What’s In Your Puffy? How To Support Responsibly Sourced Down | By Kim Fuller

Last Updated: December 6, 2023By

It may be the warmest jacket you own, or it’s the staple that stays hanging at the door during most seasons in states like Colorado and Minnesota. Known lovingly as your “puffy,” this garment may seem more like a longtime loyal friend than just a piece of outerwear. But do you really know what’s inside your down jacket?

Down is a natural by-product of the food industry, coming from geese and ducks. There has been controversy surrounding the down industry, but companies and consumers are increasingly paying more attention to supporting the use of humanely-sourced down.

“These animals can be treated humanely with plenty of space, quality food and access to water, or they can be force-fed to make Foie Gras and live plucked for their down,” explains Matthew Betcher, creative director of ALLIED Feather & Down. “Consumers should be aware of these harmful practices and select apparel that uses only humanely-sourced down.”

ALLIED is one of the pioneers in down supply chain transparency, having helped to create the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). Available to any supplier, manufacturer and brand who wants to ensure their down is responsible sourced, this certification incorporates a network of third-party auditors who certify down is sourced from humanely-treated animals and certifies this all the way through the final product.

“Until the RDS, it was almost impossible to educate the consumer about the positive attributes of down such as its incredibly sustainable potential without putting a target on your back,” Betcher says. “Now with this and other standards, we are able to work closely with our brands and build tools like TrackMyDown to help educate the consumer and dispel much of the misinformation out there. Down insulation is incredibly complex and now brands can be more open to working with it in new, unique and precise ways.”

Track Your Down

Knowing where your down comes from also ensures that the material has been processed sustainably, shares Betcher.

“While down can be amongst the most environmentally friendly insulations available, it can also be treated and processed with chemicals that can be incredibly harsh and damaging to both the down and the world around us,” he says. “So it’s not as easy to simply look for a certified material like that certified to the Responsible Down Standard.”

Check the hangtags on down jackets and sleeping bags to see if they contain ALLIED Down, says Betcher. Consumers can also look for the Track My Down hangtag.

“These hangtags will feature a lot number and a website URL that will allow consumers to see exactly what’s in their jacket or sleeping bag and where it was sourced and processed,” he says.

Any jacket or sleeping bag that has the ALLIED hangtag or a Track My Down hangtag will ensure the down is sustainably and humanely sourced and processed through the industry’s leading environmentally sustainable processing methods.

“ALLIED is proud to have been the first down supplier to join the bluesign system partners and remains the only down insulation fully approved as a bluesign approved ingredient,” Betcher explains. “The Track My Down hangtag will feature a Lot Number that will allow the consumer to go online and see exactly where their down comes from.”

You can try it out yourself by going to trackmydown.com and entering the designated number.

For those who are curious about the synthetic materials in puffy jackets, companies like PrimaLoft are making insulations from post-consumer recycled (PCR) material.

And for those that want to go down, it’s great to know that ALLIED is creating and representing what it means to down jackets and environmentally-friendly processing.

“We want to educate the consumer that not all down is created equal and that what’s inside your jacket or sleeping bag is just as important (if not more so) than what’s on the outside,” Betcher says.

“We want to educate the consumer that not all down is created equal and that what’s inside your jacket or sleeping bag is just as important (if not more so) than what’s on the outside,” Betcher says.

To accomplish this, ALLIED has continued to build out the Track My Down experience based on feedback and tracking the analytics.

“We want the consumer to feel confident that their choice has positive impact as well,” shares Betcher. “ALLIED also continues to push processing technology to lessen its impact even further and educate the consumer with socially responsible detergents on how to make their down product last a lifetime and reduce overall waste.”

ALLIED Feather & Down partners with a number of clothing, outerwear and gear companies, including The North Face, Helly Hansen, Eddie Bauer, Feathered Friends, Outdoor Research and Nau, to name a few. 


Photo courtesy of Cotopaxi.


Subscribe to Our Tribe

Stay up to date with Y+L News, Events and special announcements.

Leave A Comment