According to the IDFB (International Down and Feather Bureau), down is the environmentally friendly choice outdoor gear, as it:
• Is biodegradable – As a natural product it decomposes and goes back to the earth;
• Conserves resources – As a by-product of the food industry, no resources are going to waste, and no byproducts are being put into landfills;
• Is renewable – Synthetic fill materials are often composed of non-renewable resources like oil, whereas down and feathers are renewable resources.
Overall, down and feather products require a lower carbon footprint to produce than synthetics. Furthermore, Down is long lasting and only needs to be fluffed up to keep its loft and its insulating ability for outdoor gear does not diminish.
The RDS is a certification created by The Textile Exchange. Textile Exchange is a global nonprofit organization that works closely with all sectors of the textile supply chain to find the best ways to minimize and even reverse negative environmental and social outcomes created by this $1.7 trillion industry.
The RDS states: The Responsible Down Standard aims to ensure that down and feathers come from animals that have not been subjected to an unnecessary harm. It is our hope that the standard can be used to reward and influence the down and feather industry to incentivize practices that respect the humane treatment of ducks and geese. We believe that education – through the RDS – is a meaningful way to drive demand for strong animal welfare practices. The standard also provides companies and consumers with a tool to know what is in their products, and to make accurate claims.
Although the RDS is a voluntary process, over 3640 farms have now signed up to gain accreditation which covers over 550 million farmed birds across the globe.
The RDS was developed and revised over three years, with the input of animal welfare groups, industry experts, brands and retailers. The standard recognizes and rewards the best practices in animal welfare. The standards are based around six key points which are shown below.