Down is an incredible natural material, but if the cost of using it is the mistreatment of animals, we're not interested.
Finally, there’s a way to be sure.
We’re proud that 100% of the down in Kathmandu products is certified under the Responsible Down Standard.
We’re the world’s fourth largest user of certified ethically sourced down, according to the 2016 Textile Exchange Preferred Fiber Market Report.
100% ethically sourced goose and duck down
RDS launched in 2014 as the world’s most comprehensive, third-party certified animal welfare and traceability standard. RDS protects an animal’s Five Freedoms. This means no force feeding and definitely no live plucking. RDS follows the down from farm to product, so consumers can be confident that the birds live healthy lives, and don’t suffer from pain, fear or distress.
Our efforts have been recognised by animal welfare organisation, Four Paws. They ranked Kathmandu fourth among the outdoor brands they evaluated for animal welfare practices in their Cruelty-Free Down Challenge.
Down is a by-product
Down used in outdoor products is a by-product of raising geese and ducks for meat. For the farmer, the value of the down is only around 5%–95% of the value is the meat. Even if all apparel and bedding manufacturers stopped using down today, goose and duck farming would continue, but the down and feathers would probably just end up in landfills.
Instead, the feather and down is cleaned, sanitized and recycled into down jackets and other apparel products. And the outdoor industry can use its small amount of influence to improve the living standards for these animals.
Collaboration has more impact
The down supply chain is complex — the raw material goes from farms to processors to agents and manufacturers. Tracking each of these stages would be a big job for one brand. That’s why industry-wide collaborations like RDS are the best way to make a big change.
By working with the RDS, we’re not just addressing the welfare of animals in our own supply chain, we’re supporting a shift across the entire industry to push for better animal welfare practices.
Natural down beats synthetics on warmth for weight
Down has unique characteristics that cannot be replicated by any man-made material. Synthetic insulation is an alternative, but it doesn’t quite measure up when it comes to giving you warm, lightweight, compressible, durable insulation.
Down has a lower carbon footprint
Down and feather products come from nature, so the manufacturing process leaves a lower carbon footprint than synthetic materials derived from our finite crude oil resources.
In the end, it’s up to you
Now you can be confident that any Kathmandu down product you choose is not just the best material when it comes to warmth to weight, it’s ethical too.
But the choice is always yours. If you prefer to avoid animal products, we do have some great synthetic options, like the award winning Lawrence Jacket, which uses PrimaLoft ThermoPlume synthetic insulation.
Find out more about down and how it’s farmed and processed at the RDS website. The Outdoor Industry Association has helped develop lots of standards around animal welfare. Learn more about their work.