Canada Goose has long stood by its use of fur, even as fashion’s biggest names have vowed to stop selling it. It’s hard to imagine the company’s signature $1,000 (or so) parkas without their coyote fur-trimmed hoods cocooning city dwellers in Arctic-grade warmth every winter.
But on Wednesday, Canada Goose announced that starting in 2022, the company will no longer buy new fur from trappers. By then, Canada Goose will use reclaimed fur, the company said — fur that already exists in its supply chain and the marketplace. As part of this effort, Canada Goose, which is based in Toronto, plans to begin buying back the fur ruffs from customers’ coats — with the intention of recycling the fur — in the coming months.
The new policy was included in a report released Wednesday detailing the 63-year-old company’s latest sustainability efforts. Other plans include achieving carbon neutrality by 2025 through reducing emissions, as well as eliminating plastics in its facilities, including its eight factories.
“By reusing fur that is reclaimed, we’re just taking a resource that’s already sustainable and making it even more sustainable,” Dani Reiss, the Canada Goose chief executive, said in an interview.
The shift is an eco-friendly measure, he said, and not related to public pressure from activists.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been petitioning Canada Goose to stop using fur since at least 2006. Four years ago, the advocacy organization introduced a full-scale campaign against the company, urging supporters to protest and boycott.
In addition to organizing demonstrations, erecting billboards and plastering fliers around the company’s brick-and-mortar stores, PETA has waged court battles over its freedom to advertise against Canada Goose and filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the company’s animal-sourcing claims.
In 2017, PETA acquired stock in the company, a tactic that allows activists to file shareholder resolutions detailing their demands and causing some corporate chaos. Just last week, PETA said it had submitted a proposal calling for the company to stop using coyote fur and goose down. (Regarding goose down, the company announced in its sustainability report that by 2021, it planned to be fully certified in the Responsible Down Standard — a commitment adopted by companies like the North Face and Eddie Bauer to not use down from farms that force-feed or pluck from live birds. PETA has criticized the standard’s creators as “protecting companies, not animals.”)
Still, Mr. Reiss said the new fur policy was not a response to external pressure.
“The fact that we’ve been targeted did not factor into this decision at all,” he said. To wit, “we’re still using fur,” he said, even if it is reclaimed.
According to the company, coyote fur disrupts airflow and doesn’t freeze or hold water, which makes it exceptionally functional in extreme weather.
“It’s important to us that our products work,” Mr. Reiss said. This has been the Canada Goose position for years. In 2016, a company statement said: “We understand and respect that some people think animal products should never be used in any consumer products, however we do not share that view.”
Other major fashion brands have been gradually shunning fur, including Ralph Lauren, Chanel, H & M, Gucci, Yoox Net-a-Porter, Zara, Michael Kors, Versace and Gap Inc. Many have invested instead in faux fur. For her spring 2020 collection, Stella McCartney introduced a brand-new partially plant-based faux-fur fabric.
Yet the Canada Goose parkas have become fashionable as a status symbol — an indication of how many consumers haven’t made up their minds on fur. Drake has collaborated with Canada Goose; Marc Jacobs put a model in Canada Goose on his runway; Kate Upton wore a Canada Goose parka over a bikini on the cover of Sports Illustrated. And before Covid-19 began wreaking havoc on the retail industry, Canada Goose was experiencing significant growth.
In 2019, the public company reported 830.5 million Canadian dollars in revenue — up from 591.2 million the previous year.