Canada Goose is losing the fur trim.
The parka-maker, which has seen explosive growth and pioneered the luxury outerwear category, committed to stop using fur in its products, a move driven by the company’s purpose-based platform, dubbed Humanature.
Canada Goose said it would stop purchasing fur by the end of this year and cease manufacturing with fur no later than the end of 2022.
“The decision is driven by our purpose and our focus on sustainability and innovation,” Dani Reiss, president and chief executive officer, told WWD in an interview. “We know that consumers are putting more importance on brands and their sustainability.
“Sustainability is a huge thing and that comes through in our Humanature platform,” he said. “Personally, I believe that companies that don’t evolve and aren’t good for the world won’t be here in 20 years. It’s incumbent on businesses to be the catalyst for that change. This is the right time for us to make this sort of transformative transition for the long term.”
Reiss has taken the company founded by his grandfather and turned it into a global, Made in Canada phenomenon that expects to drive sales of more than 1 billion Canadian dollars this year and is expanding in new markets, particularly China, and through retail and e-commerce.
And Canada Goose is still evolving.
“I’ve been working here for 25 years; I’m proud of everything that we’ve done and how far that we’ve come with our products,” Reiss said. “I wouldn’t have done anything differently. At this point in time, this is the right thing to do [to stop using fur].
Canada Goose worked with Humane Canada, a federation of humane societies, on the effort. The brand had been under pressure from anti-fur groups for some time to stop using the material, and in April 2020 said it would stop using new fur, and would only use reclaimed fur. While anti-fur groups applauded the move, some at the time criticized the company for not going far enough and banning fur entirely. But it is now.
“This is a significant step forward toward building a more humane and sustainable world,” said Barbara Cartwright, CEO of Humane Canada. “We applaud Canada Goose’s commitment to end the use of all fur by late 2022 and the leadership position they are taking in their industry.”
Reiss has always had an expansive take on his mission — one that always links back to making high-quality winter gear.
“At the end of the day it’s my job, our job to make the world’s best products, the world’s warmest jackets and I know we can do that without fur,” Reiss said.
In 2019, the brand’s innovation lab launched a program that let customers choose their own brims, including thermal, reflective thermal, lightweight thermal and fur ruff. Reiss said the program was “quite successful” last year and that that was part of the brand’s efforts to give shoppers more options.
“We’re always listening to our customers and we always will,” Reiss said.
Canada Goose committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2025 and this year launched the Standard Expedition Parka, its most sustainable parka to date, as well as a new category of lightweight down jackets, the Cypress and Crofton. The Standard Parka produces 30 percent less carbon and requires 65 percent less water compared with the brand’s in-line Expedition Parka.
The company’s move away from fur stirred up groups on both sides of the issue.
Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said: “PETA and its affiliates are suspending their international campaigns against Canada Goose today, after years of eye-catching protests, hard-hitting exposés, celebrity actions and legal battles, as the company has finally conceded and will stop using fur — sparing sensitive, intelligent, coyotes from being caught and killed in barbaric steel traps. PETA will now reengage the company to push for an end to its use of feathers, which geese and ducks continue to suffer for.”
On the other side of the divide, Mike Brown, head of sustainability for the Natural Fibers Alliance, said: “Canada Goose’s announcement comes after years of smears and harassment, including targeting the company’s CEO at his own home….Decreasing the use of natural materials is not progressive given that synthetic fashion is one of the leading global polluters of our oceans. Canada Goose will now face renewed attacks for using sustainably sourced down and wool. We hope Canada Goose reconsiders this unwise policy that it appears it was bullied into making.”
Fashion has become increasingly attuned to issues of sustainability and has been moving away from fur.
On Wednesday, the company’s Toronto neighbor Holt Renfrew disclosed a “360-degree commitment” to sustainability that included reducing emissions and waste, sourcing ecologically safe products and stopping the sale of fur and exotic skins.
MORE FROM WWD:
Saks Off 5th Splits E-commerce and Retail
PVH Selling Heritage Business to Authentic Brands Group
Brendan Hoffman Set to Become Wolverine CEO