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The textile and fashion industry is subject to a great deal of criticism since fashion inspires the consumption of goods people do not necessarily need. A line of clothing only lasts one season, which is why it is extremely important to be proactive when it comes to creating ethical relationships with respect to the treatment of animals, design processes, body image ideals, mining or extraction of gemstones and transparency in the supply chain.

Many fashion businesses have made a conscious ethical decision not to use real animal fur (e.g. fox, sable, mink, rabbit) or exotic and wild-caught animal species (e.g. snake, crocodile and ostrich). We recognise this choice and we acknowledge that other businesses have chosen to take a different path. In businesses where animals are used for labour and/or production such animals must be treated with dignity and respect. No animal must be deliberately harmed or exposed to pain. Taking the lives of animals must at all times be conducted using the quickest, least painful and non-traumatic methods available. These methods must be approved by trained veterinarians and conducted by competent personnel only

Do not tolerate the maltreatment of animals; care for them and protected them from harm. Do not support the use of any endangered species listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. We recommend following the guidelines in the European Convention for the Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes.

Animals are sentient beings and humans have a responsibility to ensure that they have a life worth living. Do not support the use of down and feather plucked from living birds. The maltreatment of animals can cause severe reputational damage in relation to retailers, consumers and other stakeholders. Animal activists are very persistent in their work and have a record of greatly influencing decision makers.



  • Have an animal treatment policy that clearly states that garments containing animal-derived products are produced using abundant species that have been treated in accordance with international animal welfare standards, as well as animal welfare standards laid down by European law
  • Clearly label garments containing parts of animal origin as such, including the name of the part used (such as leather or natural fur) to ensure that consumers are not deliberately or unintentionally mis-sold goods they do not wish to purchase
  • Species farmed for consumer goods must be produced to standards equal to those found on highly regulated European farms. This includes Directive 98/58/EC on the protection of animals kept for framing, and the 1999 Council of Europe Recommendations on the keeping of animals for fur. Animals taken from the wild must have been afforded the protection of the International Agreement on Humane Trapping Standards and hunted in accordance with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s sustainable use policy
  • Where possible, reputable voluntary schemes should be used to ensure that the highest possible standard of care is given to all animals used for the purposes of fashion
  • Always obtain a guarantee that down and feather originate solely from dead birds


More topics

Human rights
Freedom of association
Forced labour
Child labour
Working hours
Labour contracts
Sick leave
Grievance system
Occupational health and safety
Corruption and bribery
Monitoring and evaluation