Patagonia Traceable Down is sourced from birds that have been neither force-fed for foie gras production nor plucked for their feathers and down during their lifetime. Six years in the making, Patagonia's Traceable Down standard provides a robust assurance of sound animal welfare.
The measures taken by Patagonia to verify that the down is traceable go far beyond written guarantees and supplier self-certification. The company authenticates its down supply chain by utilizing a holistic traceability audit consisting of a physical inspection of the entire supply chain, from farm to factory, performed by an independent, third-party traceability 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," says Wendy Savage, social and environmental responsibility manager for Patagonia.
"Patagonia's traceability program 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. As a result, down-insulated jackets remain an important staple in Patagonia's product offering. Due to this importance, as with every product Patagonia sells, the company feels a deep sense of responsibility to understand the entire supply chain.
As in the past with organic cotton and recycled polyester, Patagonia hopes to inspire other companies to look closely at their own down supply chains and utilize the model now established by Patagonia for down traceability.
Incorporating environmental responsibility into product development, the company has, since 1996, used only organically grown cotton in its clothing line. The company's entire product line is recyclable through its Common Threads Partnership.
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