With a vision to save the environment and make positive change any and every which way possible, Patagonia has both developed and implemented several sustainability programs to reduce negative impacts on the environment. One that sits particularly close to the brands heart is the Traceable Down Standard.
Welcome back to Planet Positive, a series showcasing brands that produce ethical and eco-friendly products.
So what exactly is down and how does it impact the world as we know it? Put simply, down is the layer of fine feathers on a bird underneath the outer layer that is commonly used as a thermal good. That means in clothing, pillows, sleeping bags and many more every day products. Though an important use for society, past procedures have proved to be been negative, unacceptable and cruel, aspects the brand have successfully changed through the implementation of this strategic journey.
But what is the standard about and what does it all mean? Let’s rewind to 2007 when the brand first introduced this new practice out of interest for animal welfare. With the environmental impacts surrounding the materials the company (and the fashion industry as a whole) use front of mind, it soon became apparent the poultry industry and the issue regarding the unsustainable sourcing of down came to light.
Fast forward to 2017 and Patagonia's procedures have made massive impacts when it comes to the journey each feather takes behind closed doors of a products development. Now a world first to be certified to both the Responsible Wool Standard and the Traceable Down Standard, down is traced from parent farm to apparel factory to help ensure that the birds that supply it are protected by the strongest animal welfare and consumer assurance standards. Products made from the feathers of birds that were not live plucked, and not force fed – just as it should be!
In 2018, the brand went one step further, officially becoming certified to the Global Traceable Down Standard (Global TDS) Advanced certification level by NSF International, an independent, well recognised organisation helping protect the worlds food, water and consumer products.
So, what forms the basis of this strategy and how does the brand ensure each important requirement is met? Here’s a few key principals Patagonia have put into play to ensure the best for both animal welfare, and for their customers.
1. Down and feather must not be removed from live animals. Animals must not have been live plucked or molt harvested at any stage in the supply chain.
2. Down and feather must not be from animals that are force fed during their life for any reason including the production of foie gras.
3. All levels of the down supply chain must maintain records that prove chain of custody.
4. All new down supply chains must undergo and pass a full traceability internal audit and a thirdparty verification audit prior to incorporating the material within our Traceable Down product line.
5. Suppliers must demonstrate full transparency and commitment to continuous improvement in order to remain a Patagonia Traceable Down supplier.
“From here on, every down cluster in every one of our jackets, sweaters, parkers, shirts and hoodies can be traced back to birds that were never live plucked and never force fed.” – Patagonia.
When it comes to supporting brands striving for the welfare of animals, as well as ensuring the best products for their customers, it's a big yes from SurfStitch! Support Patagonia's Traceable Down Standard and the products that surround it here and be sure to follow the brand's journey as it continues to work towards the sustainable future of tomorrow.