Greater concern for animal welfare in the clothing and textile sector

There is increasing concern among companies, public authorities, consumers and civil-society organisations for the welfare of animals in the clothing and textile sector. Nevertheless, economic interests often outweigh those of animals. This is the outcome of research carried out on behalf of the International Responsible Business Conduct (IRBC ) focused Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (AGT).

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Practical tips

The report Animal welfare in the clothing and textile sector offers companies practical tips for enhancing animal welfare practices. The level of animal welfare in the clothing and textile sector varies considerably from one country to another and depending on the animal species and subsequent production system. The research focuses specifically on the use of animal materials such as leather, wool, down and feathers, fur and silk. 

Identifying risks to animal welfare

For each material, the animal welfare risks, living conditions and legislation have been identified for different animal species in the largest producing countries. By bringing this information together in one place, companies can make better use of it in their risk analyses. Animal welfare is one of the nine core themes in the Agreement.


The report contains recommendations and possible solutions to combat the potential harm and risks on animal welfare. The purchasing of animal materials in countries with lower animal welfare risks and the use of certified production companies can improve animal welfare. The choice of non-animal alternatives or recycled animal materials and more cooperation in the chain, for example through greater transparency, can also contribute to this.

Due diligence

Companies can use the information from the report in their due diligence process. The following seven steps are central to this:

  1. Formulating a vision on animal welfare and the use of animal materials for production
  2. Establishing policy for the production and use of animal materials
  3. Analysing the chain
  4. Determining and prioritising (potential) risks to animal welfare in the chain
  5. Applying possible solutions in order to avoid or reduce risks in this area
  6. Communicating policy in the area of animal welfare
  7. Monitoring the risks

The report has been made public so that clothing and textile companies and organisations outside the Agreement or in other sectors can also access and use it.

Download report (in Dutch)