Downlite, a U.S.-based down and feather processor and supplier of responsibly-sourced performance fills, announced Tuesday that it’s the first company to be certified to the Global Traceable Down Standard (TDS).
The certification, launched a year ago by NSF International, is said to be the strongest public animal welfare standard available to companies using duck or goose down in their products.
As a key supplier to outdoor apparel brand Patagonia, which last year said that it would require its down partners to be fully certified to the Global TDS, Downlite said it responded quickly to ensure its fills are fully traceable throughout its supply chain.
Cara Chacon, senior director for social and environmental responsibility at Patagonia, commended the company, stating, “We applaud Downlite’s strong efforts to improve the lives of geese and ducks in the meat industry.”
“The Global Traceable Down Standard is extremely comprehensive and Downlite stands behind it as we believe in the work we did to become certified,” Chad Altbaier, vice president of sales and business development at Downlite, said in a press release. “Downlite understands our role as influencers to our supply chains to instill the behaviors we need to provide more responsibly-sourced down.”
He added, “This is a course of action and not just a single certification event. Through this Global Traceable Down Standard certification process, we have improved animal welfare practices throughout our global supply chain.”
On-site audits to confirm full traceability of down from parent farm to final product manufacture and to verify the ethical treatment of birds throughout their lifecycle are examples of the “rigorous” steps involved in the Global TDS certification process. These audits ensure compliant down and feather material is fully documented as the only material used in finished goods and that all organizations handling the down are also audited to verify they have good management systems to keep the sustainably-sourced down segregated from conventionally-sourced down.
“Downlite worked closely with its supply chain to integrate the standard and report on its accomplishments,” Jenny Oorbeck, general manager for NSF Sustainability, explained. “Certification to NSF International’s Global Traceable Down Standard shows the commitment Downlite has made to animal welfare and traceability to provide its customers, and eventually consumers, the most responsibly-sourced down products on the market.”
The Global TDS was developed in partnership with industry stakeholders spanning down processors, manufacturers and retailers to animal welfare groups, trade associations and other non-governmental organizations. For more information, visit nsf.org.