DECEMBER 6, 2021 – Despite growing consumer demand, animal welfare is not a trend yet for most of the biggest fashion brands. Earlier this year, FOUR PAWS released an international survey demonstrating that consumers’ concern about their wardrobe has changed significantly since COVID-19, with a third of those surveyed now seeking products with high animal welfare credentials or avoiding animal-based products all together.
The second and latest edition of the Animal Welfare in Fashion report now takes a closer look at the “opposite side of the counter” and while good progress has been made by the fashion industry overall, there is still a long way to go. For the report, FOUR PAWS teamed up with brand rating platform Good on You to rate 111 international brands from nine different fashion market segments such as Outdoor, Sports, Luxury, and Fast Fashion on their progress in animal welfare. High fashion pioneer Stella McCartney and early sustainability adopters Armedangels and Mara Hoffman are among the top-rated brands, while luxury giants Hermès, Prada, and Louis Vuitton found themselves at the bottom of the list.
Despite the rapidly growing demand for more animal-friendly fashion, less than a third (32%) of brands source wool or down certified by any animal welfare standard, and just over a half (57%) have an animal welfare policy at all. Above all, translating policy into action remains the biggest challenge.
“Our report shows that despite high community expectations for animal welfare, most fashion brands still know extraordinarily little of the conditions faced by animals within their supply chains. Brands talk the talk about caring for animals, but dig a little deeper and you’ll often find weak or patchy animal welfare policies or none at all.”
Jessica Medcalf, Global Corporate Engagement Manager – Textiles at FOUR PAWS
Luxury and Fast Fashion perform worst
While it is striking that Stella McCartney as a luxury brand is spearheading the ranking, the rest of the exclusive market segment are behind the curve when it comes to animal welfare. With a market segment average of only 23 percent, luxury brands achieve the lowest score, largely due to their high rate of wildlife exploitation and general lack of transparency. The absence of time-bound commitments to source certified wool and down and failure to create formal animal welfare policies are also reasons for brands to be found at the bottom of the list. The Fast Fashion segment, with an average of 53 percent, takes the penultimate place, while Sustainability Champions and the Outdoor segment come into first (76%) and second (71%) place when comparing the performance of the fashion market segments.
A slow but steady change
Since 2020, 14 percent of the brands reviewed have improved their animal welfare rating. The number of brands that now have a formal animal welfare policy in place is more than double the figure (57%) of the previous report, and 14 percent of brands have made a commitment to move away from certain animal-derived materials.
While American brands make up almost a quarter (24%) of the total brands in 2021 with a formal animal welfare policy, their average performance (52%) is lower than for brands across our total sample (60%). This indicates that U.S. brands still have a long way to go when it comes to addressing animal welfare in their supply chains.
Medcalf says, “The good news is that change is happening and it’s thanks to the hard work of many industry players, the fantastic animal-free material innovations becoming increasingly accessible, and people speaking up and voting with their wallets. While we are pleased to see more action taken by brands to better protect animals, millions of animals continue to suffer mulesing, live plucking, factory farming and more for fashion. Our report aims to get more fashion companies to step up.”
“Consumers want change, and most recognize that animal protection must be an essential component of ethical fashion. While we have a long way to go to improve conditions for the vast numbers of animals used in fashion, by working together, animal protection organizations, brands, retailers, producers and shoppers can all create a better world for animals.” says Danika Oriol-Morway, Executive Director of FOUR PAWS USA
“The key message here is, consumers have power to push the industry forward. The best-performing brands show us not only how the industry can do much better, but also that real change happens when each of us takes action. This report is one more way that Good On You’s ratings of thousands of fashion brands are empowering people all over the world to enact their values and buy better.” says Gordon Renouf, Co-Founder, Good On You
The “best” and “worst” brand lists and a full copy of the report are available here.
Over 1,000,000 people have now backed the FOUR PAWS #wearitkind program and the momentum keeps building. FOUR PAWS is committed to seeing the fashion industry recognize animal welfare as the critical third pillar of ethical fashion and measurement towards this goal will continue to be marked by FOUR PAWS upcoming editions of the Animal Welfare in Fashion Report.
How we rated brands
The Good On You brand rating system aggregates data from external rankings, certifications, and standards systems, as well as publicly available information to assess a brand’s performance against each material issue. This data was assessed in respect of the performance on animal welfare, including a brand´s disclosure of animal-derived materials, a position on animal welfare within their CSR reports, the transparency regarding their supply chains and their potential commitment to sustainably source non-animal derived materials. FOUR PAWS is a consultation partner to Good On You for the animal welfare section of the rating system.
|Brand Rating as it appears on the Good On You app||Scoring range (%)|
|It’s a Start||74-60|
|Not Good Enough||59-10|
|We Avoid / Very Poor||9 and below (incl. negative scoring)|
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organization for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need, and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organization advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy, and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam, as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.fourpawsusa.org