As part of our commitment to living our ideals, Esprit believes in animal welfare and the humane treatment of animals.
All products derived from animals must be produced in accordance with our Code of Conduct and the Five Freedoms of the Farm Animal Welfare Committees (FAWC).
Esprit is a fur free company and part of the Fur Free Retailer Program. This means that we only use fake fur in our products.
In accordance with our Animal Welfare Policy, Esprit strongly condemns force-feeding animals and plucking feathers and down from live birds. To ensure a high level of transparency, all Esprit products containing feathers and down have been certified according to the Responsible Down Standard. The standard, developed by the non-profit organization Textile Exchange, examines all stages of the supply chain - from duck and goose farms to Esprit itself - to ensure that no live-plucked down or feathers are used in Esprit’s garments. Since fall 2016, all Esprit down products are certified according the Responsible Down Standard.
To enhance our work in guaranteeing the welfare of sheep, Esprit worked with Textile Exchange and other brands to develop the Responsible Wool Standard. The Responsible Wool Standard seeks to ensure that the sheep in our supply chain are treated with respect and in accordance with the Five Freedoms of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee. The standard also focuses on sustainable management of grazing land. In 2017, Esprit funded the Responsible Wool Standard Kickstarter program to support the implementation of the standard in textile supply chains. We are currently working on bringing Responsible Wool Standard certified wool into our products, and we have set the goal that 50% of our virgin sheep wool will be sourced according to the Responsible Wool Standard by 2022.
Additionally, since 2012, Esprit has expressly prohibited surgical mulesing of sheep in our supply chain.
Since November 2013, angora wool has been banned from all Esprit products. The ban on angora wool will remain in place until proper controls and transparency can be established to assure the humane treatment of angora rabbits.
Esprit has strict rules for the use of leather in our products. We require our leather to be a by-product of the food industry, and our suppliers must be able to trace raw hides and skins back to their country of origin. We do not source leather from endangered or threatened species that appear on lists from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature or the Convention of International Trade in endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
One challenge we have come up against is that there is not one overall apparel industry standard for leather that includes animal welfare. Textile Exchange also identified this issue and in early 2017 Textile Exchange launched the Responsible Leather Initiative which aims to address the many issues found within the global leather supply chain, including animal welfare as well as social and labor issues and deforestation. The initiative takes a multi-stakeholder approach that brings together interested parties to help develop the best possible solutions for the industry. Esprit is part of the group because we think it is important to find a solution for the challenges in the leather supply chain.
Esprit has decided to discontinue selling mohair by mid-2019, as the humane treatment of the mohair goats, especially in South Africa can’t be assured. As long as the treatment of mohair goats cannot be humane and in line with our animal welfare policy, we will continue to keep the ban in place.