The North Face is committed to improving animal welfare and traceability in the goose down and feather supply chain. We use down in outerwear, sleeping bags, footwear, and accessories because of its superior insulating properties and warmth-to-weight ratio. We created 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 subject 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 The North Face products from farm to finished garment. We have been using certified down in our products since our Fall 2015 season and our goal is for 100 percent of the down we use to be certified to the RDS by our Fall 2017 season.
The RDS has gained great momentum and adoption across the supply chain. At the end of 2015, over 40 brands had initiated certification of their supply chains to the RDS and over 1,200 sites were certified in Europe, North America, and Asia, covering an estimated 500 million birds at the farm level. Additionally, around 240 processors, garment factories, and trading units were certified.