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Animal Welfare

Animal
Welfare

For us, it is crucial to know where animal derived materials used in manufacturing our products are sourced from and whether these animals are properly treated.

Our first challenge is ensuring animal material traceability: identifying each stakeholder and tracing the whole supply chain is a meticulous work which requires regular audits.

Our second challenge is to make sure animals live in decent conditions: working with experts and ensuring that abusive practices are banned is a crucial step in selecting our providers.

In combining all these actions, we undertake to offer products made from animal material with certified thermal, insulation et technical properties and exclusively sourced from animal-friendly farms.

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Merino wool

In 2017, we identified merino wool as a core material for Forclaz considering how perfectly its natural properties fulfil trekkers’ needs.

Merino wool benefits

When selecting our providers, ensuring good living and shearing conditions for the sheep from which our products wool is sourced seemed obvious to us.

South African farms quickly became our first choice, because unlike other exporting countries they had banned mulesing since 2007.
Mulesing is a painful surgical procedure generally done without anaesthesia, which involves removing skin from the animal buttocks to prevent parasitic infection.

Merina wool

Therefore in 2018, we travelled to meet a consortium of South African farmers to ensure that:

Merinos are farmed outdoors in decent conditions, i.e., adapting the herd size to the parcel area to prevent land depletion for future generations.

Shearing experts visit these farms several times a year to ensure the process is as animal friendly as possible.

Wool quality is certified by an independent control laboratory.

Experts

It was enough to persuade us to work closely with these farmers through long term agreements to ensure economic stability of their business.

Today, our products are made from South African wool, and we strive to ensure a 100% traceability all the way to the livestock farms.

Down
and feather

The feather stuffing that we have been using in our puffer jackets and bivvy bags for several years has been praised for its thermal qualities, lightness, and compactness.

However, although conducting regular audits of our main providers gives the assurance of good farming conditions, we were still unsure about the origin of some batches of feathers.

To alleviate the doubts, we leveraged the expertise of the “Textile Exchange” network, whose “RDS” certification protocol ensures the welfare of ducks and geese through the whole down and feather supply chain.

This certification requires:
  • Animal welfare through a holistic approach, from hatching to slaughter

  • Strict prohibition on animal force-feeding or taking down of feathers from live birds

  • Farm to shop full chain traceability

Learn more about RDS certification
Logo rds
La plume

After 2 years of working on traceability in this sector, we are proud to announce that 100% of our down and feather products are RDS certified.

Also note that if you do not want to wear feather products,  wadding also has many benefits!

Leather

Our latest ongoing work focuses on the leather of our footwear — and it must be one of the most complex, as leather industry remains very opaque.

Indeed, manufacturing a shoe can require different qualities of leather — full grain and nubuck being the most noble. Split-grain leather — which is cheaper — is also used in some parts of the shoe but remains hardly traceable.

Hence tracking these material supply chains is a long-term work we are committed to pursue.

Hide layer separation: a guide to leather grades
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Hide layer separation: a guide to leather grades

FULL GRAIN LEATHER Used for its strength, flexibility, breathability, and patina.

NUBUCK (sanded full grain) Used for its softness, flexibility, breathability, and aesthetics.

SPLIT-GRAIN LEATHER Used for its strength, abrasion resistance and easy conditioning.

Our project consists in 3 steps:

Knowing precisely where each leather grade used in our footwear comes from

Since recently, we have been working with providers who implemented a leather part identification system. Each ID code allows us to trace it back to the cow: date of birth, gender, breed, owner, slaughterhouse, origin country and region where it was farmed.

Selecting farmers whose animal welfare match ours values

Though the exact criteria have yet to be defined, we already know that we will only pick farms ensuring decent living and slaughtering conditions. To our knowledge, 100% of our leather comes from cows used for the food production industry.

Prioritizing European production to mitigate our impact

By having local industries manufacturing our products marketed in Europe, we expect to mitigate the CO₂ impact generated by the transit of our components between each manufacturing stage. Today we already rely on European solutions to manufacture our leather footwear: tanning takes place in Spain, cutting and assembling in Romania. Now we just have to pick European farms complying with our traceability and animal welfare standards!

Leather cutting

This project also allowed us to identify new challenges for a more sustainable development:

  • How can we combine leather performance and traceability in these ethical and technical products while maintaining affordability for most people?

  • How can we mitigate the environmental impact of leather processing? (Shading, coating and more.)

  • How can we reduce material loss in leather cutting?

  • Should we cease leather footwear production (with high carbon emissions) in favour of more sustainable materials?

For sportswomen and men who do not want to wear leather, we also offer several models of textile footwear.

Together
we can go further!

To help reducing the waste of animal materials, we must extend our product lifespan by properly conditioning and repairing them when needed.

Material conditioning and repairing tips
Louis, Footwear Product Engineer

Louis, Footwear Product Engineer

Since its creation, Forclaz has been committed to making progress in the vast topic of sustainable development. Like others, we seek to reduce the carbon footprint of our products, extend their lifespan, make them repairable and timeless.

But our mission does not stop there, as most of our products are made from animal derived material. Since these materials provide real benefits, such as odour control for wool, insulation and compactness for feathers, or easy conditioning and robustness for leather, Forclaz will continue to offer them in the long run for trekking enthusiasts.

In our commitment to sustainability, we the members of Forclaz and citizens of our future believe that it is our duty to observe the living (and sometimes the end of life) conditions of the animals farmed partly for the material they provide. To do this we must seek transparency in animal sectors that we deal with. Improving transparency allows us to: truly observe and objectively assess the impact of our activities, constantly try to make them more righteous and raise the awareness of information seeking trekking enthusiasts.

We know that we still have some work to do, but we are moving on, step by step, towards a very beautiful destination: doing better.

Environmentally
responsible web

We tend to see Internet as intangible and low impact, but powering data centres, telecommunication networks and our devices requires a significant and growing consumption of energy.

Therefore, step-by-step, we are trying to find ways to mitigate our website’s impact forclaz.co.uk, starting with the weight reduction (in KB) of this very web page. The lighter your web page, the quicker it loads and the less energy it consumes.

According to the GreenIT-Analysis tool calculation methodology, this web page greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be 1.32 gCO2e, which is equivalent to the A score in the Green Impact Index.

Keep a sober, efficient, and clean layout

Incorporate only a few pictures and optimise their weight and dimensions

Use lighter illustrations instead of pictures

Only upload pictures when they need to appear

Do not incorporate videos

Use darker colours to reduce screen energy consumption

Soon, we plan to optimise and limit the use of fonts by providing system fonts already incorporated in your device to prevent from downloading new ones

Cache as much data as possible to limit unnecessary data transfers