t end at the tree line, however. “How Maaji can protect the purpose of the environment is bigger,” says Piedrahita. “Colombia is situated between seas. I think it could also involve how to protect the sea and its coral. But that’s still a work in progress.”

Maaji Swimwear Earth Warrior bandsFor Piedrahita, the DNA of Maaji and the community in which it is situated compels the company to care for areas that the government or private sector may be neglecting.

“I wouldn’t say that one should do what is important for others, but the combination of what is important to you and others. I strongly believe in balance: short-term goals for business, but having a sustainable company. I want everyone to fulfill the balance of their personal and professional lives,” he says.

For Piedrahita, some of that joy and balance come from enjoying Colombia’s beauty. On his do-not-miss list: the Colombian Amazon, Caño Cristales and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

SHOP: Maaji Swimwear 

—Britt Olson

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