The sustainability of computer bag companies probably hasn’t been one of the eco-movement’s largest worries, but it is great to see some companies giving it a shot. Brenthaven is a popular computer bag company, especially among Apple owners. The company’s new slogan is “zero impact,” a philosophy that centers around the protection of your computer, your health, and the environment.
Sure, Brenthaven bags will protect your computer in a fall and are good for your back, but how is Brenthaven helping the environment? The company has committed to a number of green projects including the reduction of packing, the conducting of a carbon audit of the company, the printing of marketing materials on recycled paper with soy-based inks, and the investment of 5% of profits into “green projects.” All purchases with Brenthaven are offset by carbon credits purchased from terrapass.com. Brenthaven was founded on wilderness packs used in outdoor activity and supports many environmental organization such as Leave No Trace.
But what about the actual bags?
Unfortunately, Brenthaven has done little to re-think the manufacturing process of their product line. The consumer is left out of the loop as to what the bag contains. The bags do not feature environmentally important materials like organic cotton or water-based glues and the company still has little concern for the end-life of the product. An independent cradle to cradle certification from MBDC would have gone a long way for Brenthaven. MBDC has worked with a diverse set of companies such as Nike, Ford, and SC Johnson proving they can provide sustainable solutions for a variety of products. Combined with the fact that the Brenthaven site banner features a computer bag on a grassy plain and a new logo with three circling arrows √† la the international recycling emblem, you start to wonder if this is all marketing greenwash.
There are bag companies doing a lot more within the product line. Check out the Targus “eco-smart” bags for example. The company is already selling the recyclable, PVC-free Grove line and is shipping the Radius line made from recycled materials in Q3 2008. The Grove Messenger Bag was even reviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America garnering the company national attention for its focus on materials.
While Brenthaven is making a worthwhile effort, the company will need to start focusing on the materials in their product line to convince consumers the company is doing the best it can.