Sustainability

2019-07-11

Launch of the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), Version 3.0

Textile Exchange announces the release of the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), version 3.0. This signifies the first substantial revision since the 2014 launch of the standard, that presently covers more than 500 million birds.

The revision period was launched in 2017 and covered every element of the standard. Key changes to the Responsible Down Standard, include:

  • Euthanasia of sick or injured birds, in order to prevent suffering, is now mandatory on the farm.
  • Stunning before slaughter is now mandatory at the slaughter site.
  • Stronger criteria related to handling, record keeping, and training of workers.
  • Observation of parent farms in industrial goose supply chains are now required, where the highest risk of live-plucking occurs.
  • All minor requirements are now mandatory (previously only 50% were required).
  • Restructuring of the document to provide clearer guidance for farms, suppliers, brands, and certification bodies.

La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director for Textile Exchange, said “We are extremely proud of the work conducted by the RDS International Working Group for the revision of the Responsible Down Standard. These are significant changes that will create a much stronger standard and will require equally strong commitment and training from farms and suppliers. We know these changes will be worth it as they continue to safeguard the welfare of geese and ducks that provide down and feathers for the products we all love.”

The standard aligns with Textile Exchange’s Animal Welfare Framework, that has also guided our work on other animal welfare standards, including the Responsible Wool Standard (undergoing revision this year) and the development of the Responsible Mohair Standard (in progress).

Around 60 brands and retailers have publicly committed to the Responsible Down Standard, and are visible on our website: http://responsibledown.org/find-responsible-down-standard/. In addition to the committed brands, there are over 450 companies certified to the RDS currently and in 2017, over 500 million birds were raised on RDS certified farms.

Members of the International Working Group include:

  • Adidas
  • Allied Feather and Down
  • Coyuchi
  • European Outdoor Group
  • ICEA
  • IDFL
  • Multiglory Home Textiles
  • NSF International
  • Patagonia
  • Rohdex
  • Shanghai Donglong Feather Manufacturer Co
  • Sustainable Down Source
  • The North Face
  • Trendsetter UK

The North Face co-developed the standard in 2014 and has been a strong supporter ever since. Carol Shu, Sustainability Manager for The North Face said, “As a proud partner of Textile Exchange and supporter of the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), we are excited that the RDS is continuing to evolve and is being strengthened further with its 3.0 release. 100 percent of The North Face’s virgin down for all product lines is already certified and responsibly sourced, and with this new release we will now also be able to support additional important animal welfare advancements.”

The compliance date of the RDS 3.0 is July 1, 2020. After this date, sites will no longer be audited and certified to RDS 2.0. Your certification body may be able to provide RDS 3.0 earlier, contact your Certification Body to inquire. As of the date of this release, Responsible Down Standard approved Certification Bodies include Control Union, ICEA, IDFL, and NSF International.

Industry Impact from the Responsible Down Standard:

To learn about the Responsible Down Standard 3.0, join us for a webinar on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 7a.m. US Pacific/9a.m. US Central/3p.m. GMT where the newly revised standard will be introduced and where your questions will be answered. Register here.

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