The welfare of the animals that provide the raw materials for the clothing and textile industry is now an important factor for many manufacturers and consumers. When it comes to the down and feathers that are used in products, clients and consumers want assurances that the animals have not suffered in the process of providing the materials used in their products.
This change has led to the development of the internationally recognized and promoted Responsible Down Standard. Due to the work of Textile Exchange in conjunction with industry leaders, animal welfare experts, animal conservation specialists and other stakeholders, moral and ethical considerations are now critical in the collection and processing of down and feathers.
What is the Responsible Down Standard?
The Responsible Down Standard is meant to encompass any fowl that provide the down and feathers that make their way into the supply chain to be used for consumer and industry products. It is designed to impact the industry in a way that will ensure that the geese and ducks are treated humanely and not subjected to unnecessary harm.
The development of rigorous animal welfare practices that protect animals, as well as the transparency and traceability of any raw materials that come from these animals, is the stated goal of the implementation of the RDS.
Critical Features of the RDS
To incentivize the industry and affect change, the Responsible Down Standard specific criteria are critical in making it a valuable and effective certification.
- The 5 Freedoms
These refer to the 5 freedoms that must be afforded to animals to be considered humane. Animals need to be provided with adequate food, lighting, space, air quality and water to guarantee these freedoms.
- No Live Plucking
Material from animals that are subjected to live plucking cannot qualify for the RDS.
- No Force Feeding
Materials from animals that are force-fed cannot qualify for the RDS certification.
- Third-Party Certification
The Responsible Down Standard is only certified through the rigorous processes applied by approved third-party certification groups.
- Transparent and Traceable Chain of Custody
Every step of the process, including the birth and life of the fowl, to the material collection, processing and the end-stage products, need to be certified and there must be a traceable and transparent chain of custody paperwork.
What are the Benefits of the Responsible Down Standard?
As an RDS certified vendor, manufacturer or associated partner, you are provided with a certification that assures your clients and consumers that you are committed to the ethical treatment of animals. You are also committed to a cruelty-free supply chain, which signals that you are backing up your claims with concrete actions that are making a difference in the lives of the animals in the production chain.
How is the RDS Certified?
The certification of the Responsible Down Standard is done by only approved and accredited third parties. All aspects of the supply chain are inspected for compliance, including the breeding and slaughtering of birds, the feather collection and processing procedures and the production of garments and textiles. Farmers, suppliers, brands and retailers are all subject to these inspections.