About Canopy Bridge
Canopy Bridge was started by Marta Echavarría and Jacob Olander. Over more than three decades they have worked together to create new ways to create tangible value for the people conserving biodiversity, including Indigenous and local communities, non-profit organizations, governments and sustainable businesses.
After early careers working with environmental NGOs and with agribusiness, they founded EcoDecisión, Canopy Bridge´s parent entity, in 1995. For over 25 years EcoDecisión has been a pioneer in building financial mechanisms for conservation in Latin America. Among many firsts they were instrumental in setting up Latin America´s first payment for watershed services fund, developing some of the earliest forest carbon offset projects and methodologies (including the world´s first Indigenous REDD+ project), and establishing the first private conservation easement in Ecuador.
Canopy Bridge is a return to their roots as well as a fresh approach to creating a value proposition for the environment: bolstering incomes for conservation-focused farmers and forest dwellers, and connecting it to an unprecedented boom in food culture around the world, and in Latin America.
Canopy Bridge combines their sense of mission and impact with a joyful celebration of the diversity of resources and cultures that make the Amazon unendingly amazing.
Marta grew up in Colombia, was educated in the US at Brown University (BA in Environmental Studies and MA in Development Studies) and came back to develop environmental management programs in leading agroindustries, such as sugar cane, shrimp and oil palm, before starting EcoDecisión
Jacob never quite knows how to answer where he is from: Born in Japan, of Danish parents, growing up in the US and now having lived over half a lifetime in Latin America. He has degrees from Brown University (Development Studies and Literature) and Cornell University (Agriculture and Rural Development) and has worked with grassroots organizations, international NGOs, multilateral agencies and governments. His most formative experiences have always been in the forest and the mountains.
They are based in Ecuador, splitting their time between the Amazon, the Andean capital city of Quito, and a butterfly farm in the cloud forest of the western foothills.