NSF Sustainability has announced it has certified Downlite, a supplier of performance fills for outdoor and other products, to the Global Traceable Down Standard (Global TDS).

Downlite is the first company in the world to have been certified according to this standard. Certification for the Global TDS can be granted to organizations that demonstrate that the down they process is from farms complying with the highest levels of animal welfare, and that the down is fully traceable throughout their supply chain. Downlite is a major supplier to Patagonia, who is also committed to animal welfare in its supply chain. Downlite said work on a traceable down standard had started in close collaboration with Patagonia four years ago.

The Global TDS is said to go beyond the existing down standards as it extends animal welfare procedures to parent farms, where animals usually live for around four years and would be at greatest risk for live plucking. By contrast, the existing programs start at the hatchery.

The organizations handling the down are audited to verify they have management systems that allow to keep the sustainably sourced down separated from conventionally sourced down.

The Global TDS was developed in a consensus-based process in collaboration with stakeholders from the industry, including down and feather processors such as Downlite, as well as manufacturers, animal welfare groups such as Four Paws International, retailers, trade associations and non-governmental organizations.

Downlite also supplies down complying with the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), a widespread standard in the outdoor industry which was largely developed by The North Face, who then handed the initiative over to Textile Exchange. Discussions have reportedly taken place on the possibility of harmonizing the Global TDS and the RDS in the future.