What thought do we as travellers give to the source of our warmth as we wrap up in trendy outdoor gear?
Many products are lined with goose “down’’, the soft under plumage which acts as an insulator for the birds as they head for cooler climes.
But it is hard and expensive to come by and the high cost has led to some dubious methods of obtaining it by the supply chains who provide it to the travel product firms.
Alarmed by this, in 2010 Mountain Equipment made a pledge to commit as much time and effort into looking at the environmental, ethical and welfare concerns of its supply chains as it did to sourcing the best materials and making the best products.
They introduced Down Codex® to ensure the down they use comes from firms who treated the animals with care.
Working with the RSPCA and International Down and Feather Laboratory, the firm set off to Northern China in August 2010 to launch a “happy geese project’’ and introduced some tough regulations for themselves and others to follow to ensure all was sustainable. Today, as the firm marks its 10th anniversary, each product is guaranteed to have followed the rules and has a special traceability label inside the products.
Consumers have been encouraged to recycle the down in its Earthrise range and the firm now has ambitious plans for a fully functioning closed loop recycling system which will ensure that clothing and sleeping bags which are unwanted or at the end of their lives, do not simply get thrown away.
Instead, 95% of the product will be recycled and in turn protect the environment from carbon emissions and pollution. Stats show that recycled down saves 70% of water compared to new down, 30% of consumers throw away unwanted products, but 95% to 97% of goods can be recycled.
It’s something to think about when you plan to throw away that old jacket or sleeping bag in the New Year.
For more information on Mountain Equipment’s commitment to the environment, check out www.mountain-equipment.co.uk
Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.
Photographs courtesy of Mountain Equipment