As part of our commitment to living our ideals, Esprit believes in animal welfare and the human treatment of animals. All products derived from animals must be in accordance with our Supplier Code of Conduct and the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) Five Freedoms.
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 living birds. To ensure a high level of transparency, all Esprit products containing feathers and down have been certified according to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS). The standard, developed by the non-profit organization Textile Exchange, approaches all links in 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.
To enhance our work in guaranteeing the welfare of sheep, Esprit worked with Textile Exchange and other brands to develop the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). The RWS 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 (FAWC). The standard also focuses on sustainable management of grazing land. In 2017, Esprit funded the RWS Kickstarter program to support the implementation of the RWS in textile supply chains. We are currently working on bringing RWS 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. This is a challenging target as of now only a few farms a RWS-certified.
Additionally, since 2012, Esprit has expressly prohibited surgical mulesing of sheep in our supply chain.
Esprit has banned angora (rabbit) wool from all our products since November 2013. The conditions under which angora rabbits are raised violate the Five Freedoms and therefore Esprit’s values as a company.
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 the lists from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) or the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
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 and 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.