A Sustainable company concept and product needs more transparency on their production practices.
Although at first thought one might not consider Yeti to fall under the typical eco-friendly specifications, after some research I would consider their cooler and drinkware lines, such as this rambler, decently sustainable. The overall positive impact this product leaves on its consumers lifestyle habits as well as its philanthropic efforts contributes to its positive planet rating. The group is very open about its multiple partnerships with both global and national organizations, mostly outdoor and nature related, providing products and financial support to their causes. While this family owned business claims to incorporate recyclable and responsibly sourced materials into its products, there is lacking transparency on these processes and material sourcing, causing some loss of credibility here.
This specific Yeti rambler is made out of Stainless steel. This metal is an inherently sustainable material for its properties and lifetime. Like many other metals, stainless steel can be recycled an infinite number of times, but the amazing thing is that this recycling process does not lead to any reduction in quality. This allows for ax exceptionally longer service life. While the product itself is sustainable and capable or being recycled, we see no initiatives or mention of Yeti taking advantage of or implementing this recycling into its production processes. Furthermore, Yeti is not very transparent or clear about where this metal is sourced from, the environmental impacts for the community, or any of the working conditions from this materials suppliers. I believe with more transparency and a better internal circular supply chain model through recycling or buy back programs, Yeti could increase its sustainability rating.
At its core, Yeti’s main product lines support a sustainable consumption lifestyle because of their durability and extended lifetime. Yeti’s products are made to last, and therefore can be used to years after years. This, at its core, should make the products desirable by eco-conscious consumers. While more expensive than its competitors, Yeti products are a one-and-done purchase, avoiding waste from its multiple cheaper alternatives.
Built to be tough, Yeti’s use roto-molding shell construction, making them incredibly strong as they have no seams to crack, split or leak air over time. Their coolers and drinkware are remarkably durable and of top quality in terms of functionality. On the coolers, the handles are formed around a corrosion-proof rod of aluminum, so the hinge resist rust as well as breakage.
That being said, we still have limited insight on its workers rights and inherent drive to produce sustainably. The only mention of production is that while most products are assembled in America, the manufacturing takes place elsewhere, notably China. Yeti’s supplier code of conduct remains vague and quite short to cover all humanitarian and environmental issues that are discussed. While covering the basic issues such as forced or child labor, the section on environment just mentioned complying with local laws, but has no built in laws given by company code or guidelines. For this reason, I can not be sure of how Yeti’s products are made and request more transparency is given.
Yeti is a family business started and run by two brothers who were are both invested in outdoor activities and were seeking better quality products in this market. While they remain quite connected with multiple NGO partnerships and labor organizations, a lot of their ESG efforts are discussed rather than shown. Currently YETI does not have a sustainability report published, any published goals towards waste reduction, or really any public mention of current sustainable actions being taken.
While the Yeti name has grown to be associated with quality, there is still a lot more work to be done towards sustainability. I believe a first step for Yeti would be to discuss their role as a bigger player in the market, and work towards first setting practical, achievable sustainability goals. Only after they recognize their goals to become more sustainable, then they can take actionable steps towards achieving them.