Canada Goose dials down marketing claims of ethical animal treatment
Under scrutiny for promises of ethical treatment of the animals used in its manufacturing, Canada Goose is changing up its marketing language. The Toronto-based retailer was investigated by the Federal Trade Commission’s division of advertising practices earlier this year following a complaint by PETA.
The retailer, popular for its parka coats made with goose down feathers and trimmed with coyote fur, no longer uses the word “ensure” regarding its standards for animal abuse by its suppliers, according to PETA. In addition, PETA found that Canada Goose removed from its website a “down traceability” video meant to showcase the brand’s tracking practices when it comes to making sure animals are not abused—the supplier highlighted in the video had engaged in animal abuse, PETA said.
But Canada Goose says it made no changes based on the FTC’s investigation and PETA pressure.
“We are appalled by the gross mischaracterization of our long-standing ethical sourcing standards which have only strengthened over time and become more robust,” a spokesperson said via email. “The changes to our website were not made at the behest of the FTC, and the FTC did not reach any conclusions regarding whether any prior statements were misleading. In fact, our website reiterates our commitment to the ethical sourcing and responsible use of all animal materials. Any inference to the contrary is false.”
The FTC investigated Canada Goose earlier this year after PETA’s complaint. On June 17, the organization sent a letter to the brand following the conclusion of the inquiry, which was meant to determine if Canada Goose had made “false or misleading representations about the treatment of geese whose down is used in Canada Goose's apparel,” according to the letter. The FTC decided against enforcement action because it said Canada Goose acted quickly to correct the misleading claims.
“We considered a number of factors, including the prompt corrective action taken by Canada Goose, such as removing the advertising claims at issue from the marketplace and clarifying its business practices in marketing materials, among other things,” the letter read.
In the FAQ section of its website, Canada Goose points to its “Canada Goose Down Transparency Standard” as its “commitment to support the ethical sourcing and responsible use of down.” The brand also says its “suppliers are required to certify” that the down comes as a “by-product of the poultry industry” rather than from geese who were mistreated. Language was also changed on Canada Goose’s policy page.
Last month, PETA pressure prompted Chase to pull ads depicting a couple bathing elephants following claims that the animals may have been mistreated.
(Updated with a response from Canada Goose.)