Cotopaxi - Batac 24 Del Dia Backpack

overall rating:

2.6

planets

Mia Thomas
3/23/2022
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After reviewing other outdoor apparel companies and products, I was curious to find a brand in the outdoor apparel industry that is creating sustainable products. Cotopaxi, a Salt Lake City, Utah company, has a mission to create “durable gear in the most ethically sustainable way possible and to use [their] revenue to develop and uplift communities. In short, make products that last—and have a lasting impact.” One thing that stood out to me about Cotopaxi is their focus not only on production and manufacturing practices but also the people and stakeholders who are extremely important in these processes. I feel that sometimes I come across companies who only take into consideration their environmental impact, such as CO2 emissions or materials uses, or try to showcase their “sustainability efforts,” yet there is no mention of who is involved in their company. I find these reports and measurements lacking as the people and labor involved in these products are a key component of how sustainable they really are. Another great thing about Cotopaxi is that they are gathering donations to help refugees in Ukraine and matching every donation up to $10,000. On their website they provide background and updates on the crisi, who is managing these donations (Mercy Corps), and how donations will be used, which is great for someone who wants to make sure their money is going to the right place and making a difference. Overall, I found that Cotopaxi is a very sustainable organization with great initiatives, goals, and standards, setting up the Batac 24 Del Dia Backpack for its positive review. 

What it's made of:

2.8

The Batac 24 Del Dia backpack is made from Cotopaxi’s “Repurposed Collection.” This collection repurposes fabrics, zippers, thread, and buckles and from factories who notify Cotopaxi of their extra materials. Cotopaxi then calculates how much of the fabric they need for their production lines. Then once materials are gathered Cotopaxi will color the materials how they desire. Part of the reason why Cotopaxi’s products are so colorful is because of the variety of materials they gather, meaning that colors will vary slightly. They also allow their workers to create the packs with whatever colors they’d like. Cotopaxi does this in aims of keeping perfectly good materials out of the landfill. The specific materials in the Batac 24 Del Dia backpack are repurposed nylon, and a couple mesh pockets and straps for breathability. But all of the materials used are 100% repurposed materials. Additionally, I was curious what the emissions impact of Cotopaxi’s Del Dia bag is. Cotopaxi stated that they calculated their total emissions and have purchased carbon offsets to ensure that they are net zero. By becoming Climate Neutral Certified, Cotopaxi had to adequately measure their emissions, purchase offsets to account for these emissions, and then develop a comprehensive plan to reduce their current level of emissions and lessen their impact overall.

How it's made:

2.5

I found Cotopaxi’s organizational structure of their factories to be very unique. Cotopaxi utilizes five factories in total. They are located in Bataan, Philippines; Tianjin, China; Chinnakariai, India; Shanghai, China; and Phnom, Cambodia. What I found interesting about Cotopaxi’s factory organization is that each factory is responsible for creating different products. For example, Bataan will only produce backpacks and bags (such as the Del Dia backpack) while Tianjin will produce insulation and outerwear. This is because the processes and specializations needed for each of these products differs. Each of these factories also has their own initiatives or sustainability goals that they’ve accomplished or that they’re working towards. Bataan completed the Higg Index facility module, which measures water usage, workers wages, and transparency surrounding practices. The Chinnakariai factory focuses on Fair Trade and meeting the social and environmental standards to become Fair Trade Certified. Cotopaxi also provides a significant amount of photos from these factories to document, at least to some extent, what the working environment looks like. Overall it seems that Cotopaxi is committed to ethical business standards as they are a “triple bottom line” company. This means that they value the people and planet just as much as their profits. I would assume that the standards for international factories are not as strict as in the United States, so that is one aspect that I am curious to learn more about. I also believe that there may be high emissions or fossil fuel use with shipping materials abroad, but the company has done a great job at offsetting these emissions so far.

Who makes it:

2.7

Davis Smith, the founder of Cotopaxi, grew up in Latin America where he saw the stark differences in opportunities given to people and the growing inequality there. He created Cotopaxi with the mission of alleviating poverty and climate change by putting sustainability at the forefront of their company. Cotopaxi’s management team continues to find ways to better their working rights, work on sustainability such as the circularity of their products, and meet the needs of their customers. As a benefit corporation (B-Corp), Cotopaxi recognizes how important governance is for their company. To become a certified B-Corp, Cotopaxi has to meet certain practices and standards that essentially ensure that stakeholders are being considered in their business practices, not just shareholders. By prioritizing stakeholder over shareholders, the management team has effectively made their products accessible to their customers while considering what their customers want, not only out of their products, but also out of Cotopaxi as a corporation.