ANN ARBOR, MICH.—NSF Sustainability, a division of global public health organization NSF International, has certified Downlite to the Global Traceable Down Standard (Global TDS). Downlite, a major down and feather processor and supplier of responsibly-sourced performance fills to the outdoor, home furnishings and hospitality markets, is the first company certified to the Global Traceable Down Standard. Certification to the standard enables an organization to demonstrate the down it processes is from farms that practice the highest levels of animal welfare and that the down is fully traceable throughout its supply chain.
Downlite is a supplier to outdoor apparel company Patagonia. Based on Patagonia’s commitment to animal welfare in its supply chain, it requires its down suppliers to be fully certified to the Global Traceable Down Standard, from parent farm to factory. As a major supplier to Patagonia, Downlite responded quickly and achieved the first Global Traceable Down Standard certification.
“The Global Traceable Down Standard is extremely comprehensive, and Downlite stands behind it as we believe in the work we did to become certified,” said Chad Altbaier, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Downlite. “Downlite understands our role as influencers to our supply chains to instill the behaviors we need to provide more responsibly sourced down. 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.”
Criteria Includes On-site Audits
The Global TDS is an industry-wide standard for brands and manufacturers that want to source down responsibly. The rigorous criteria include 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 from the parent farm to slaughterhouse.
“It’s impressive to see a major down supplier commit to the Global Traceable Down Standard, the highest level of animal welfare and traceability protection in the world,” said Cara Chacon, Senior Director for Social & Environmental Responsibility at Patagonia. “We applaud Downlite’s strong efforts to improve the lives of geese and ducks in the meat industry.”
NSF’s Global Traceable Down Standard goes beyond other existing programs, which start at the hatchery, and extends animal welfare procedures to parent farms where animals typically live for at least four years and would be at greatest risk for live plucking. No other down standard ensures animal welfare and protection from practices such as live bird plucking to increase down yield or force feeding birds for foie gras production.
All Organizations Handling Down are Audited
Traceability audits ensure compliant down and feather material is fully documented as the only material used in finished goods. 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.
“NSF International is proud that Downlite, an organization with a reputation for stewardship, has earned certification to the Global Traceable Down Standard,” said Jenny Oorbeck, General Manager for NSF Sustainability. “Downlite worked closely with its supply chain to integrate the standard and report on its accomplishments. 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 a consensus-based process in partnership with stakeholders from industry (including down processors such as Downlite), manufacturers, retailers, animal welfare groups (such as Four Paws International), trade associations and other non-governmental organizations. These key groups developed, defined and agreed to the criteria for the final standard.
All companies that use down are encouraged to adopt the Global Traceable Down Standard to set the highest bar possible for animal welfare.