For the fill in your VAUDE products, we only use down from high welfare sources that is certified by the RDS Down Standard. This is extremely important to us.
Down forms a natural layer of insulation for waterfowl such as geese or ducks. The colder the climate, the fluffier and warmer the down the birds have. Technically this is called loft and is measured in "cubic inches" (cuin).
Because birds need to be able to fly despite their thick layer of thermal insulation, down is also extremely lightweight. No other material achieves such comparably high thermal insulation at such a low weight.
Down is a natural product and a renewable resource that is biodegradable. At the same time, it is also a waste product of the food industry. In addition to its outstanding technical qualities, this makes its use very efficient from an ecological perspective.
Down can even be easily recycled. Read more here
However, like any "industry" the procurement of down also has downsides. The welfare and feeding of geese and ducks hasn't always met the standards we would expect for the appropriate treatment of animals.
VAUDE has committed itself to a clear standard: We only use down from slaughtered animals that were neither live-plucked nor bred for foie gras.
VAUDE is Responsible Down Standard (RDS) certified. The certificate can be seen here. Since the launch of the Summer 2016 Collection, VAUDE has exclusively used down that has been certified in accordance with the RDS.
All products with RDS-certified down are designated with the RDS label.
The RDS is supported by the independent non-profit organization, Textile Exchange. A Textile Exchange-accredited testing institute audits the entire supply chain of our down, from the rearing to the slaughterhouse and to our down processing.
Not only do we use new down, but starting with the Summer 2019 Collection we are also using 100 % recycled down as a thermal fill for our sleeping bags. Begininng with the Winter 2019 Collection we will also be offering clothing with recycled down.
Down is very durable and is a valuable raw material for the textile industry, which is why recycled down has a long tradition – it makes sense both ecologically and economically.
As part of the recycling process, duck and goose down from bedding and clothing, for example, is not disposed of but collected by textile recyclers and reprocessed in accordance with the Global Recycling Standard.
The used down is cleaned in an energy-efficient process and sterilised at high temperatures. This preserves the excellent insulation properties and enables us to manufacture new products that offer high breathability and a completely natural thermal microclimate at the lowest possible weight.
Thanks to recycling management, we can extend the lifespans of valuable natural products. The effort required to clean, prepare and reuse used down is about the same as the effort required to obtain and process new down for the first time.
For each product, we carefully weigh the quality of the down that meets the requirements of the intended use. For our special products in the sleeping bag sector, we continue to use exclusively new RDS certified down to achieve optimum homogeneity of insulation.