Industry News 10/30/2014

VIDEO: Fjällräven Down Promise: Setting New Standard for Down Process

After forty years of research and practice, Swedish heritage brand Fjällräven unveils one of the outdoor industry’s most controlled and transparent down production processes, the Fjällräven Down Promise . The Fjällräven Down Promise guarantees all Fjällräven down products are built with only ethically produced down of the highest quality. With this achievement, Fjällräven accounts for full traceability of its down from hatchlings to finished products, while setting a new standard for down production practices in the apparel industry. The Fjällräven Down Promise is one advancement towards Fjällräven’s goal of becoming the most responsible company in business. The brand’s governing corporate social responsibility guidelines, The Fenix Way, includes extensive sustainability goals the company strives to meet by 2020. 

Though goose down has an unbeatable ability to insulate against the cold, down production processes have been long criticized by animal rights organizations for ill treatment of birds. After heavy critique in 2009, the textile industry joined together to offer a solution to the problem. Fjällräven worked with high-quality down for 40 years and had good controls in place at this time; however after these alarming reports, the company decided to conduct a deeper investigation into the down production process. By 2010, Fjällräven received an honorable mention from Animal Welfare Sweden for their down handling practices, and by 2012 became a participant to the United Nations Global Compact Principles, leading the environmental strategy to promote the use of ethically sourced down. The Fjällräven Down Promise is the next step in cementing the brand’s position as a leader in ethical down practices.  

“Fjällräven places high demands on all their products, but we are very careful to ensure that our down is produced in the most ethical manner,” says Aiko Bode, chief sustainability officer for Fjällräven and the Fenix Outdoor Group. “This is why we have invested so much energy into ensuring an upright and controlled down process the whole way. From the bird farms via the slaughterhouse and down processors, to the factories that make our final products, we always strive to meet the best practices.”

Fjällräven down is a high quality by-product from the food industry, sourced from geese bred primarily for food. Ensuring the geese have the best living conditions possible, the brand only works with one selected down supplier in the Yangshou province of China who shares Fjällräven’s views on animal welfare. Fjällräven down is never mixed with down from other sources; the down is handled in sealed sacks and verified with random sampling at different stages of the production process. Fjällräven’s quality control system monitors the down process by conducting regular inspections by third party organizations, including an independent Swedish veterinarian who checks living conditions of the geese regularly, and the International Down and Feather Laboratory (IDFL), an independent test institute who verifies the quality and cleanliness of the down during the processing stage. From breeding, transport, slaughter, processing and production, Fjällräven has a strict set of practices that ensure consistency at all stages.  

With the launch of the Fjällräven Down Promise, the brand will update its retail and digital presence with new brand materials to educate consumers on the importance of ethically produced down. Each down product shown in store and online will be marked with the Fjällräven Down Promise logo. Additionally, a film that shows the production process on location in China will also be available on Fjällräven websites and social media channels across the globe providing another layer of transparency. 

“We have come far on this journey and we are proud of what we have achieved, but we are not finished yet,” adds Bode. “It is an ongoing task where we are constantly making improvements on our processes and listening to and learning from experts, so that all the steps in the production process are continuously meeting the highest possible standards from an animal welfare perspective." 

For complete details on each stage of the Fjällräven Down Process, please visit: