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Brands commit to more responsible down

Textile Exchange announced that H&M, Eddie Bauer, The North Face, Marmot, Mammut, Helly Hansen, Outdoor Research, DownLinens, Down & Feather Co. and other leading international fashion, bedding and outdoor brands have adopted the Responsible Down Standard (RDS).

RDS is a third-party certification standard 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 Responsible Down Standard is to enable traceability and change the down industry as a whole, not just one brand’s supply chain. Certain brands have committed to introducing certified down into their products beginning as soon as Fall 2015, and The North Face, in particular, has committed to 100% certified and responsibly sourced down across all product lines by 2017.

Down comes from geese and ducks that are grown primarily for the food industry, remains one of the highest-quality, best performing materials for use in apparel, bedding and home goods. Due to the attention given by animal welfare groups to issues such as live-plucking and force-feeding, The North Face combined forces with Textile Exchange and Control Union Certifications to design and implement the RDS across primary sourcing regions in Europe and Asia, and in U.S. processing sites.

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.

Anne Gillespie the director of industry integrity, Textile Exchange said: “I am proud of the effort that went into the development of the RDS. 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. 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.”

The primary mandate of the RDS is to prevent practices such as force-feeding and live-plucking as well as provide strict approvals on issues such as food and water quality, housing, stock density and outdoor access, animal health, hygiene and pest and predator control, among others.

For further information on the RDS visit here.

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