Cotopaxi isn’t your average outdoor retailer: it is a certified B Corporation, meaning Cotopaxi “meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” Cotopaxi believes that through travel and adventure, we all grow and become interconnected. It’s this love of the world as a whole that drives Cotopaxi to invest in it. And this investment takes of the form of quality-made, stylish equipment, that also ensures quality of life for Cotopaxi employees. Their goods help you, the consumer, to get out and connect with the world–even the people who made your bag.
Most, if not all, Cotopaxi products are made elsewhere in the world, despite being a Delaware Public Benefit Company (PBC)–and that’s deliberate. As a PBC, Cotopaxi is designated, rather uniquely, as a for-profit company that “…is intended to produce public benefits and to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner.” The founders clearly take this mandate to heart.
They wanted find ways to truly help solve major global problems like healthcare, education, and economic growth. They found one way to do this is to invigorate foreign communities by bringing in Cotopaxi opportunities. It’s a very deliberate, well-researched decision to outsource. The company will only use factories that have been audited for health and safety and that have also agreed to health and safety concessions. But Cotopaxi takes it a step further. Not only does Cotopaxi personally inspect any proposed factory, but it also hires local journalists to interview employees to get the real skinny on working conditions. This is done partly to ensure their products are ethically made and are actually benefiting communities. But, a lot of it has to do with wanting to forge real, positive relationships with their employees.
Take their Luzon Del Día daypack. The factory behind these brightly colored, repurposed nylon backpacks is located in, you guessed it, Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines. The bag itself is already awesome: it’s easy to pack, the straps are breathable mesh, and there’s an internal hydration sleeve. But that’s not what makes it amazing. What does make it amazing is that each employee of the Luzon factory has complete color design control over the bags he or she makes. Not only does this freedom make your bag truly one-of-a-kind, but it forms a connection between you and the person who created it–you know, that whole interconnectivity thing. Plus, it means that these employees are given the freedom to be creative craftsman rather than just sewing-machine drones. All this functionality, creativity, interconnectivity, and economic sustainability, all for the low price of $49.95.