It is important to highlight the fact that down is a by-product of the food industry. As such, the global supply of down is directly related to who is eating duck and goose. While the culinary desire for these proteins fades, the demand and use of down products continue to rise.
The down supply chain is incredibly complex and multi-faceted. With the demand for high quality high fill power down on the rise, suppliers have to look beyond just the small "industrial" farms. While these farms provide an ease of traceability, this is where most animal welfare issues can occur. As the demand for a more tender meat is called for, the birds in these farms are processed at a very young age - as early as 8 weeks.
This farm module is fairly straight forward in terms of tracing the birds from hatchlings through processing
Outside of the farms, duck and goose is an important part of the diet in many rural parts of the world.
For us, it is an important part of the supply chain and we have spent years developing ways to bring traceability throughout an incredibly complex collector-based module. These birds are raised in incredibly small villages and private farms collected by village collectors. While traceability is incredibly difficult, animal welfare issues are virtually non-existent. Anything done to harm the birds potentially means their family does not eat.
ALLIED has even opened small offices in rural parts of the world that teach these collectors to read and write to ensure they can fill out the paperwork required for complete traceability.
As you can see from the two modules above, the down supply chain is incredibly complex and made only more complicated by the fact that the down accounts for less than 10% of the value of the bird. This is where relationships crafted over decades become a critical element in working with farms and slaughterhouses to ensure that our down comes from animals that have been treated appropriately for their entire lives.
ALLIED has a long history of supplying responsibly sourced material to the industry.
In 2008, we were the first down suppliers to certify that all our material was collected from birds that had never been live-plucked or force fed. Again, in 2010, we were the first to take that claim to another level by allowing for audits from independent third party auditing bodies. It has always been our goal to provide the finest quality with the peace of mind that it had been sourced in the most responsible manner.
As animal welfare groups are starting to ask more questions about where consumers¡¯ down comes from, we sat down with some of the largest brands in the outdoor industry and identified the need for a standard that could provide consumer confidence and actually look to make significant changes in the entire industry. It was with this in mind that there was a need to build a third party industry standard.
With our intimate knowledge of the supply chain and background in auditing such a complex source, we set out on a several year mission to assist in what would soon become The Responsible Down Standard, now one of the most robust animal welfare standards in the entire textile industry.
We continue our industry leading best practices by working closely with Animal Welfare Organizations and have since certified 100% of our global supply chain to one of the robust industry standards or specifically created transparent brand sourcing practices.