In the world of excessive fast fashion, efforts toward sustainability have never been more important. When choosing products that feature wool or down materials, it’s easy to sometimes forget where these materials come from.
Animals are the providers of many materials within the clothing and textile industry, which can provide numerous issues if these animals are treated in an unethical way. This is why it’s become more and more popular to choose wool and down garments that are sourced responsibly. But what does that look like?
In this article, Reima will explore responsible wool and down clothing as well as some of the benefits of choosing ethically-sourced materials. With sustainability at the core of Reima’s mission, we hope to shed light on the importance of mindfulness when choosing all our clothing.
How Down or Wool Materials Are Often Unethical
To understand why down or wool materials can be unethical we must first understand where they come from. Down comes from the soft under plumage found beneath the outer feathers of geese and ducks. Wool materials are sourced from animals such as sheep, llamas, yaks, goats, rabbits, and more. While down and wool might seem simple enough to gather, it’s very easy for wool and down to be sourced unethically.
Plucking birds of their feathers can cause substantial distress and pain, and with the number of garments that utilize down materials, this can easily become a huge concern. Likewise for wool, many of the animals that wool is sourced from are kept under cruel conditions. Especially for animals that are trapped within an inhumane supply chain environment, wool can also be a slippery slope toward animal cruelty without the correct ethical practices enforced.
It’s also important to consider the impact that wool and down can have on the environment. Increased flock sizes can easily lead to overgrazing and a negative carbon footprint on the surrounding nature. With a higher demand for wool and down materials, there is the risk of not only the materials being cruelly sourced but the animals themselves harming their surrounding environment. This is why sustainable materials have become so popular: major changes need to be made.
What is Responsible Wool and Down?
Down is a material used in a large variety of outerwear and items such as pillows and blankets that are used to provide an extra layer of insulation and warmth. Down is a commonly used material because it’s ultra-soft, warming, and can provide instant coxiness to clothing and items. Wool has a different texture than down but is also used to provide warmth within garments and products. Since both wool and down depend on animals for their development, there has been an increased interest in guaranteeing these materials are ethically sourced.
So what is responsible wool or down? In simplest terms, responsible down or wool refers to down or wool clothing or items that are sourced humanely and ethically. Responsible down is often also referred to as “green” or “ethical” down for this reason. Nowadays, more and more companies are embracing sustainable and ethical business practices, from the sourcing of their materials to their distribution processes.
A company can’t simply claim that they’re sustainable without backing those claims. For down specifically, garments and supplies need to be certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) or Global Traceable Down Standard. Both of these organizations seek to cooperate with animal welfare groups.
The Goals of Choosing Responsible Down and Wool Materials
Now that we understand what responsible down and wool are, let’s explore what the RDS and similar organizations seek to accomplish when certifying responsible wool and down. Some of their main objectives include:
- Provide companies with tools to know what is actually within their products as well as claim factual information regarding those products.
- Guarantee that down and wool doesn’t come from animals within a supply chain as much as possible. These supply chains tend to subject animals to unnecessary harm.
- Provide incentives to influence the down and wool garment industry to support the humane handling of ducks, geese, sheep, etc.
Reima Seeks to Create an Environmentally Sustainable Future
A sustainable future is often found in the small decisions we make. There are countless benefits to choosing responsible down or wool clothing. Sustainably-sourced wool and down is better for the environment , kinder to the animals within those habitats, and ultimately leads to more durable garments that will withstand the elements for much longer.
When exploring responsible clothing brands, you can trust that Reima has everything you need. Review Reima’s corporate social responsibility report to review our three major objectives: sustainable top-quality products, our responsibility to conserve human rights, and overall environmental consciousness through sustainable operations. Explore Reima’s responsible wool garments today to transform the way you choose your products for a brighter future.