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Canada Goose is down with sustainable materials alternatives

Canada Goose brand parkas in a store in New York
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When someone buys a Canada Goose parka or jacket, they expect luxury. That’s the company’s brand proposition: performance luxury. Now customers can add "sustainable alternatives to conventional materials" to their list of expectations when they add a Canada Goose garment to their shopping carts.

Earlier this month, the Canadian outdoor apparel company committed to a plan that will see it move to source 90 percent of the materials it uses in its products from a list of preferred fibers and materials (PFMs), as laid out by the nonprofit Textile Exchange, by the end of 2025. The announcement was part of the release of the company’s 2020 sustainability report.

To establish a better understanding of where it needed to improve the materials it uses, Canada Goose evaluated every one it uses — including nylon, polyester, cotton, wool, down, trims, linings and interlinings — to find versions that have the lowest impact. In fact, that evaluation is a key part of the design process.  

"It was important to create this process so that we could execute upon it immediately. PFMs are prioritized at the setup of every product we make — we consider what the material is in order to determine how we will build the style," said Niamh McManus, design director at Canada Goose, in emailed responses to questions for this story. "The world is changing, and we need to make an impact — quickly."

Canada Goose also worked with Textile Exchange to establish an internal PFM process and education series. According to the sustainability report, employees from 13 teams within the company — including those from innovation, compliance, sourcing, merchandising and other areas — have taken part in this process to become better equipped to select, source, design and communicate with a deep understanding of PFM management and credibility.

The company also recently reiterated its 2025 net-zero commitment for its Scope 1 and 2 emissions, as part of the 2020 sustainability report. During a press briefing ahead of the report's release, engineer and scientist Bill Nye, who serves as a sustainability adviser to Canada Goose, commended the company for its sustainability goals. "The main thing that impresses me about what Canada Goose is doing is the timing," said Nye, referring to the company’s relatively aggressive 2025 net-zero goal as forward-thinking.

In addition to the net-zero and PFM goals, the company plans to end its purchase of new fur by 2022. The fur it sources is primarily used for the trimmings for some of its outerwear products. And according to its sustainability report, Canada Goose is close to meeting that goal, which it first announced in 2020

For the fur it still uses, Canada Goose is using reclaimed material. To source it, the company launched both an in-store and online buy-back program, where consumers can exchange their fur trim for a gift card on a future purchase. 

"We’re also closing a loop within our own warranty program, reusing returned fur on warranty products — tying back to our exploration of new and innovative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle across all areas of our operations," said Gavin Thompson, vice president of corporate citizenship at Canada Goose, in emailed responses to questions for this story. "Our move towards reclaimed fur transforms the way fur is sourced and used in the industry."

Using reclaimed fur doesn’t seem to be common practice for fashion companies. But in recent years, a number of companies — Gucci, Versace and Diane von Furstenberg among them — have shifted to using faux fur or moving away from selling items with fur altogether.

 

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