This month, the globally-recognized, independent certification organization release NSF International released the Global Traceable Down Standard (NSF's press release is below and linked here).
Some background and a quote from Patagonia COO Doug Freeman are also below.
We also wanted to flag a graphic recently by Four Paws outlining their assessment of various companies’ efforts to eliminate animal welfare in their down supply chain. It’s worth a look here.
In 2013, after years of transparent efforts to develop the highest standard for animal welfare in the business, Patagonia published our own 100% Traceable Down Standard to provide a road map for other brands to meet the same high bar we’ve achieved and prevent needless animal suffering. We are the only company to have fully implemented this rigorous standards – all Patagonia down products now contain only 100% Traceable Down, meaning all of the down in all of our products can be traced back to birds that were never force–fed, never live–plucked – and we don’t allow blended down, period.
Since then, as you probably know, we’ve worked with NSF International, a globally recognized standards and certification organization, to elevate the standard to a full, independent certification and develop a multi-tiered approach. That means companies of all kinds will have the option of joining Patagonia at the highest level of certification, or finding an achievable but rigorous entry point to gain a foothold as they work toward it.
Quote from Patagonia Chief Operating Officer Doug Freeman:
"One of the most encouraging things about Patagonia's work since 2007 to develop and implement the Traceable Down Standard has been the response from companies of all kinds setting out to determine what path they will take to build a cruelty-free down supply chain. At this moment, we've reached a critical tipping point for our industry – these decisions are literally happening now.
"Now that Patagonia has achieved the tough standard of 100 percent traceable down and started raising awareness among consumers about the realities of conventionally sourced down, we want to encourage all other companies to settle for nothing less in their own supply chains. That’s why we partnered with the international certification body NSF to create the Global Traceable Down Standard, providing a transparent road map for those seeking to meet the highest public bar possible – including audits at the parent farms, where live-plucking is most prevalent, and absolutely no mixing of down. We look forward to working collaboratively to make the industry standard the absolute strongest standard.”
NSF International Press Release:
Standard addresses animal welfare and supply chain traceability from parent farm to factory
Jan. 9, 2015
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In response to growing consumer and industry concern about animal welfare and responsible sourcing of down for apparel and bedding, independent public health organization NSF International developed the new Global Traceable Down Standard, representing the strongest public animal welfare standard available to companies that use duck or goose down in their products. NSF International’s Sustainability division will provide independent third party auditing and certification services for product manufacturers to this standard following publication in January.
Leading outdoor goods manufacturer and retailer Patagonia approached NSF to facilitate a consensus-based process to refine a Patagonia-developed internal standard, with a commitment to expanding animal welfare and 100% traceable down, into a consensus global down standard. Patagonia’s standard, which the company implemented fully for its own supply chain in 2014, now represents the independent Global Traceable Down Standard’s highest tier.
The Global Traceable Down Standard was developed in partnership with stakeholders from industry including down processors, manufacturers, retailers, animal welfare groups, such as Four Paws International, trade associations and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These key groups developed, defined and agreed to criteria for the final standard.
A byproduct of the meat industry, down is sourced through multiple channels and suppliers. Under the Global Traceable Down Standard, onsite audits verify that treatment of waterfowl meets the rigorous requirements of the standard, including no force feeding or live plucking, from parent farm to slaughterhouse. It was particularly important to go beyond existing other programs and extend protection to parent farms where animals typically live for four years or more and would be at greatest risk for live plucking.
Additionally, traceability is confirmed through on-site audits at all locations from parent farm to final manufacture to ensure the compliant down and feather material is fully documented as the only material used in finished, certified goods. All organizations handling the down are audited and verified to have good management systems in place to keep the certified down segregated from conventionally-sourced down.
“The Global Traceable Down Standard moves beyond current industry programs to include the full lifecycle of waterfowl and more fully protect all birds in the supply chain,” said Tom Bruursema, Sustainability General Manager of NSF International. “The importance of full traceability and animal welfare are well defined in the standard and can help drive greater supply chain transparency for the industry.”
All companies that use down are encouraged to adopt the Global Traceable Down Standard to set the highest bar possible for animal welfare. For more information on the Global Traceable Down Standard or on certification through NSF Sustainability, contact Phil Alexandrin at email@example.com. Visit the NSF website to learn more about the Global Traceable Down Standard.
Editor’s note: To schedule an interview with Tom Bruursema, Sustainability General Manager of NSF International, contact Kelly Ingerly at +1 734-827-6850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About NSF International: NSF International is an independent global organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the construction, food, water, health sciences and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment (nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. Operating in more than 155 countries, NSF International is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.
NSF Sustainability draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification, advisory services and quality management systems to help companies create more sustainable products, operations, systems and supply chains. Additional services include GHG verification/validation, product environmental and performance claims verification and green chemistry services. Additional NSF services include Education and Training, safety audits for the food and water industries, nutritional/dietary supplement certification, analytical testing, training and education for health sciences industries, organic certification provided by QAI (Quality Assurance International) and management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations (NSF-ISR). NSF-ISR services include ISO 14001 environmental management systems registration and OHSAS 18001 health and safety management system certification.