Published Wednesday, April 22, 2020 2:23PM EDT
Luxury parka maker Canada Goose Holdings Inc. plans to start using reclaimed fur for its coats and stop purchasing new fur in a couple years even though some animal rights groups don’t see the reversal as a victory for wildlife.
“We remain committed to the functionality and sustainability of real fur, however we are challenging ourselves to do it better, reusing what already exists,” the company said in its first sustainability report released Wednesday.
For five decades, it has used wild coyote fur from Western Canada and the U.S., that it says its suppliers ensure never comes from fur farms, among other measures.
However, Canada Goose will start making parkas with reclaimed fur in 2022 and stop purchasing new fur that same year in an effort to satisfy consumer demand, the company said.
It notes people living in the North have worked with reclaimed fur for decades and the initiative was inspired by their resourcefulness.
The company also plans to launch a consumer buy-back program for fur in the coming months.
“We believe we must operate sustainably. It’s the right decision for our business, our customers and most importantly, our future,” the report reads, which notes consumers today want more information about fur sustainability and animal welfare, and demand more transparency.
Canada Goose did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Canadian animal rights group Animal Justice called the change “a stunning reversal” prompted by shifting public opinion about fur for fashion, as well as years of advocacy against Canada Goose’s use of fur. It noted California recently banned the sale of new fur.
However, the Canada Goose announcement is still only a “partial victory,” the group said.
“It would be better for the company to abandon fur and down altogether,” noting the switch to reclaimed fur doesn’t help ducks and geese whose feathers are used for down.
The company addresses its use of down in the report, saying it chooses “natural down in jackets because it is the best natural source for warmth per weight ratio.”
Last year, Canada Goose committed to the responsible down standard (RDS) and commits to being certified fully by 2021.
“The RDS aims to ensure that down and feathers come from animals that have not been subjected to unnecessary harm.”
RDS prohibits down or feather removal from live birds and force feeding, according to its website. Its standards also include other measures, including auditing each stage in the supply chain by a professional, third-party certification body.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called the change to reclaimed fur an attempt to “humane wash” and that “real fur is always cruelly obtained.”
PETA and Animal Justice have fought Canada Goose over its use of animal products.
On Tuesday, an Ontario court dismissed PETA’s application for a judicial review. PETA argued its right to free expression was violated when its anti-Canada Goose ads were taken down in Toronto. Animal Justice intervened in the case and supported PETA’s position.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2020.