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Our Goals

baby-duckThe Responsible Down Standard ensures that down and feathers come from ducks and geese that have been treated well. This means enabling them to live healthy lives, express innate behaviors, and not suffer from pain, fear or distress. The standard also follows the chain of custody from farm to product, so consumers can be confident that the down and feathers in the products they choose are truly RDS.

What is the RDS?

The Responsible Down Standard is an independent, voluntary global standard, which means that companies can choose to certify their products to the RDS, even if there is no legislation requiring them to do so. The RDS was developed and revised over three years, with the input of animal welfare groups, industry experts, brands and retailers. The standard recognizes the best practices in animal welfare, and excludes those that violate the animal’s well being.

What does Responsible Mean?

The intent and spirit of the standard is best reflected by one of Oxford Dictionary’s definitions of responsible: “morally accountable for one’s behaviour.” Not only farmers, but brands and supply chain members need to meet their obligations to respect the Five Freedoms of the animals that provide their down and feathers, and to meet the trust of consumers that are choosing RDS products.

Find out more about what the RDS means for birds and farmers

Key points in the standard


Any removal of down and feathers from live birds (live-plucking or molt-harvesting) is prohibited

Force-feeding is prohibited

The welfare of the birds is respected at all times: from hatching to slaughter

RDS down and feathers is properly identified at all times; this ensures that non-RDS down and feathers are not mistakenly identified as RDS

Each stage in supply chain is audited by a professional, third party certification body

Only products with 100% certified down and feathers carry the RDS logo

How does the RDS work?

When a brand chooses to use the RDS, a number of things happen:


1. The brand talks to their suppliers to get a clear picture of their down supply chain. Eventually each step of the supply chain, all the way to the farm, will get certified by an approved third-party (called a Certification Body).

2. The certification process involves two steps.

1) On-site audit: an inspector visits a factory or company, does a visual inspection, checks documents and procedures, and interviews staff and workers. The results from this visit is called an audit report.
2) Certification decision: the audit report is sent to a certifier who will review all the results, and decide whether the company is issued certification or not.

Every certification conducted by a Certification Body involves two people: an inspector and a certifier. This is called the ‘four eyes principle’.

3. On farms and slaughterhouses (anywhere animals are present) the Certification Body checks the well being of the animals, looks for any evidence of live plucking or force-feeding, and makes sure everything is done in accordance with the standard.

4. At factories and manufacturers the Certification Body checks the RDS materials (down, feathers, jackets, duvets, etc.) that enter and leave a factory to make sure they are properly identified. RDS products are tracked as they move through production, and kept separate from non-certified products.

Stories from the Shadow Audits
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Find RDS Companies

RDS Apparel companies

RDS Outdoor companies

RDS Home companies

News and Updates

Here’s a view of the latest action with the RDS and animal welfare. Be sure to scroll through to see all of the updates.
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Read more news and updates >


More answers to your questions about RDS and how we can change the world.

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