Our Sustainability Memberships and Affiliations

The Responsible Down Standard

The Responsible Down Standard is a rigorous certification process that ensures the ethical treatment of birds.  While down and feathers are a by-product of the meat industry, it has been the down and feather industry that has taken the lead in ensuring that birds being slaughtered for their meat are not force-fed or live plucked and that at each step in the supply chain the Five Freedoms are respected and enforced. 

RDS certification follows the chain of custody from farm to final product, with each step in the supply chain undergoing annual audits.  Upon passing the audit, each facility is awarded a Scope Certificate that verifies compliance with the expectations set forth by RDS.  In addition to the Scope Certificate, Transaction Certificates (TC’s) are also issued with each sale and purchase of RDS down and feathers as it goes from slaughter-house, to processor, to bulk down supplier, to factory, to retail- providing a verifiable paper trail and reinforcing the integrity and traceability of the program.

Long before RDS was established as the standard for ensuring the ethical treatment of birds, SDS (then Down Decor) voluntarily underwent annual, third party audits to ensure that no live-plucking or force-feeding occurred in the supply chain.  SDS is fully committed to the ethical treatment of birds and we only buy down and feathers from verifiable sources. 

While it is a very small percentage of the world’s down supply that comes from live-plucking, it is nonetheless a serious issue and requires serious attention.  SDS is proud to be RDS certified and to offer RDS certification for our regular bulk down, DownTek Water Repellent Down, and DownTek ZeroPFC.   


The Sustainable Apparel Coalition is a unique and extraordinary alliance comprised of :

  • Companies of all sizes from all sectors of fashion, manufacturing, and retail
  • NGO’s dedicated to environmental, social, and trade issues
  • Sustainability experts
  • Affiliated trade organizations

This unprecedented collaboration has resulted in an equally unprecedented plan for sustainable production in the apparel, footwear, and home textiles industries.  Central to the plan is the Higg Index, a suite of assessment tools that allows brands, retailers, and manufacturers to measure the environmental, labor, and social impact they are making at every step of the supply chain.  These self-assessment tools enable members to evaluate areas of risk, areas of strength, and areas where improvements can be made.

SDS is a proud member of SAC and has implemented use of the Higg Index at both facilities in the USA, with plans to begin modules for assessment of our Taiwan and Nanjing facilities in 2016. 

By using the Higg Index, we were able to quantify our impact in a way that was not previously available to us.  As a result of our findings we have undergone facility renovations for cleaner air emissions and minimized use of electrical power, as well as implemented employee engagement and health initiatives, and developed a rigorous recycling program to minimize the amount of waste to local landfills. 

SAC is making a significant impact on the sustainability efforts in manufacturing and retail and SDS is excited to be part of a coalition comprised of individuals who understand that large scale and lasting change can only be achieved by working together.  

The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemical Programme

The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemical Programme has identified and fulfilled the need for a comprehensive list of restricted substances that includes in-depth research to identify potential hazards and audit protocols applicable cross-industry and throughout the supply chain to eliminate the hazards once identified. 

The audit protocols are an important feature to the ZDHC Programme as they provide a uniform and consistent process for identifying areas of risk and implementing the appropriate steps to eliminate the presence of harmful substances from every step of the supply chain. 

Another central aspect of the ZDHC Programme is a focus on water management.  Water efficiency and wastewater discharge quality are both integral to sustainable manufacturing.  In 2016 ZDHC released the Wastewater Quality Discharge Guideline, which provides a unified standard by which the manufacturing supply chain can gauge their degree of compliance and identify areas in need of improvement. 

SDS is a contributing member to ZDHC and is pleased to be part of the Roadmap to Zero. 


As a bluesign® system partner, SDS is committed to applying the bluesign® system which unites the entire textile supply chain to jointly reduce its impact on people and the environment. The Input Stream Management ensures that approved chemical products and raw materials are used in all steps of the manufacturing process. Substances posing risks to people and the environment are hence eliminated from the very beginning. On-site inspections verify the proper application of such chemical products and raw materials in controlled processes and ensure the responsible use of resources.


bluesign® system partners are responsibly acting parties of the textile supply chain committed to applying the bluesign® system. They aim to continuously improve their environmental performance and are focused on a sustainable future.


The Outdoor Industry Association is a non-profit trade association for the outdoor industry with members ranging from suppliers and manufacturers, to distributors and retailers. 

OIA is committed to not only promoting the growth and success of outdoor industry consumerism and retailers, but also plays an important role in government affairs, working directly with policy makers to stimulate conservation efforts and American manufacturing, as well as a role in environmental and social responsibility by identifying best practices and reducing the overall footprint.  

SDS has been a member of OIA since 2012 and actively participates in the Chemicals Management, Corporate Responsibility, and Sustainability Working Groups.  


The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit established by OIA in 2000 to increase awareness of and participation in outdoor recreation. Since its inception, the Outdoor Foundation has developed grant programs, education initiatives, and embarked on a variety of fundraising campaigns to support the goal of inspiring a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts. 

The Outsider’s Ball, held during the Summer Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, Utah, is a particularly successful event with the goal of raising both awareness regarding the challenges that come with introducing children to outdoor recreation - particularly those in urban environments, and support for projects and programs to encourage and engage youth who otherwise lack the opportunity to discover the great outdoors.

In early 2016, the Outdoor Foundation and OIA launched Parks4Kids, a campaign designed to support the Every Kid in a Park initiative in which every fourth-grader in the US has access to a free pass to visit a National Park.  Parks4Kids was borne from the realization that even with a free pass, there is still the matter of transportation and other expenses.  Parks4Kids provides a platform to sponsor grants to teachers, schools, and non-profits for projects ranging from day trips to camping trips.

SDS is proud to be a Bronze Sponsor for the 2016 Outsider’s Ball and is also excited to have sponsored a 4th grade class in our native Cincinnati to take a field trip to one of our local state parks.