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What Is Responsibly Sourced Down?

Any material that you sleep close to should be just as closely scrutinized. Sharing the stories behind what our materials are and where they come from has been important to us since day one. Here, we’re going to discuss what down fill is, and explore how it can be ethically sourced.

Loved for its airy loft and hallmark ability to regulate temperature, down fill has long been a gold standard in luxury bedding. It’s commonly used to fill pillows and duvet inserts, along with decorative pillows, and even upholstered, pillowy headboards. Oftentimes, feathers are also used with down to provide added support.  

Unfortunately, not all down is created equal. Despite the popularity of down and feather fill, most people don’t know there are many unethical practices in sourcing this fill, most notably the inhumane treatment of the animals. 

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What Is Down, And Where Does It Come From?

Down is a natural filling found in bedding essentials like pillows and duvet inserts, used for its softness and fluffiness, which gives your bedding a lofty, light quality. Down is the fluffy, light coating found clustered beneath goose or duck feathers. Down naturally keeps birds warm by providing insulation, and down fill does the same for you when you sleep with a down duvet insert. Its ability to trap heat against the body is why down has long been considered the favorite choice for temperature regulation and support. Down has also been considered a superior product for pillows, because of its soft, naturally pillowy nature. 

Can Down Be Sourced Ethically?

Because down comes from animals, it's important to understand how it is sourced. The good news is that yes, down can be sourced ethically. There are third-party organizations that protect animal welfare, ensure traceability, and enforce the banning of inhumane practices like live-plucking and force-feeding. 

Businesses have the ability to choose ethical, cruelty-free practices—and at Boll & Branch, we always look for the most responsible ways to source our materials. From the beginning, we’ve believed that there is a better way to make bedding, and choosing better at every step is the only option. That’s why we source the finest down and feathers that are IDS or RDS certified—two programs that uphold the highest standards when verifying the ethical sourcing and traceability of down and feathers.

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The International Down Standard (IDS) And Responsible Down Standard (RDS)

The International Down Standard (IDS) certification is granted by the IDFL, the global leader in auditing and testing filled textiles. IDS certified down and feathers are inspected and tested by IDFL to ensure that each step in the supply chain, from farm to finish, meets the highest standards of transparency, quality, and animal welfare. 

The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) is promoted internationally by the Textile Exchange. RDS certified down and feathers meet the same rigorous standards in animal welfare requirements and traceability as those with the IDS certification. 

For down and feathers to attain the IDS or RDS certification, a multi-step Audit & Certification Process must be completed to ensure all required standards are met. 

Benefits Of Ethical Down

With cruelty-free down and feathers, you can enjoy the natural softness, loft, and warmth of this incredible material—all with the peace of mind that your pillows and duvets are made ethically and sustainably.

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Alternatives To Down

If down isn’t right for you, there are various down alternative options, such as PrimaLoft®—a premium, down-like fiber that mimics the weight and gentle loft of down in an innovative, hypoallergenic fill. 

While down is often discounted because of its natural properties and allergies, we triple-wash our down and feathers to be 2x cleaner than the U.S. government standard, using the highest-grade, environmentally-safe chemistry to guarantee the common properties that often cause allergies are removed.

All Ethical Products, All The Time

As the first 100% organic Fair Trade Certified™ bedding company, our commitment to better practices doesn’t stop with our fill types. Today, we continue to source the finest 100% organic cotton fibers on earth, each meeting international standards for organic farming. By using sustainable raw materials, we are able to guarantee a softer, more luxurious product. Our difference makes a difference, so you can sleep better at night.