Burton Treble Yell Backpack

overall rating:

1.5

planets

Ethan Coyle
11/28/2021
No items found.

The Burton Treble Yell backpack has been my bag of choice for school and travel for the last few years. It has a simple style, feels very durable, and has space for all my daily essentials. Since it is a bag I use several times a week, I decided to research how sustainable my backpack is and how Burton holds up as a brand. In doing so, I discovered that Burton is extremely dedicated to making a positive impact on the environment and the people inside and outside the company, and they have taken great initiative to get involved with third-party organizations that monitor and aid their sustainability efforts. Despite this, the Treble Yell Backpack is lacking public information that would help me to review the sustainability of its production, leading me to review some aspects of the backpack poorly. With increased transparency regarding the materials used to manufacture the backpack and the factory it was made in, I would likely score Burton very highly, and I recommend that they make these changes to their website.

What it's made of:

0.75

Burton’s website does not offer any information about the materials chosen to make this backpack. It seems that there is a location on the website for them to provide the material information, but it is left blank. Even on the backpack itself, I can’t locate a tag that describes the makeup of the product. This is a red flag for me and I would encourage Burton to provide this information so that consumers are aware of the environmental impact they are creating by purchasing this backpack.

Despite their lack of transparency, Burton does boast that the Treble Yell is a Bluesign approved product. Bluesign is a third-party sustainability group that is partnered with over 700 companies to certify that products are sustainably sourced and have a low impact on people and the environment. While this certification does not tell the consumer what materials actually make up the backpack or where they were sourced, it asks for a sort of blind faith that Bluesign approved products are as sustainable as possible. After reading through their website and claims and considering the high number of partner companies, I am encouraged to believe that earning a Bluesign approval truly does reflect a highly sustainable product, but more transparency is necessary to help consumers confidently choose to purchase Burton products.

How it's made:

0.75

Observing a tag inside my backpack and using a public spreadsheet I found on their website, I was able to find the address and worker count of the factory in Bangladesh where my backpack was manufactured. Unfortunately, Burton doesn’t provide any more information about this specific factory such as opportunities provided to employees, their wages, or the employee retainment rate. These kinds of details would be nice for a consumer to have so they know that Burton doesn’t manufacture overseas just for cheap labor and loose government regulations. Burton does partner with a nonprofit called the Fair Labor Association that ensures factories meet certain standards of production, and they conduct regular audits of worker conditions, but I could not find the results of these audits and the grades that have been given to the Bangladesh factory. If Burton factories truly live up to the pages and pages of standards and policies they describe to the public, then they deserve great credit. Yet without the results of their internal audits, I am unable to judge for myself whether or not my backpack was produced sustainably. 

Who makes it:

3

Altogether, I am astonished by the great lengths Burton seems to take to ensure the sustainability of their products and the positive social impact of their business. They are a certified B-corp, meaning they join 3000 corporations in meeting high standards of sustainability, and they seem to go the extra mile every chance they get. Their workplace culture is especially admirable, with 40% of leadership being women, free locally produced coffee and soap offered to employees, and bikes and electric vehicle charging stations provided to reduce carbon emissions when commuting to work. On top of this, Burton is a founding member of the Climate Action Corps, a group determined to reduce global carbon emissions, they run a nonprofit called the Chill Foundation that promotes youth development through snowboarding, and they travel to Capitol Hill yearly to lobby for climate policy. Furthermore, 80% of the material used in Burton production is Bluesign approved, and most goods include a lifetime warranty (including the Treble Yell backpack). More specifically, 99% of their cotton is organic, and 36% of polyester used in production comes from recycled polyester. While the company proudly displays its positive milestones, they even display that it experienced a 4% carbon emission increase recently. While this is obviously not a good thing, the transparency is. If Burton pursued this transparency elsewhere in their product descriptions, they might receive a perfect score for their Treble Yell backpack; until more information is available about the bag, I can only score the product 1.5 earths out of 3.