The Global Traceable Down Standard offers full accountability and traceability

The Global Traceable Down Standard offers full accountability and traceability

Three top suppliers to the down outdoor apparel and sporting goods markets have become the first companies to be certified to the Global Traceable Down Standard, in a move that expands the availability of traceable down used in production.

South Korea's Youngone Corporation, Taiwan's Quang Viet Enterprise (QVE) and China's Shen Gang Tungsang (ShenZhen) have all met the standard, which enables them to demonstrate the down they process is from farms that practice the highest levels of animal welfare and that the down is fully traceable throughout its supply chain.

All three companies produce high quality products for many leading brands.

Two of the companies, QVE and Youngone Corporation, are suppliers to outdoor apparel company Patagonia, which requires manufacturers in its supply chain to be fully certified to the Global Traceable Down Standard. Shen Gang Tungsang, is a prominent designer and developer of insulated outdoor products, particularly sleeping bags.

The certification was carried out by NSF Sustainability, a division of global public health organisation NSF International.

"These companies have committed to full traceability in handling certified down and ensuring that products labelled Global TDS contain only certified down," explains Jenny Oorbeck, general manager for NSF Sustainability.

"With certification, these manufacturers are able to offer brands the assurance they need for full accountability and traceability to original down sources."

The industry-wide standard is aimed at brands and manufacturers that want to source down responsibly. The criteria include on-site audits to confirm full traceability of down from parent farm to final manufactured product and to verify the ethical treatment of birds throughout their lifecycle. Its animal welfare procedures are also extended to parent farms where animals typically live for at least four years and would be at greatest risk from live plucking to increase down yield.

Traceability audits ensure compliant down and feather material is fully documented as the only material used in finished goods. All organisations handling the down are also audited to verify they have good management systems to keep the sustainably-sourced down segregated from conventionally-sourced down.

The Global TDS was developed with manufacturers and retailers, animal welfare groups such as Four Paws International, trade associations and other non-governmental organisations.

 "We recognise that our achievement reinforces our relationship with Patagonia and helps strengthen consumer confidence that down products are coming from ethical sources," explains Charles Wu, owner and president, QVE. 

The challenges that continue to persist in the production of of animal welfare/responsible down products were highlighted earlier this week with footage from animal rights group PETA US claiming to show exposed violations at goose farms in China.

Probe exposes violations at goose farms in China