Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit dedicated to sustainability in the apparel and textile industry, said Tuesday that H&M, Eddie Bauer, The North Face, Marmot, Helly Hansen and Outdoor Research were among a group of international fashion, outdoor and bedding brands to adopt its Responsible Down Standard.
TE’s standard is a third-party certification platform that can be applied to any waterfowl-based supply chain to help ensure humane treatment of animals from gosling to end product. The goal of the RDS is to enable traceability and change the down industry supply chain as a whole.
Brands have committed to introducing certified down into their products beginning as soon as fall 2015. Brands such as The North Face have committed to 100 percent certified and responsibly sourced down across all product lines by 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Due to the attention given by animal welfare groups to issues such as live-plucking and force-feeding, in late 2012 The North Face combined forces with Textile Exchange and Control Union Certifications, an accredited third-party certification body, to design and implement the RDS across primary sourcing regions in Europe and Asia, and in U.S. processing sites. This included working closely with leading suppliers Allied Feather & Down and Downlite to analyze and certify every step of the down supply chain.
Upon completion of the standard, The North Face gifted it to Textile Exchange to administer and evolve the standard as needed, with the hope of engaging more brands and down suppliers to begin to implement the RDS. In addition to governing the standard, TE is also evolving it through a stakeholder feedback process that includes input from multiple brands and nongovernmental organizations such as Outdoor European Group, Outdoor Industry Association and Four Paws.
“I’m proud of the effort that went into the development of the RDS,” said Anne Gillespie, director of industry integrity at Textile Exchange. “We did extensive research, including visiting the sourcing regions in remote areas of Europe and Asia, to fully understand the conditions we had to address and worked with a diverse set of stakeholders that gave us a broad perspective of the issues. As more brands adopt the RDS, it will bring improved animal welfare conditions and better traceability in the down supply chain at a much larger scale than any one organization or one supply chain could accomplish alone.”
Adam Mott, director of sustainability at The North Face, said, “When we set out to develop the RDS, we knew that in order to truly succeed we had to create something that was global, open and adaptable. Today we are seeing the realization of this vision and yet it is only the beginning. We welcome other brands to join us in our commitment to sourcing more responsible down.”