LONDON — The International Fur Federation has lambasted a decision by Canada Goose to stop using real fur and has called on the brand’s president and chief executive officer Dani Reiss to stand up to animal rights groups and reconsider his decision.
In a sharply worded letter addressed to Reiss, IFF CEO Mark Oaten said the federation was “shocked and disappointed at your decision,” and wondered what the brand planned to use in place of natural fur.
“Will it be plastic fake fur made from petroleum? And are you going to join the list of brands that have been terrorized by animal rights organizations, and are now leading and contributing to the micro-plastics crisis using synthetic materials choking up our planet and entering our food chain?”
Canada Goose, which has seen explosive growth and helped pioneer the luxury outerwear category, confirmed on Thursday it would stop using fur in its products, a move driven by its purpose-based platform, Humanature.
The company will stop purchasing fur by the end of this year, and cease manufacturing with fur no later than the end of 2022.
“The decision is driven by our purpose and our focus on sustainability and innovation,” Reiss told WWD in an interview. “We know that consumers are putting more importance on brands and their sustainability.
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Canada Goose said it worked with Humane Canada, a federation of humane societies, on the effort. The brand had been under pressure from anti-fur groups for some time to stop using the material, and in April 2020 said it would stop using new fur and would only use reclaimed fur. While anti-fur groups applauded the move at the time, some criticized the company for not going far enough by banning fur entirely.
In the IFF letter, Oaten accused Canada Goose of abandoning its earlier commitments to work with fur from “regulated and approved government conservation programs, including wild sourced fur. Thanks to influenced decisions like your brand, those animals’ (pelts) will end up being wastefully discarded.”
Oaten also highlighted the impact he believes the decision will have on the supply chain, ranging from “indigenous and rural communities whose livelihood depend on the trade, to craftsmen, farmers, trappers, conservationists and their families. These are the ‘guardians of the land’ and is the loss of their jobs the sustainability Canada Goose wants to promote now?”
He also noted that the customer appears to have been cut out of the equation, and asked Canada Goose to leave it up to the end consumer to decide whether or not they want to wear fur.
“The reality is that you have allowed yourself to be bullied and controlled by the animal right groups, and their agenda, which extends much deeper than natural fur and goes into leather, wool, silk and feathers,” the letter says.
“We urge you to show resilience and leadership and to stand for what you genuinely have advocated for and promoted for years. And what you know to be truly sustainable. The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter after oil, CEOs like yourself can make a huge difference in reversing the damages or adding onto them. Make the right choice and reconsider your decision,” Oaten added.
The IFF was not alone in criticizing the decision, and also claimed that Canada Goose management had been bullied for selling coats with real fur.
On Thursday, Mike Brown, head of sustainability for the Natural Fibers Alliance, said: “Canada Goose’s announcement comes after years of smears and harassment, including targeting the company’s CEO at his own home….Decreasing the use of natural materials is not progressive given that synthetic fashion is one of the leading global polluters of our oceans. Canada Goose will now face renewed attacks for using sustainably sourced down and wool. We hope Canada Goose reconsiders this unwise policy that it appears it was bullied into making.”
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