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Patagonia to Use 100% Traceable Down

Patagonia geesePatagonia will use 100 percent traceable down across its entire collection of down-insulated products starting in the Fall 2014 season, the outdoor apparel company says.

Patagonia Traceable Down is sourced from birds that have been neither force-fed for foie gras production nor plucked for their feathers and down during their lifetime.

Patagonia verifies its down supply chain by using a traceability audit consisting of a physical inspection of the entire supply chain, performed by an independent, third-party traceability expert, the company says. Wendy Savage, Patagonia’s social and environmental responsibility manager, says while affidavits from suppliers are commonly accepted with minimal verification at other companies, Patagonia’s audit program is hands-on, beginning at the farm where the eggs are laid and ending at the garment factory, where the down is placed in jackets and other products.

The company says its Traceable Down Standard was six years in the making.

Earlier this year Patagonia partnered with the Nature Conservancy and Argentine rancher network Ovis XXI to restore 15 million acres of grassland in its namesake region, and bring a new line of sustainable merino wool products to consumers. The groups say the goal is to reverse overgrazing by implementing a sustainable sheep-grazing protocol and by attracting additional partners and buyers.

In late October, Patagonia — along with designer Eileen Fisher, apparel companies Quiksilver, Prana, Lululemon Athletica and other global clothing brands with revenues totaling more than $4 billion — partnered with environmental organization Canopy to develop purchasing policies that aim to end the use of endangered forest fiber.

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