Sustainability / February 1, 2013

Down sourcing – the path forward

February 1, 2013

We want to share an update on our ongoing efforts to ensure the ethical treatment of animals in our down supply chain. Since last March, The North Face has obtained self-reported declarations from 100 percent of our suppliers that the down they provided for our 2013 products is free from live plucking. However, we feel these declarations are only the first step in a much longer process of ensuring full traceability and accountability across our supply chain.

To begin this process, we have partnered with Control Union Certifications (www.controlunion.com/certification), a leading audit and certification body, to perform a complete evaluation of the animal welfare landscape as it relates to our down supply chain. This project includes the study of global animal welfare standards and regulatory requirements, defining important issues in the space—including live plucking and force feeding—and an assessment of how to ensure transparency and traceability of down throughout our supply chain. This will give us a comprehensive evaluation of the issues related to animal welfare and help establish our path forward in addressing the ethical treatment of animals in our supply chain.

Down used in The North Face products is a byproduct derived from geese that are raised for their meat and liver. Since we are not an economic driver of goose farming, one of our industry’s biggest challenges continues to be our ability to influence the practices of the food industry. Through our partnership with Control Union, we’re embarking on a deep journey into this issue and taking a vital step towards ensuring that the sources of our down comply with strict standards. We look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months as our evaluation progresses.

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