The foundation of the finest down insulation will always be how and from where it is sourced. Previously, and still for many today, the down supply chain consisted of a fairly simple network of brokers. These brokers would aggregate material from various sources and regions and sell to suppliers to do a final process and ship to manufacturers. In this model, there was no transparency and traceability was / is impossible. At its inception ALLIED went around these brokers to develop relationships with the farms to provide better quality, higher levels of consistency, price stability and a transparency and traceability previously thought impossible.
The supply chain is incredibly complex and makes it that much more important to look for down from a reputable supplier like ALLIED to ensure it was sourced responsibly.
The supply chain consists of two different modules and you can see how it gets a little complicated.
In the industrial farm module, traceability becomes much easier. However, at the biggest farms and certain regions / countries, this is where we see the egregious animal welfare issues. ALLIED chooses to work predominantly with medium to large farms knowing that the largest farms are where we see the most issues with animal welfare. These farms are also nothing like we think of massive poultry farms in North America.
COLLECTOR BASED SUPPLY CHAIN
Diving deep into the global supply chain, we realize a much larger portion of down exists in a very small farm setting. In these micro farms, families are raising enough birds to simply feed their families and sometimes the village. As the birds become a source of food, the waste material including the down and feather is collected by a network of collectors who take to their villages to aggregate. This supply chain rarely if ever has animal welfare issues but is hard to trace back to origin. In order to provide full traceability in this supply chain, ALLIED opened rural sourcing offices many times teaching these collector communities to read and write so they could fill out the paperwork needed to provide the traceability we require.
It’s critically important for us here at ALLIED that all down is sourced responsibly from supply chains that engage in best practices in animal welfare and chemical management. This is why we worked so diligently with The North Face and Control Union to help build The Responsible Down Standard and gift to the industry for all to use.
ALLIED continues to work with all major animal welfare standards and build robust brand sourcing initiatives As of 2017, 100% of all ALLIED down has been certified to a third party standard.