Gear For Good

Who They Are

The founder of Cotopaxi, Davis Smith, grew up in Latin America and has always had a passion for the outdoors. During his childhood, he spent a lot of time in Cotopaxi National Park. Cotopaxi (kōtōpä´ksē) is an active stratovolcano in Ecuador, and is a sacred symbol for Andean indigenous communities. During his time in the park, Davis saw both the strong, hard working culture of Latin America, as well as much of the hardships and poverty that’s common in the region. After starting many successful e-commerce companies and living in Brazil for some time, Davis decided that he wanted to start a company that upholds his values and fights the poverty he’s witnessed firsthand. Thus, Cotopaxi was born.

Cotopaxi’s creed is simply “do good,” and they make sure to uphold this creed throughout every aspect of their business. Their backpacks, dopp kits, duffel bags, and other outdoor gear is made sustainably using recycled remnant materials which provide work to disadvantaged communities in countries such as the Philippines, India, Bolivia, Cambodia, and China. But Cotopaxi's “doing good” goes much further than just their production process! They are a B-Corp certified business, furthering their dedication to social and environmental prosperity. Additionally, through their cotopaxi foundation, 1% of all annual revenue goes toward providing targeted grants to non-profit organizations helping to fight poverty. To date they have awarded 42 grants to organizations in 6 different countries.

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Why We Like Them

Cotopaxi is designed to promote equality and help those in need just as much as it is designed to make great gear. Their unique, high quality backpacks and other outdoor gear in the Del Día line are all made exclusively from repurposed and upcycled materials including the fabric, buckles, thread, and zippers. To achieve this, Cotopaxi receives scraps from 6 of the best factories around the world. Then, in a Bataan, Philippines factory, the Del Día collection is made. In this factory, Cotopaxi receives all of the unused materials from other brands and repurposes it into their most-loved designs. 

Each of their factories is subject to a rigorous code of conduct and must complete strict audits or relevant certifications to ensure both quality and equality. The factory in Bataan has completed the Higg index facility module, meaning they’ve committed to socially and environmentally responsible practices. Cotopaxi is committed to corporate responsibility in all aspects of their business, becoming B-corp certified in 2015 and joining a growing network of businesses who have dedicated their operations towards improving social and environmental welfare. To top it off, Cotopaxi ranks in the top 10% of B Corporations in the “Best for the Community” and the “Best for Governance” categories! They’re also Climate Neutral Certified, meaning they’ve undergone an extensive process of measuring and offsetting their overall footprint to achieve net-zero (or better) carbon emissions!

Along with having a sustainable and ethical production process, Cotopaxi started its very own foundation that uses 1% of the company’s annual revenue to provide grant money to impactful nonprofit organizations all over the world which address poverty and aim to improve the human condition. Some of the nonprofits that have received Cotopaxi’s grants include the International Rescue Committee, the UN’s Nothing but Nets, Mercy Corps, and more! So far, Cotopaxi has proudly awarded 42 grants in 6 different countries. In 2019 alone, Cotopaxi’s contributions resulted in: Donating $300,000 to alleviating poverty, distributing 5,000+ malaria-preventing bed nets in Latin America, helping 500–700 indigenous youths in Latin America complete primary education, providing literacy education to 80+ refugee families, distributing 200 emergency kits to refugee families as the US/Mexico border, and offered over 1,300 of employee volunteer time. 

  • EarthHero - Climate Neutral
    Climate Neutral
  • B Corp
    B Corp
  • Charitable
  • Safe & Fair Labor
    Safe and Fair Labor
  • Recycled PET Fabric
    Recycled PET Fabric
  • Recycled Cotton
    Recycled Cotton
  • Organic Cotton
    Organic Cotton
  • Upcycled Content
    Upcycled Content

Brands that are Climate Neutral Certified have achieved net-zero carbon emissions while maintaining production and delivery of their products and services over the course of a year. Through Climate Neutral, brands undergo a process to measure, offset, and ultimately reduce their carbon emissions — representing their continued commitment to our planet’s well-being.

The B Lab is a third-party, non-profit organization that certifies companies as socially and environmentally responsible. B Corps are businesses that go above and beyond traditional business models and aim to create positive change in the world through their practices. These companies must meet rigorous transparency and accountablity standards, while doing what is best for people and the environment.

This company donates a portion of their time or profits to charitable efforts in their community or abroad.

We support safe and fair labor practices when producing sustainable products. This company cares for their workers by fostering a safe work environment and providing their employees with fair wage.

Recycled PET utilizes salvaged post-industrial PET scraps and post-consumer products such as water bottles and other plastic containers. These plastics are dried, crushed, and spun into yarn in order to create recycled PET fabric, or polyester. By providing a use for recycled plastics, companies encourage recycling programs worldwide, while adding new value to discarded items. Currently, over half of virgin PET production goes towards making textiles, so by utilizing recycled PET, post-consumer materials are both diverting waste while taking the place of raw materials. This helps to reduce the demand for the extraction of oil, as well as energy used to produce new synthetic fibers.

Recycled cotton is created by salvaging post-industrial and post-consumer cotton scraps. The scraps are cleaned, sorted, stripped down, and separated into fibers before being respun into new yarn. This yarn can be utilized to make new textiles, while avoiding the energy and resources required to produce virgin fibers. Plus, it extends the valuable life cycle of the material instead of sending it to the landfill.

Organic cotton production uses zero chemical pesticides and fertilizers, promoting a healthier use of land and decreasing harmful agricultural runoff. By steering clear of toxic chemicals, workers experience less exposure to hazardous conditions, promoting social responsibility as well as environmental stewardship. Plus, farming methods for organic cotton have been shown to use up to 20% less water than nonorganic production methods. Choosing organic cotton eliminates the use of insecticides and other harmful chemicals, promotes efficient resource use, and results in a safer products and a cleaner planet!

Upcycling is the process of taking an otherwise-discarded item or material and reusing it as-is (without further production or processing) in a way that creates a new product without compromising the integrity of the reused material. No energy or resources are needed to break the material down into its core form, so upcycling is a very effecient way to give old products new life. For example, a bag made from upcycled bicycle tire tubes would use the material as is, instead of melting and processing the rubber to form a new material. This product contains materials that are made from upcycled content.

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