sustainability

The goose that laid the golden eggs

“If we could have all the golden eggs that are inside the goose, we could be richer much faster.” – Aesop’s Fable

The Canada Goose emblem was spotted on the jackets of many people in Canada. This emblem means different things to many people – the pride of a Canadian brand that still manufactures its jackets in Canada, a luxury fashion brand that sees itself in the ranks of Prada/Gucci for winterwear or a jacket that has a long history of being designed to withstand the bitter arctic cold conditions.

On my trip, I asked my cousins why Canada Goose jackets were so popular and it ended up in a discussion over the ethical concerns some consumers had with the product. While people had generally felt that the down wasn’t really an issue, it was the use of coyote fur for the jacket hoods that faced the greatest objections – from animal rights activists to animal lovers.

If you did a search on Google, you will find a number of sites that have highlight the less than ethical practices used to trap coyotes. I walked across a store in Yaletown that sold Canada Goose which had a notice on its window telling picketers to have a conversation with the store owner because all this yelling and screaming wasn’t going to stop them from selling the product because the demand has been growing. He is right – Canada Goose has recently expanded its manufacturing facility to cope with the growth in retail demand.

There is very little on their website that outlines how they are producing an ethical product. There is a short video that outlines its position on the use of coyote fur which Canada Goose claims helps support the hunting community in the North. It even has a short interview with a university academic that talks about how coyote fur keeps your face warm and it ends with a tagline “ethically with authenticity”.

I like this article about an 11 year old girl who tries to meet the company’s CEO to talk about alternatives to fur. The deathly silence from Canada Goose on its position – even the removal of information it had previously posted on its website speaks volumes on its stance on the issue.

Fur was relevant years ago when there were few or no synthetic alternatives. But with technological advancements, there are now countless synthetic substitutes that you could wear for ski and arctic trips that don’t involve the death of animals to keep us warm.

Disclaimer: I wore a rented Canada Goose jacket for three days in Yellowknife as the weather was brutal. While the coyote fur was warm and dry, I couldn’t help but feel the warmth coming from its breath was keeping me alive.

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