Preferred Down

Back to Learning Center Home

PREFERRED DOWN


ABOUT PREFERRED DOWN


Down is a natural material that has been used an insulation in bedding, clothing, and equipment for many years. It is known for providing a high level of warmth at a very low weight. Because it is a by-product of the meat industry, the environmental impact of down is quite low. With the production of animal-derived materials, the companies involved should be responsible for taking all the steps to ensure the animals are not subject to any unnecessary harm.

Preferred Down is down that comes from supply chains that have strong animal welfare principles in place and has a chain of custody certified to: the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), Traceable Down Standard (TDS), Downpass, as well as organic and recycled third party standards.

ⓘ Use the right and left arrows to navigate through the information


Learn more about Responsible Down:

Follow the development of Responsible Down and access tools and resources to implement the standard.

responsibledown.org


KEY CHALLENGES

LC-pDown-Icons-AnimalWelfare.png
ANIMAL WELFARE
Holistic respect of animal welfare includes protection of the Five Freedoms: freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behavior, and freedom from fear and distress. Practices that may cause distress, injury, or pain to ducks and geese include live-plucking, force-feeding, poor handling, and others.

FORCE FEEDING / LIVE PLUCKING
Force feeding: For geese that are raised for the production of foie gras, a practice was developed to ensure that the liver was especially fatty. Force feeding is exactly what it sounds like: a tube is manually or mechanically forced into the geese’s mouth to force them to eat more than is natural. This practice is very painful and stress-inducing for the animal.
Live plucking: In most cases, birds are slaughtered for their meat before down and feathers are removed as a by-product. Some cases have been observed of the down and feathers being removed from geese while it was still alive, a very painful experience for the animal. Responsible sourcing of down and feathers should include a zero-tolerance policy for live-plucking.

TRACEABILITY
Only a few years ago, many companies did not know and had never asked about where their down and feather materials come from. When campaigns began raising the level of awareness on animal welfare issues, these companies realized they needed better tools to identify material from the source. It is important to have a policy or guidelines in place that allow your company to have verification of practices on the farm and throughout the supply chain.


BEST PRACTICE


First steps to using Responsible Down:

In many cases, you will be able to find a down supplier that has available stock. You can contact them and get product integrated into your supply. If you would prefer to work with your existing supply chain, you will need to work with them to get certified. Each stage of production is required to get certified to ensure that 1) wherever birds are present, their full rights are respected and 2) the identity of RDS down is maintained with every movement of goods. The first step of certification is to contact the certification body to start the process.

Find a RDS supplier Find a RDS certification body


2018 Leaderboard

Responsible Down | Traceable Down | Downpass Certified | Recycled Down


COLLABORATION

JOIN THE RDS INTERNATIONAL WORKING GROUP

The International Working Group is a multi-stakeholder group that is responsible for revising the current version of the standard. This group is comprised of any interested parties, including down suppliers, producers, brands and retailers, animal welfare groups and others. Participation is open to anyone, pending agreement to the RDS IWG Charter.

TAKE ACTION – JOIN THE WORKING GROUP

Learn more here or send an email to ResponsibleDown@TextileExchange.org.



JOIN THE DOWN STAKEHOLDER ROUND TABLE

A number of years ago, the textile industry’s interest in down was accelerated by animal welfare campaigners raising awareness of live plucking of ducks and geese for feathers and down. As a result, a number of standards were developed, including Textile Exchange’s Responsible Down Standard (RDS), the Traceable Down Standard (TDS), and Downpass. While the topic was concerning, it brought members of the industry together to better understand the risks, improve transparency, and generally mobilize to improve welfare standards and protect their reputation from this supply chain risk.

The Down Stakeholder Round Table 1.0 was initiated by the European Outdoor Group (EOG) in 2014. It was transitioned to Textile Exchange in 2018 with a focus on creating 2.0 and paving out next steps for the industry. Find out more about the Down Stakeholder Round Table.

TAKE ACTION – JOIN THE ROUND TABLE

For more information, don’t hesitate to contact the team at: Materials@textileexchange.org.