June 28th 2016
First of all we would like to thank PETA for their efforts in upholding the torch of animal welfare and we truly appreciate your contributions to make this world a better place.
According to the Oxford Dictionary1 one of the principle synonyms for the term ‘responsible’ is the term ‘accountable for’, and indeed ‘accountable for’ is something we in the outdoor industry believe should be part of our work in CSR & Sustainability. For us this means, that as an industry we base our decisions on facts and science, and reflect on our challenges looking at them from all possible angles (360 approach). We therefore use criteria that draw from a wide range of insights, with important consideration being given to environmental (LCA and research data) and social (including animal welfare) impacts. The possibility to create positive change through our engagement going forward is a further very relevant ingredient.
One of the scientifically most concerning negative impacts on the environment – and therefore the future of all life, human and other – on this planet, is industrial waste and pollution generated and discarded without being considered for an alternative use, as well as the replacement of renewable resources by non-renewable resources.
These contribute negatively to, at least, the 3 most stressed of the known planetary boundaries2 3, namely: genetic diversity (biodiversity), biochemical flows, and climate change.
The textiles (apparel, footwear) industry is no stranger to this problem, and we are making huge efforts to not only increase the use of otherwise wasted materials (such as down) or renewable materials (such as wool) – with the goal to improve as a consequence on the above planetary impact – but also to do this while improving the practices in the upstream supply chains so they, in turn, can contribute also to improvements. These are lasting and long-term commitments.
As you repeatedly and correctly point out: outside of responsible (accountable) niches in the supply chain, represented by standards such as the Responsible Down Standard and the Responsible Wool Standard, and in addition, practice promoted by the organisations such as RSPCA or the British Soil Association, there remain many more areas of the upstream supply chains where change is urgently needed.
We very much commend PETA for the reminder that there remains work to be done, and that we need to work even harder on rolling out such standards on a much wider base than has so far been achieved.
We see PETA as an important contributor of hands-on best practise knowledge when it comes to work with suppliers that attract concerns: PETA’s expertise in animal welfare would be ideal in helping them build capacity, and understanding how best to implement and roll out stringent animal welfare criteria in operations where this has been lacking.
As a consequence, we therefore are looking forward to PETA engaging with, and encouraging, so far entirely unengaged sectors of our societies, industries and supply chains in this discussion, and – most importantly – for PETA to share their considerable knowledge with all players, in a collaborative and cooperative manner.
Dr. Pamela Ravasio
Head of CSR & Sustainability European Outdoor Group