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NSF Develops New Traceable Down Standard

Standard setting organization NSF International has developed a new Global Traceable Down Standard in response to growing consumer and industry concern about responsible down sourcing for apparel and bedding.

The standard, which NSF said represents the strongest public animal welfare standard available to companies using duck or goose down in their products was developed in partnership with industry stakeholders including down processors, manufacturers, retailers, animal welfare groups like Four Paws International, trade associations and other NGOs.

Outdoor retailer Patagonia sought NSF out to help refine its own internal standard into a consensus global down standard, and now the brand’s standard, which was fully implemented into its supply chain last year, represents the independent Global Traceable Down Standard’s highest tier.

“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,” Tom Bruursema, NSF International sustainability general manager said. “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.”

Under the new standard, onsite audits verify that waterfowl treatments meets requirements like no force-feeding or live plucking from farm to slaughterhouse. NSF said extended the audits to parent farms where animals typically reside for years was particularly important as that is where the animals would be most at risk for live plucking.

On-site audits at all stages along the down supply chain ensure the compliant down is fully documented as the only material used in the finished, certified goods, allowing for increased traceability. All organizations that come in contact with the down are vetted and proven to have good management systems in place to keep the certified down separate from conventionally-sourced down.

NSF said its sustainability division will provide independent third party auditing and certification services for product manufacturers to this standard following the January publication.