Responsible down

Down is an incredible natural material, but if the cost of using it is the mistreatment of animals, we're not interested.

100% of the down in Kathmandu products is certified under the Responsible Down Standard.

According to the 2016 Textile Exchange Preferred Fiber Market Report, we’re the world’s fourth largest user of certified ethically sourced down.


Freedom from hunger and thirst

Ready access to freshwater and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.

Freedom from discomfort

Providing an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable resting area.

Freedom from pain, injury or disease

Prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.

Freedom to express normal behaviour

Providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind.

Freedom from fear and distress

Ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

100% ethically sourced goose and duck down

The Responsible Down Standard launched in 2014 as the world’s most comprehensive, third-party certified animal welfare and traceability standard. Responsible Down Standard protects an animal’s 'Five Freedoms'. This means no force feeding and definitely no live plucking. Responsible Down Standard follows the down from farm to product, so consumers can be confident that the birds live healthy lives, and don’t suffer from pain, fear nor distress.

Our efforts have been recognised by animal welfare organisation, Four Paws. They ranked Kathmandu fourth among the outdoor brands they evaluated for animal welfare practices in their Cruelty-Free Down Challenge.

Down is a by-product

The down that is used in outdoor products is a by-product of raising geese and ducks for meat. For the farmer, the value of the down is only around 5%. The majority of the value is in the meat. Even if all apparel and bedding manufacturers stopped using down today, goose and duck farming would continue, but the down and feathers would probably end up in landfill.

Instead, the feather and down is cleaned, sanitized and recycled into down jackets and other apparel products. As part of the outdoor industry, we are then given the opportunity to influence the living standards for these animals.

Collaboration has more impact

The down supply chain is complex — the raw material goes from farms to processors to agents and manufacturers. Tracking each of these stages would be a big job for one brand. That’s why industry-wide collaborations like Responsible Down Standard are the best way to make a big change.

By working with the Responsible Down Standard, we’re not just addressing the welfare of animals in our own supply chain, we’re supporting a shift across the entire industry to push for better animal welfare practices.

Diagram showing our journey too 100% responsible down, which we achieved in 2016

Natural down beats synthetics on warmth for weight

Down has unique characteristics that cannot be replicated by any man-made material. Synthetic insulation is an alternative, but it doesn’t quite measure up when it comes to giving you warm, lightweight, compressible, durable insulation.

Down has a lower carbon footprint

Down and feather products come from nature, so the manufacturing process leaves a lower carbon footprint than synthetic materials derived from our finite crude oil resources.

In the end, it’s up to you

You can be confident that any Kathmandu down product you choose is not just the best material when it comes to warmth to weight, it’s ethical too.

But the choice is always yours. If you prefer to avoid animal products, we do have some great synthetic options, like the award winning Lawrence Jacket, which uses PrimaLoft ThermoPlume synthetic insulation.

Still curious?

Want to know more? Our product expert, Daan Dijkstra, explores the power of down fill power here

Want to know more about how down is farmed and processed? Check out the Responsible Down Standard website for more information. 

The Outdoor Industry Association has helped develop lots of standards around animal welfare. Learn more about their work.

Find out more about our Responsible Materials initiatives below