BREGENZ, Austria — June 7, 2016 — Newly published research on the global down and feather industry reports that the down and feather used in bedding, apparel and outdoor gear comes from ducks and geese raised for human consumption and that the material is simply a byproduct of the enormous global food industry.
The Sustainable and Humane Practices of the Down and Feather Industry, commissioned by the International Down and Feather Bureau (IDFB), notes that from 2009-2013 alone, approximately 2.7 billion ducks and 653 million geese were raised for consumption globally, resulting in an estimated 410 million pounds (186 million kilograms) of excess down and feathers each year. These materials, the document says, would otherwise serve only as a waste product—however, after the production of duck and geese meat, feather and down is cleaned and sanitized and then traded for use in products like pillows, comforters, duvets, mattress toppers, winter jackets and outdoor sports gear, instead of contributing to worldwide landfill issues.
“Down and feather products are highly sustainable, making them superior to synthetic materials since they have a lower carbon footprint. However, when materials derived from animals are used in manufactured goods, it’s common for the source of these materials to come into question,” said Stephen Palmer, president of IDFB. “The down and feather industry is highly regulated, contrary to many misrepresentations that have been made. Any deleterious methods of down and feather procurement are neither supported nor condoned.”
In fact, the document also notes that, in visiting more than 2,000 geese and duck farms across the world and conducting approximately 400 traceability audits since 2008, the International Down and Feather Testing Laboratory (IDFL) has found deleterious procurement to be so rare that it represents less than one percent of the industry.
The paper further addresses:
- Global regions and countries from which the majority of down and feather is gathered;
- Methods by which down and feather is procured;
- Legal and regulatory bodies that govern these regions regarding down and feather procurement;
- The sustainability of down and feather products in relation to polyester substitutes.
Posted June 15, 2016
Source: International Down and Feather Bureau (IDFB)