The Cotopaxi Teca Half-Zip Windbreaker is a product I would certainly recommend for customers seeking ethically sourced, sustainable active-wear. Being composed of 100% remnant fabric, this product diverts petroleum-based materials from the landfill. While improvements can be made in the transparency of the production and distribution processes of this product, the company’s B Corporation certification ensures ethical standards of production and operations.
Cotopaxi’s Teca Half-Zip Windbreaker is made of Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treated polyester fabric. Polyester is a synthetic fabric typically derived from petroleum meaning that it has notably negative environmental impact in its production and disposal. Furthermore, DWR treatments are typically fluorocarbon-based and therefore have toxic byproducts that are incredibly persistent in the environment. This may seem daunting, but in the case of this product, Cotopaxi has maximized their performance while minimizing their impact. The material used to make this windbreaker is 100% remnant fabric from other companies’ production runs. Cotopaxi repurposes material that would have otherwise been bound for the landfill.
Cotopaxi provides details on the product page about the exact factory that the product is manufactured in; in this case, a factory in Tianjin, China. This factory is described as “forward-thinking” as worker well-being is prioritized along efficiency and sustainability. More information about the factory can be found at the link below. Although Cotopaxi clearly details how the product is ethically produced, it lacks transparency in the actual production process other than saying that the factory is “ready and willing to consistently improve the facility’s sustainability”. Furthermore, as the factory is located in China, there are likely significant carbon emissions associated with product distribution. I would like to see Cotopaxi provide more information on the production process for this windbreaker and exactly how this factory is sustainable.
Cotopaxi is a certified B Corporation meaning the company has passed rigorous standards of ethical conduct. The company allocated 1% of annual revenues to the Cotopaxi Foundation which awards grants to nonprofit partners that aim to alleviate poverty and improve the human condition. The company has awarded 46 grants in 6 countries to date. Cotopaxi’s creed, Do Good, means that the company strives for positive impact from sustainable product design, to charitable efforts, to company culture.