Patagonia Traceable Down is verified non-live-plucked and non-force-fed

Patagonia Traceable Down is verified non-live-plucked and non-force-fed

Outdoor clothing company Patagonia Inc is to switch its entire supply chain to 100% traceable down from autumn next year.

The move is thought to be a first for a manufacturer of its size, and comes after the company spent six years developing its Traceable Down standard.

The standard provides a robust assurance of sound animal welfare, and ensures Patagonia only uses down sourced from birds that have been neither force-fed for foie gras production nor plucked for their feathers and down during their lifetime.

The measures to verify that the down is traceable go far beyond written guarantees and supplier self-certification, Patagonia says.

The company authenticates its down supply chain by utilising a holistic traceability audit consisting of a physical inspection of the entire supply chain, from farm to factory, performed by an independent, third-party expert.

"Affidavits from suppliers are commonly accepted with minimal verification. It is also common practice to certify only parts of the supply chain without linking all entities that handle the down," explains Wendy Savage, the company's social and environmental responsibility manager.

"Patagonia's traceability programme is hands-on every step of the way. We begin our audit at the parent farm, where the eggs are laid, and follow it all the way to the garment factory, where the down is placed in our garments. We need to understand every single part of the supply chain - otherwise we can't truly feel comfortable claiming the down as traceable."

Down provides the lightest-weight and most efficient insulation commercially available, and jackets using this insulation are an important part of Patagonia's product offering.

The company has been using Traceable Down since spring 2013 in its Ultralight Down products - and says it hopes to inspire other firms to look closely at their own down supply chains and utilise a similar model for traceability.