You might notice a blue logo on our website and hangtags. This represents an association with Responsible Down Standard (RDS). Products with this logo comply with RDS, an important certification for the humane practices and processes of collecting down insulation.

Nature’s best insulation 

Of all insulations used today, down provides you the greatest warmth for the least weight. Its high warmth to low weight ratio makes it ideal for modern life. Its ability to wick away moisture avoids that clammy feeling associated with synthetics.

So what exactly is down insulation?

“Down” does not actually mean “feathers” – it’s actually the plumage that sits next to fowl’s skin, underneath its feathers. Think of it as nature’s perfect mid-layer for birds that spend their time swimming, sleeping, and traveling through harsh and cold climates.

Down is only collected from ducks and geese who are being raised for their meat. Since down is a natural material, it’s biodegradable and doesn’t rely on fossil fuels for production.


Trouble ahead?

Down is a great product with a long history and a bright future, albeit a sensitive subject among animal activist organisations. But recently, two issues have challenged the notion that down could be used without worry over negative impacts: Force-feeding and live-plucking. Force-feeding is a practice that’s pretty self-explanatory. Fatter geese produce better foie gras, and this unfortunate practice has gone on for many years. Live-plucking is the act of collecting down from ducks or geese before they have been processed. This exercise may provide some farms with additional income, by allowing them to pluck and sell the down from animals while they are still alive. Both of these practices inflict an unacceptable level of cruelty on ducks and geese that shouldn’t be tolerated in any production process.

Responsible for change.

The good news is that there are many farms around the world that ensure the welfare of ducks and geese, and there are great incentives in place to reward and encourage those efforts. Enter, Responsible Down Standard.

The Responsible Down Standard is a global standard for best practices in animal welfare throughout a brand’s entire retail supply chain. In order to receive certification, brands invite a third-party auditor called a Certification Body to visit factories and farms to interview staff, analyse hygiene conditions, and ensure that ducks and geese are well cared for. After checking each stage of the down sourcing process, Certification Bodies can give their approval and follow the down material to production where it is used as insulation in jackets, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, as well as other products. When you see the RDS logo on a final product, it represents a great deal of work at every stage in the supply chain.

Ensuring credibility.

By requiring the farms to be certified to the RDS, down suppliers have more insight into the conditions of the farms. They know that the farms have met key criteria, and they can hold farms and processors accountable to follow the best practices in animal welfare. Where there are no standards in place, farms or processors may state that they follow the rules, but the down suppliers have no way to know if this is true or not.

Duck Apparel is a proud partner of the RDS alliance. Ending animal cruelty starts with us.