Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit dedicated to sustainability in the apparel and textile industry, announced today that leading fashion, footwear and outdoor brands, including H&M and Eddie Bauer, will join The North Face in adopting the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) – a third-party certified animal welfare and traceability standard that upholds the ethical treatment of animals along the down and feather supply chain. The North Face initially worked with Textile Exchange and Control Union Certification, an accredited third-party certification body, to design version 1.0 of the standard, which was launched earlier this year.
Upon completion of the RDS in January 2014, The North Face gifted the standard to Textile Exchange to administer and evolve it as needed, as well as work with more brands and down suppliers to implement the standard. As part of this effort, Textile Exchange is evolving the standard through a stakeholder feedback process that includes input from brands and NGOs such as Adidas, Outdoor European Group, Outdoor Industry Association, and Four Paws.
“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,” said Anne Gillespie, Director of Industry Integrity of Textile Exchange.
The RDS provides the most comprehensive, global, third-party certified animal welfare and traceability standard for down and feathers – and is available for use by any company. Additionally, the RDS goes beyond preventing practices such as force-feeding and live-plucking to also provide requirements for food and water quality, animal health and hygiene, and pest and predator control for down suppliers.
“We couldn’t be more excited to see the adoption of the RDS across the outdoor industry as well as fashion, apparel and athletic brands such as Eddie Bauer and H&M. These brands are helping lead the charge to transform the down supply chain in an entirely new way,” said Adam Mott, Director of Sustainability at The North Face. “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.”
Nayelli is the Founder & CEO of Creators Circle, a nonprofit working to close opportunity gaps for future generations of impact changemakers. A trained journalist with an MBA, she also keeps the pulse on sustainable business and social impact trends and has covered these topics for a variety of publications over the past decade. She’s a systems thinker who loves to learn, share knowledge and help others connect the dots. Follow her on Twitter @NayelliGonzalez.