Moose Knuckles + Bonaventure Parka

overall rating:

1.5

planets

Avery Kaufman
4/3/2022
No items found.

Moose Knuckles, founded in 2009, is a Canadian brand that specializes in making coats and other sportswear such as pants and shorts. They are extremely proud of their Canadian heritage and claim to ethically source their materials from local manufacturers. With its 3 factories and 200+ employees, Moose Knuckles is not a huge operation, but big enough to have the resources to publish its labor and sustainability practices. The craftsmanship page is thorough enough to include photos of specific workers, including a sewing machine operator, and photos from some of the stages of their production process. While a picture is worth a thousand words, these photos do not ensure fair labor practices and their lack of information about manufacturers and where some of their products are sourced from coupled with their use of animal products only allows me to rate them a 1.5, even if they are being as “ethical” as possible when it comes to their products.

What it's made of:

0.5

This coat is made from 74% cotton and 26% nylon. Cotton is known as one of the worst materials for the environment with cultivation of it causing soil degradation and necessitating a lot of water and energy. Since there is no indication that the cotton used is recycled, I will assume it is not meaning that the cultivation of this cotton requires fertilizers and pesticides. These cause runoff that can contaminate our water sources killing wildlife and ultimately, humans. Nylon is a synthetic material, derived from fossil fuels like petroleum, that's manufacturing process is incredibly energy-intensive. Also, the process releases nitrous oxide, 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and similar to cotton the water waste from factories can harm wildlife in surrounding water sources. Moreover, these materials are not good for the environment and Moose Knuckles would better be able to follow through on their stated values if their materials were at least recycled. Following this trend, Moose Knuckles also uses animal products such as fox furs and grey duck down. While they do have vegan products, their animal products are “ethically” sourced, which I will talk more about in the next section. For these reasons, I rate them a 0.5 in this section.

How it's made:

1.5

While there isn’t much information about its manufacturing and product sourcing process, from Moose Knuckles’ website it is clear that most of the supply chain is based in Canada – with imported components. Any imported materials will be creating emissions through the shipping process, but its dedication to supporting local manufacturers and employing Canadians is admirable. The coats are made by hand and require 74 operators and 90 craftspeople to create the final product. As mentioned in the previous section, Moose Knuckles does use animal fur and down to make their coats. While this practice is one that I personally take issue with, they seem to be sourcing their animal products in the most “ethical” way. The down used has been certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), overseen by the Textile Exchange. RDS ensures that animals enjoy the “five freedoms” including but not limited to, freedom from hunger and thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor and freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering. Also, the Textile Exchange’s purpose is “to re-make global textile and fiber markets to deliver environmental and social sustainability”. Similar to the down, the fur used by Moose Knuckles is certified to protect animal welfare by the Saga/WelFur program. This program addresses breeding practices, animal health, environmental management, and much more. From the websites of these auditing organizations, it seems like they have covered their bases when it comes to certification with the Welfur protocols even being developed by universities in Europe such as the University of Eastern Finland. Also, they sometimes use other animal products such as wool and leather, which are also ethically sourced and third-party verified. Nevertheless, none of this is about their labor practices and there is little to no information about how they ensure fair standards at their manufacturers. They are a company with good values, and since they are a bit on the smaller side, with only 3 main factories, getting those factories certified is likely not top of mind. Still, I think using an auditing organization to check their factories is pertinent, and for that reason and the fact that since it is not stated that their factories run on renewables they must run on fossil fuels, I rate them a 1.5. 

Who makes it:

5.5

From the easy-to-read website, Moose Knuckles’ owners make it clear that they care. With vegan and non-vegan options, they seem to care about their consumer’s needs. As stated in previous sections, Moose Knuckles is part of the Textile Exchange which is a step in the right direction, as well as being a signatory to the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge, the 2025 Recycled Polyester Challenge, and the UN Global Compact pledge. While it is important to have good values as a company, it has to be backed up by action to genuinely mean anything. I hope they follow through on their pledges to use recycled polyester and more sustainably sourced cotton. Saying “sustainably sourced cotton” can literally mean anything especially since a lot of companies take advantage of the ambiguity of the term, ut according to the Textile Exchange this pledge is “Addressing the land, water, and social impacts of cotton supply chains will also move the textile industry closer to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals”. Also, views may differ on whether using animal products makes a company unsustainable, but they are sourcing their animal products in the most ethical way possible. Moose Knuckles has great values and good ideas for the future, so for now I will rate them a 1.5, but hopefully, they will follow through with these goals in the future.