How do we ensure good animal welfare?


Bik Bok, part of Varner, defines requirements, complies with standards and applies certification procedures so as to safeguard animal welfare when producing raw materials.

We define requirements for our suppliers by asking them to sign our Animal Welfare Policy. We also use third-party certification procedures to ensure that animal welfare is safeguarded.

“Textile Exchange’s Responsible Down Standard is one example of that kind of certification. All the down we buy is certified according to this standard, which aims to ensure that down and feathers come from animals that have not come to unnecessary harm. This is verified by a third party.”


Certification procedures implemented by a third party


Certification procedures are used so that we can ensure more effectively that animal welfare is good. Using certification procedures – which are voluntary – gives us some form of traceability and allows us to ensure that our suppliers safeguard animal welfare.

The Varner Animal Welfare policy defines requirements for our suppliers in respect of how they should work to safeguard animal welfare when they work in partnership with us. They have to sign these requirements before we embark upon partnership with them.




Ban on various animal fibres


Ensuring responsible fibre production can present a challenge. That’s why Varner’s sustainability department implements actions on the basis of risk assessments.

“If we’re unable to buy animal fibre from a good supplier, we simply don’t buy it,” adds the expert.


Responsible Wool Standard


Mulesing presents a risk when it comes to merino wool, especially in Australia. Varner only buys merino wool from Australia according to the Responsible Wool Standard, a voluntary standard that safeguards sheep welfare and the soil on which they graze, and which prohibits mulesing.

“So when we buy from a supplier, we need evidence that no mulesing is carried out on the farm where the animal fibres come from,” says Christiane. We imposed this ban in 2008, and since then we’ve started to demand that all merino wool from Australia – one of the biggest merino wool producers – is certified according to the Responsible Wool Standard.

We also buy merino wool from New Zealand and South Africa, where the mulesing issue isn’t widespread.

“It’s almost impossible to eliminate all risk, but measures and certification procedures allow us to deal with the risks so that animal welfare violations can be avoided,” concludes Christiane.