We are committed to improving animal welfare and traceability in our goose down and feather supply chain. We use down in our outerwear, sleeping bags, footwear, and accessories because of its superior insulating properties and warmth-to-weight ratio. In 2014 we launched the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) in partnership with Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit dedicated to sustainability in the apparel and textile industry, and Control Union Certifications, an accredited third-party certification body with expertise in agriculture and farm systems. The RDS ensures that our down does not come from animals that have been subjected to any unnecessary harm, such as force-feeding or live-plucking, provides traceability in our supply chain, and helps validate and track the down used in our products from farm to finished garment. We started using RDS-certified down in our products in Fall 2015 and since Fall 2016 we have only purchased RDS-certified down. All of our virgin down products are certified to the RDS.
The RDS has gained great momentum and adoption across the supply chain. In 2019, more than 6,000 farms across the world were certified to the RDS, covering an estimated 735 million birds at the farm level. More than 50 brands have started using RDS-certified down in their own products.
In 2019, we also launched a line of recycled down. All of our recycled down has been sorted for quality and cleaned just like our RDS-certified down.
The North Face Down Supply Chain
Each step of our down supply chain before our products reach our customers is audited and certified to the Responsible Down Standard. Additionally, each time ownership of the ducks and geese or down material changes hands, a transaction certificate, or document from our certification organization verifying conformity to the RDS is issued.