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Down is one of the most important raw materials for Moncler. For this reason, all suppliers are not only required to meet the highest quality standards, but also to act responsibly and with full respect of animal welfare.
To ensure animal welfare, Moncler demands and verifies that its down suppliers comply with the strict requirements laid down in the Moncler technical DIST Protocol (Down Integrity System & Traceability), available on the page dist.moncler.com. The DIST protocol, first implemented in 2015, regulates farming standards, animal welfare, down traceability and technical quality. Moncler only purchases down that is DIST-certified.
Among the basic requirements that must be respected across the entire supply chain:
• down must be exclusively sourced from farmed white geese and as a by-product of the food chain
• no form of live-plucking or forced feeding is permitted.
The protocol, drafted taking into consideration the peculiarities of the Moncler’s supply chain, is the result of open and constructive dialogue within the scope of a multi-stakeholder forum set up in 2014, which considered the expectations of the various stakeholders to ensure a scientific and holistic approach to the topic of animal welfare and product traceability. The forum, chaired by a professor of Management at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice with specific knowledge and expertise in sustainability issues, consists of Moncler people, experts from the Department of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Milan, the Polish National Institute of Animal Husbandry Koluda Wielka, Compassion in World Farming (a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the welfare of farm animals), representatives from certification and consulting companies (SGS, Control Union, IDFL and KPMG), and, starting in 2023, following the inclusion in the DIST protocol of the modules on human rights and environmental compliance, representatives of international organisations specialised in these issues. From the belief that dialogue is a source of improvement, Moncler organised the ninth multi-stakeholder forum in March 2023. At the forum, the new updates to the Protocol aimed at further developing the document were discussed, which also includes three specific modules on human rights, the environment and the DIST down recycling procedure.
The DIST Protocol assesses animal welfare from an innovative perspective. In addition to the traditional approach that focuses on the environment in which the animal lives (in terms of availability of food and water, adequate space for movement, etc.), the Protocol, in line with the European Commission guidelines, also assesses welfare by carefully observing the animal through the so-called Animal-Based Measures (ABMs)5. ABMs allow a direct assessment of an animal’s condition, by observing how geese respond to the different factors of the environment in which they live (outcome approach). The DIST Protocol features nine ABMs including, among others, those designed to identify unusual behaviours or aspects such as plumophagia6, dislocated or broken wings, feather irregularities, abnormal beak colour.
These situations can be associated with environments in which welfare of geese is compromised by various factors, including high animal density, inadequate diet, lack of pasture or inappropriate animal management.
Another important, innovative indicator introduced in the Protocol is the evaluation of the human-animal interaction through the response to a specific test (the HAR test, Estep and Hetts, 1992).
All down suppliers must strictly comply with the Protocol’s requirements to ensure raw material traceability, animal welfare and the highest quality at every link of the down supply chain. To verify compliance with the principles set out in the Protocol, Moncler constantly carries out strict field audits throughout its almost entirely vertically-integrated down supply chain. The down supply chain includes different types of entities: geese farms; slaughterhouses where animals are exclusively slaughtered for meat production and where down is subsequently collected; and companies responsible for washing, cleaning, sorting and processing the raw material. Façon manufacturers who realise the finished products downstream the down purchasing process also have to be taken into account.
To ensure the utmost impartiality of audits:
• audits are commissioned and paid directly by Moncler and not by the supplier
• the certification process is carried out by a qualified third-party entity, whose auditors are trained by veterinarians and zootechnicians of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Milan
• the certification authority is in turn audited by another accredited external certification body.
In particular, in 2022 136 third-party onsite audits were carried out, verifying all entities in the supply chain. Where auditors found minor non-compliances, farms were required to take timely corrective action before obtaining certification. No cases of live-plucking of animals or forced-feeding were found during audits at any farm.
To transparently communicate the Company’s commitment in this area, a tag indicating “DIST-certified down” is included in all Moncler’s jackets. This important result was achieved by extending down traceability according to DIST Protocol across the entire supply chain, all the way through the finished product.
In order to promote constant improvement and therefore significantly impact animal welfare, Moncler is committed to involve and raise awareness throughout its supply chain, including through training activities. In this regard, in 2022 training on the traceability procedure continued for façon manufacturers of outerwear and knitwear, with four training courses totalling approximately 20 hours. In addition, several online training sessions were held in 2022 with the auditors of the third-party specialised firm that conducts on-site audits focusing on the requirements present in the new modules on human rights and environmental compliance.
The DIST Protocol is a stringent and innovative document and is intended to remain so. This is why it is constantly evolving and is subject to periodic review through the multi-stakeholder forum. However significant these results may be, Moncler has no intention to stop there. Rather, it is determined to continue to strive to promote increasingly ambitious standards, while welcoming the insights provided by stakeholders.
Stone Island is also committed to ensuring that the down used in its products is obtained in a manner respectful of animal welfare. The company purchases only duck down certified according to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) protocol. From 2023 all Brand’s suppliers must be compliant with the social and environmental requirements that will be verified through audits.
With regards to other materials of animal origin, the Moncler Group does not use rabbit, including angora rabbit, and any other material from species at risk of extinction included in the CITES categories. Furthermore, by 2025 the Group is committed to only use merino wool that is certified mulesing free.
The Moncler Group is aware of the growing importance of issues relating to the traceability of products and production processes – issues that are becoming key determinants in business strategies, with a view to both sustainability and operational choices linked to the visibility and monitoring of the supply chain. These issues are also becoming increasingly important to clients.
From this awareness, the Group’s committed to trace its key raw materials, i.e. nylon, polyester, cotton and wool, by 2023, in addition to down, traced since 2015.
A working group was thus launched, mainly involving collaboration between the Operation &
Supply Chain, IT and Sustainability teams, to reconstruct the origin of strategic raw materials.
The project involved an initial phase of analysis and selection of the IT systems and tools necessary to collect and trace the data and information of the various supply chains. Then, a subsequent phase was launched, to define the process methods for tracing strategic raw materials and the required level of information detail according to their nature. The result of this phase led to the identification of an approach diversified according to the type of raw material, taking into account the technical and production peculiarities and the complexity of each supply chain.
In particular, raw materials of natural or animal origin are traced starting from the cultivation or breeding stages, while those of synthetic origin are traced starting from the spinning phase. The goal is to trace at least 80% in volumes of yarns and fabrics for nylon, polyester, cotton and wool in addition to the 100%, already traced, for down.
Depending on the types of materials and the maturity of technical solutions on the market, activities and projects to verify the reconstructed information were then examined, also through laboratory tests and certificates.
Moncler announced in January 2022 that it will phase out the use of fur in all its collections, adhering to the Fur-Free Retailer Policy. In 2022 the Company stopped buying fur from animals farmed or captured in the wild exclusively for this
purpose. The last collection to feature fur will be Fall/Winter 2023.
This decision is consistent with Moncler’s ongoing commitment to responsible business practices and builds on the Brand’s constructive and long-term
engagement with the Italian animal rights organisation LAV as a representative of the Fur Free Alliance.
Stone Island, that has not used fur since 2018, has pledged not to use it also in the future.
5 Animal-Based Measures are indicators that can be directly observed on animals and that assess their actual conditions in relation to their ability to adapt to specific farming environments. These measures include physiological, pathological and behavioural indicators.
6 Plumophagia is an abnormal behaviour in avian species that consists of pecking the feathers of another bird or tearing them with the beak.