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TEXAS – Textile Exchange has launched the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) version 3.0 which includes the first major revision since the 2014 launch of the standard. Key changes to the RDS include: euthanasia of sick or injured birds, in order to prevent suffering, is now mandatory on the farm; stunning before slaughter is now mandatory at the slaughter site; stronger criteria related to handling, record keeping, and the training of workers; observation of parent farms in industrial goose supply chains are now required, where the highest risk of live-plucking occurs.

Around 60 brands and retailers have publicly committed to the RDS, including adidas, Patagonia and The North Face.

Announcing the revisions, La Rhea Pepper, managing director for Textile Exchange, said “We are extremely proud of the work conducted by the RDS International Working Group for the revision of the Responsible Down Standard. These are significant changes that will create a much stronger standard and will require equally strong commitment and training from farms and suppliers. We know these changes will be worth it as they continue to safeguard the welfare of geese and ducks that provide down and feathers for the products we all love.” 

RDS 3.0 standard aligns with Textile Exchange’s Animal Welfare Framework, that has also guided work on other animal welfare standards, including the Responsible Wool Standard (undergoing revision this year) and the development of the Responsible Mohair Standard (in progress). The North Face co-developed the RDS in 2014 and has been a strong supporter ever since. Carol Shu, sustainability manager for The North Face said: “As a proud partner of Textile Exchange and supporter of the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), we are excited that the RDS is continuing to evolve and is being strengthened further with its 3.0 release. 100 percent of The North Face’s virgin down for all product lines is already certified and responsibly sourced, and with this new release we will now also be able to support additional important animal welfare advancements.” 

The compliance date of the RDS 3.0 is July 1, 2020. After this date, sites will no longer be audited and certified to RDS 2.0.

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