What does the RDS certification include?
Live-plucking and force-feeding are strictly prohibited by the standard. In every stage of the supply chain where animals are present, the standard’s requirements ensure that the animal’s five freedoms are met.
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.
- Freedom from Discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to Express Normal Behavior by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from Fear and Distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
From the farm, each stage of production is certified to the chain of custody requirements of the CCS.
You can read the full requirements of RDS 2.0 (PDF) here.
What do I need to do to start using the logo?
Logo use is only allowed on products containing 100% RDS Certified down. The standard requires full chain of custody certification of every stage in production, up to the seller in the last business-to-business transaction. If you are a brand selling products through a separate retailer, you are required to be certified before products may be labeled. Products should be accompanied by a transaction certificate. For more information on labeling products or making claims related to the RDS, download a copy of the RDS Logo Use and Claims Guide.
How do I get RDS down in my products?
This largely depends on how your production chain works. In many cases, you will be able to find a down supplier (look on our list of certified suppliers) that has available stock. You can contact them and get product integrated into your supply.
If you would prefer to work with your existing supply chain, you will need to work with them to get certified. Each stage of production is required to get certified to ensure that 1) wherever birds are present, their full rights are respected and 2) the identity of RDS down is maintained with every movement of goods. The first step of certification is to contact the certification body to start the process.
What sets RDS apart from other similar standards?
The RDS was developed through a multi-stakeholder process in alignment with ISEAL requirements. Our International Working Group included industry professionals from every part of the down supply chain and beyond: down suppliers, brands, retailers, supply chain, and animal welfare organizations. The process also integrated learnings from the field from the year of audits to the first version of the standard.
The RDS is designed to be truly global in scope, to be applicable to all down supply chains, and to provide the strongest chain of custody assurance.
The International Working Group chose to keep parent farm certification as optional for the sake of having a fully scalable standard. Our research has shown that the difficulty in certifying for chain of custody between parent farms, hatcheries, and raising farms will make it either impossible or very costly to apply to supply chains in all key down producing regions. The RDS applies to the welfare of the birds that are the direct sources of certified down and feathers, but we added the optional parent farm module for companies wanting to make broader claims about their down supply. Note that if a parent farm is a source of RDS down, then it must be certified.
How has the industry responded to the RDS?
We are so pleased to share that over 1200 sites have been certified to the standard. This translates to over 500 million birds covered under certification, with protections in place for their health and well-being. More than 40 brands have adopted the RDS into their own products. These brands represent the outdoor, apparel, and home industries. Audits are being conducted in all major down producing regions, primarily Eastern Europe and Asia. With several brands committing to use RDS for 100% of their down supply, we expect these numbers to continue to grow over the next few years.
How much does it cost to use the RDS?
This is definitely a frequently asked question! There are both indirect and direct costs associated with certification and the use of certified products.
Direct costs are those charged by the Certification Body for the certification. The Certification Body will charge for the annual on-site audit and auditing conducted throughout the year of certification. Each stage in the production chain is typically responsible for paying for their own certification, although in some cases, a company may choose to pay for the certification of their suppliers. The cost of certification for a single site varies according to the size, types of production, time required for the on-site audit, and distance of the site from the nearest Certification Body. The direct costs may be lowered when sites are fully prepared for the audit. Contact a Certification Body to get the most accurate cost estimate, based on your specific situation.
Indirect costs are those costs incurred by the use of certification, usually time or money spent to be in compliance with the standards. These are usually highest in the first year, when companies may need to change their business practices to follow the requirements of the standard. In following years, the indirect costs will fall. Brands and retailers may also see slightly increased prices from RDS certified suppliers. This should be expected, considering the additional costs incurred by these certified companies. Over time, as adoption of the RDS continues to rise, costs should fall as more and more products are covered under the certification of sites.
What documents should I request from my RDS certified suppliers?
Before placing an order, check that your supplier has a valid scope certificate. This document should be issued by the Certification Body and will include a list of products covered by the certification. You should also check the date on the certificate, to make sure that it will still be valid when your products are ordered and delivered. You can check the credibility of the document by checking our online list of certified suppliers.
When making an order, you should request that your supplier send a transaction certificate (TC) with all orders. They will send the purchase documents to the Certification Body, and the Certification Body will issue a Transaction Certificate to you as the buyer of goods. You should check the document to make sure it matches the contents of the order you have placed. You can expect to receive the TC 2-4 weeks after receiving the product shipment. An electronic copy may be available sooner.