Canada Goose is a Canadian company that sells winter clothing. They are most known for their winter coats which have the reputation of being warm but incredible expensive. The Canada Goose Snow Mantra Parka costs a whopping $1595.00 USD . This parka and other similar models are made to withstand some of the coldest places on earth. Sadly, this warmth comes at the cost of the well-being of animals. While they do seem to have a decent grasp on the environmental aspect, Canada Goose fails to live up to the full scope of sustainability.
The stuffing of the parkas are made from the down and feathers of duck and geese (hence the company name). In 2019, Canada Goose committed to the global Responsible Down Standard, which aims to ensure that the down and feathers do not come from birds that have been subjected to unnecessary harm. Whether they are harmed unnecessarily or not, birds are still being killed to produce these parkas. On top of this, the fur lining on the hood of the parka comes from wild coyotes. The trappers that hunt these coyotes use painful steel traps which clamp the coyotes’ bodies until they starve or bleed to death. In 2020, Canada Goose announced that they would stop purchasing fur from newly killed coyotes and would instead use reclaimed fur starting in 2022. Either way, animals will suffer to make these coats. Canada Goose insists that real animal fur is optimal for warmth in freezing temperatures. They may be right, but the average consumer does not need a coat like this unless they are routinely working in extremely cold temperatures. Unfortunately, Canada Goose continues to market these fur-lined coats to the general public. If there are any positives to be gleaned from this, it would be that these raw materials from animals are biodegradable. The actual fabric of the parka consists of 85% polyester and 15% cotton. Canada Goose did recently develop a more sustainable parka which consists of recycled polyester and organic cotton, but the Snow Mantra Parka contains neither.
Based on their annual sustainability report, Canada Goose actually maintains a praiseworthy commitment to the sustainable production of their parkas. They have the ambitious goal of net-zero Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by the year 2025. They have also eliminated single-use plastics in all facilities they own or control. This nothing to scoff at considering they actually own and operate 8 of their manufacturing facilities. For the manufacturing facilities that they do not directly own, they have a clearly defined supplier code of conduct which is in line with their standards. Unfortunately, they do not provide a clear statement for how these suppliers are monitored.
To their credit, Canada Goose is transparent about the manufacturing locations of their products. As mentioned before, they own and operate 8 of their manufacturing facilities and 32 out of their 59 factories are located in Canada. These 8 facilities are responsible for the production of 45% of their overall output. This is definitely a positive because it allows them to maintain oversight and ensure that their sustainability standards are being met in production. Unfortunately, the working conditions at three of these factories has come under question as of late. Numerous workers at the locations in Winnipeg have come forward alleging an unsafe work environment, including inadequate sanitation and targeted intimidation of pro-union staff. While employees from their other factories in Canada are unionized, these workers (largely immigrant women) are not. Based on this disturbing Vice article, it seems as though Canada Goose management is taking advantage of the lack of knowledge these immigrants have about their rights.