Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is an important part of a sustainable supply chain. Varner wishes to contribute to improve animal welfare practices in our industry by setting strict requirements for ourselves as well as for our suppliers. That is why we always ensure that our suppliers have our latest Varner Animal Welfare Policy and that they are up to speed on our requirements for traceability and documentation through the supply chain. 

We are focused on making the best choices for animals and people so that the customer is sure that the garment comes from responsible sources. Decisions in Varner Animal Welfare Policy are based on best industry practices and risk assessment for each production country and the specific challenges for this area. For Varner, this means a focus on traceability, health and safety, and a focus on animal welfare in farms and production units. These elements are also found in The Five Freedoms, which are recommendations set by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and are used as guidelines for all suppliers to Varner.  Varner does not purchase leather or animal fiber from areas known for poor animal handling, or for transporting animals under unethical conditions.

  • Traceability

    It is not enough to require suppliers to conduct responsible production, but you must also follow up on how the materials are shipped to ensure that they come from countries and areas we approve.

    Varner aims to have full traceability on all our animal fiber products.

    Therefore, all animal materials must have a certified origin, which means that all non-certified animal materials must have approved proof of origin along with documentation supporting this information.

    Animal welfare certifications

    In the summer of 2016, Varner joined the Textile Exchange. Through our membership, we initiated a new certification of our down products in accordance with the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). Today, 100% of our down products are RDS certified. This certification ensures that the birds have not been abused.

    We also use equivalent certification for wool products called Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). The first products with RWS went on sale in the fall of 2019 and in the years ahead we will increase the proportion of RWS certified wool in our products.

    When new kinds of certification schemes for other types of animal materials are introduced, we consider implementation and closely follow developments of these

  • Down and Feathers

    Varner strongly distances ourselves from the purchase of live-plucking of birds. This ban is something all our suppliers are obliged to follow. Varner uses the Responsible Down Standard to make sure that down and feathers only come from a responsible production where the animals are not picked alive or force fed. All Varner products containing virgin feathers and down are RDS certified and this is shown with the RDS logo on the hang tag.

    Responsible Down Standard

    Responsible Down Standard is a voluntary standard that ensures the well-being of geese and ducks used for down and feathers. The material is tracked throughout the supply chain to ensure that the product in the store contains certified material.

  • Leather

    Leather has a long and complex production chain, which makes it important to set clear requirements and expectations for the type of leather that can be used and where it has been processed.

    All leather used in our products must come from farm animals slaughtered for food production. Leather products should come from farm animals such as pigs, sheep and cows. The slaughter process must be done according to recognized standards.

    Tanneries (dyeing of the leather) are an important part of the production process. Varner requires traceability on all orders for leather and audits are carried out at the tanneries focusing on health and safety, use of chemicals and protective equipment.

    Varner has a ban on leather processed from tanneries in Bangladesh.

  • Wool

    Varner has a ban on the practice of mulesing. We do not buy merino wool from Australia unless there is approved documentation that the wool comes from sheep and farms that have not been exposed to mulesing. We mainly buy wool from South Africa which has excluded the practice of mulesing. We have even been to sheep farms in South Africa and experienced how they work with animal welfare.

    Responsible Wool Standard

    Responsible Wool Standard is a voluntary certification scheme that ensures good animal welfare and that the area the sheep are grazing on is handled responsibly. Wool coming from RWS certified farms is traced through the supply chain until the finished garment ends in stores. A garment with RWS certified wool can be recognized by a hang tag with the RWS logo on.

  • Bans

    Varner has strict prohibitions on the following:

    • Real fur
    • Angora rabbit hair
    • Mulesing
    • Live-plucking of birds
    • Skin and skin from exotic or endangered animals is prohibited. This includes leather from crocodiles, snakes, and seals.
    • Leather from animals that are skinned alive or boiled alive.
    • Leather treated in tanneries in Bangladesh.
    • Varner does not allow animal testing on cosmetics. All suppliers must comply with the EU Directive 2010/63 / EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

    Read more in our Animal Welfare Policy here.