Impact starts with how we operate. That means taking ethics into account during every phase of a product’s lifecycle—from its design to its manufacture and sale. We’re into funky; we’re into sustainable; we’re into treating those who sew our products with respect. How do we do that? Each one of our factories agrees to a rigorous code of conduct, completes an audit or relevant certification, and agrees to help promote fair labor practices.
Located in Bataan, Philippines, this factory is Cotopaxi’s principal pack maker. Known for producing best-in-class technical items, it partners with us in reducing fabric waste through our Del Día products. Here’s how it works: the factory collects the unused material produced by other brands in its facilities, and we turn those scraps into backpacks. Beyond working with us in a win-win effort to advance sustainability, this factory also completed the Higg Index facility module, which means they are committed to fair social labor and environmentally sound practices.
The Higg Index measures everything from water usage to workers’ wages, and facilities who complete the module demonstrate a commitment to operating beyond both compliance and transparency. In addition to our remnant program, Cotopaxi also has a standing relationship with the workers who produce our Del Día products. Every Del Día bag is unique because we leave the color choices and final creative decisions to our sewers, who we see as integral makers.
Based in Southern India, this Fair Trade Certified factory produces our organic cotton t-shirts. Beyond meeting the rigorous social and environmental Fair Trade Certified factory audit standards, this factory’s leadership is all in when it comes to supporting worker-led initiatives.
Cotopaxi proudly participates in the facility’s Fair Trade program by giving an additional 1% of our ordering costs back to workers. Currently, workers use the additional funds from the Fair Trade program to finance a free breakfast program, education grants, and periodic, onsite medical clinics. Beyond factory programs, Cotopaxi uses organic cotton instead of conventional, which is far better for the environment and for the health of our product makers.
La Paz, Bolivia
All of our llama products are all made in Bolivia at a WRAP-certified factory. We use between 70–100 tons of llama fiber per year and choose to work with llama fiber for several reasons. Because it is a natural fiber that can be colored with natural dyes, llama fiber is a sustainable textile that helps to keep a cultural heritage industry alive in Latin America. Our brand is rooted in Latin American culture, and we are committed to using our supply chain to help the regional economy. We are also committed to using materials unique to that region.
In addition to its status as a WRAP-certified facility, this factory has excellent sustainability and workers’ programs. Progressive programs that are unique to the factory include water systems that reuse 60–70% of the water required to run the mills, microloans and equipment allotments for rural farmer partners, internal and natural dying, and ongoing farmer education and empowerment programming. This factory also practices all-inclusive manufacturing from fiber, to textile, to product.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
With over 45 years of technical design and manufacturing experience, this factory produces all of Cotopaxi’s athleisure products. One of the most well-respected manufacturers in their vertical, the factory is also a leader in terms of community impact and sustainability.
The factory adheres to best practices by restricting hazardous chemicals, sharing a publicly available code of conduct, and going through third-party audits. In addition, the factory goes above and beyond by LEED certifying its buildings, making them one of the greenest operators in the game. They also have long-standing partnerships with local nonprofits, such as Cambodia’s Room to Read, which focuses on literacy and gender equality. The facility has worked with various partners to build many schools and libraries, as well as to sponsor secondary school education for hundreds of girls.
One of the few factories to go through the Higg Index module and score the highest possible—which measures recycling, emissions, water usage, waste, and energy efficiency—this facility is operating beyond compliance and is leading the way in terms of being a truly “smart factory.”
All of our headwear comes from Shanghai and is made in the first Fair Trade Certified™ factory in China. One of the most advanced and largest headwear manufacturers in the world, this partner leverages their position to advocate for the highest standards of corporate social responsibility.
Additionally, the facility’s lean manufacturing practices allow them to produce high quality products with minimal environmental impact. Leadership actively accounts for the factory’s carbon footprint by using energy efficient machines, going paperless, and contributing to local conservation efforts. The factory’s leaders are also committed to workers’ rights protection, health and safety, career growth programs, democratic management through a sanctioned, trade union committee, and additional vocational training.
On top of the facility’s internal practices and programming, its leadership provides charitable support within its communities of operation, such as support for the elderly and disabled. We’re honored to partner with such a beneficent and forward-thinking supplier, and look forward to combining efforts around “Doing Good.”
Located in northeastern China, this factory is one of Cotopaxi’s principal suppliers. An independently owned factory that champions progressive and thoughtful leadership, it produces our jackets and insulation pieces. Beyond developing excellent product using responsibly sourced down (RDS certified), the factory’s owner, George Huan, prioritizes the well-being of his workers through a variety of offerings that are not found among most competitors.
One of the many reasons we’re honored to partner with George and his team stems from their commitment to addressing the needs of their employees. For example, most factory workers face the hardship of needing to reside near their work at the expense of living with their families. George chose to resolve this issue by providing transportation for all workers to and from the factory. In addition to this internal program, Cotopaxi was also able to work with factory employees to provide an on-site, organic garden to supplement their lunches with additional healthy produce.
The factory’s leadership stand ready and willing to consistently improve the facility’s sustainability and efficiency, which they demonstrated by agreeing to a rigorous third-party audit supported by Cotopaxi that measured the factory against the industry’s highest standard. With the help of Cotopaxi, this factory is now working to make the necessary improvements to meet this highest standard of operation within the next few years.