Why Marqeta is planting 200 trees in the Amazon

A grove of trees in the Amazon symbolizes Marqeta's commitment to plant 200 trees there.

You may wonder what a project to plant 200 trees in the Amazon has to do with a company whose mission is to empower builders to bring innovative products to the world.

The short answer is connection. The tree planting project not only connects Marqetans with Marqetans, it also connects us with the global ecosystem and with the idea that no problem is too big to tackle in small, substantive steps. This is very much our ethos at Marqeta, whether we are solving problems related to modernizing payments infrastructure or seeking to have a positive impact on our communities.

Here’s how our tree project came about: The green team, the employee resource group that I co-lead with my friend and co-worker Mason Hays, had an opportunity to take over the OneFunMarqeta Weekly Challenge we have been holding to keep our remote workforce connected throughout the pandemic. These challenges range from caption contests to sharing our favorite podcasts, pet pictures, the dream careers we thought we’d have when we were in second grade, our home office setups, and more.

In honor of Earth Day, the green team wanted to do something equally fun but also meaningful. We hit upon the idea of asking people to share something — a photo of something they’ve repurposed or of their household garbage, recycling, or compost set up, a recommendation of a favorite sustainable company, a green or earth-themed, photo, story or poem … or anything else that served as an example of living in a sustainable and earth friendly way.

For every posting, we committed to planting a single tree in partnership with One Tree Planted.

It was one of the most popular OneFunMarqeta challenges ever. We received everything from original poetry and artwork (see “The Wise Ones” from Patrick Delashaw, a poet, illustrator, and product manager, reprinted here) to pictures of photovoltaic arrays.

Marqeta, in turn, donated to One Tree Planted, a nonprofit whose mission is global reforestation. Last year, One Tree Planted put 10,004,595 trees in the ground, and this year, they are aiming to double that number. Individuals can also get involved, and some coworkers have already said they intend to keep donating.

What began as a fun way to connect our far-flung team will end as a grove-sized group of trees and a reminder that even small acts can have an impact.

The Wise Ones by Patrick Delashaw