Fashion brands failing on animal welfare according to new report

Animal welfare group research suggests companies know very little about the conditions faced by animals within their supply chains

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Animal welfare continues to be overlooked by many of the world’s biggest fashion brands, according to new research from Four Paws.

Founded in Vienna in 1988 and now with offices and animal sanctuaries around the world, the organisation has presented its second Animal Welfare in Fashion report. Four Paws teamed up with brand rating platform Good on You to examine 111 international brands from nine different segments, including luxury, sports, fast fashion and outdoors, on their progress in terms of animal welfare.

Pioneer Stella McCartney and early sustainability adopters Armedangels and Mara Hoffman were among the top-rated brands, but most big-name luxury brands are still neglecting the issue. Luxury giants Hermes, Prada and Louis Vuitton were at the bottom of the list.

Most fashion brands still know extraordinarily little of the conditions faced by animals within their supply chains
Jessica Medcalf, Four Paws

“Our report shows that despite high community expectations for animal welfare, most fashion brands still know extraordinarily little of the conditions faced by animals within their supply chains. Brands talk the talk about caring for animals, but dig a little deeper and you’ll often find weak or patchy animal welfare policies or none at all,” says Jessica Medcalf, global corporate engagement manager – textiles at Four Paws.

Despite rapidly growing demand for more animal-friendly fashion, 32 per cent of the brands surveyed source wool or down that is certified by any animal welfare standard, and 57 per cent have any kind of animal welfare policy in place. Only 14 percent of the brands reviewed have improved their animal welfare rating since 2020, and the same low percentage of them have made any commitment to move away from certain animal-derived materials.

The key message here is, consumers have power to push the industry forward,” says Gordon Renouf, co-founder, Good On You. “The best-performing brands show us not only how the industry can do much better, but also that real change happens when each of us takes action.”

The Good On You brand rating system aggregated data from external rankings, certifications and standards systems, as well as publicly available information to assess a brand’s performance against each material issue. This data was assessed in respect to performance on animal welfare, including a brand's disclosure of animal-derived materials, a position on animal welfare within their corporate social responsibility reports, the transparency regarding their supply chains and their potential commitment to sustainably source non-animal derived materials.

Updated: December 14, 2021, 12:29 PM