Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit focused on sustainability in the apparel and textile sector, released the latest version of its Responsible Down Standard (RDS). With RDS 2.0, parallel production is banned all the way to the slaughterhouse and only products that are 100 percent certified down can be marked with the RDS label.
Encouraging best practices in animal welfare and enabling traceability throughout the supply chain are key goals of the third-party certification standard, which can be used for any waterfowl-based supply chain.
A group of brands, including The North Face, Adidas and Coyuchi, animal welfare groups like FOUR PAWS, and supply chain members comprising the International Working Group (IWG) have been working over the last year to revise the original RDS standard launched in January 2014.
The North Face worked with Textile Exchange and Control Union Certifications in 2012 to design and implement the standard in primary sourcing regions in Europe, Asia and the U.S., with help from leading suppliers Allied Feather & Down and Downlite to analyze and certify each step of the down supply chain.
“We welcome the efforts made through the RDS to achieve higher animal welfare safeguards and full supply chain traceability within the down industry,” said Nina Jamal, International Farm Animals Campaigner at FOUR PAWS.
In addition to the new rule on parallel production, which says that certified and non-certified waterfowl can’t be carried at the same location, the standard’s primary mandate prevents practices like force-feeding and live-plucking and has strict approvals in place for food and water quality, animal health and pest and predator control.
“The RDS has been successful in driving transparency and adoption of traceability across the down supply chain. Our hope is for the standard to continue evolving in order to provide the highest possible guarantees that live-plucking and force-feeding are fully excluded from the down supply chain,” Jamal said.