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Furmark® launched to ensure animal welfare standards in natural fur supply chain

Lauretta Roberts
01 September 2021

The International Fur Federation (IFF), with input from luxury group LVMH, has unveiled the Furmark® which it says will guarantee animal welfare and environmental standards in the natural fur supply chain.

In what has been described as the biggest industry shake-up to date, the new mark promises that certified fur will be traceable, verified, and guaranteed to have met recognised standards.

Furmark®-certified products will have a unique alphanumeric label code that provides full traceability details (fur type; fur origin, animal welfare programme; manufacturer; and place of manufacture). The standards have been decided with the input of industry leaders, scientists, sustainability leads and welfare experts.

Fully certified products must be processed by accredited dressers and dyers who meet the SafeFur Standard (covering sustainability, chemical usage, emissions, and product safety), which includes third-party testing.

Furmark®-certified products can only be manufactured by businesses that have passed due diligence checks conducted by brand protection and anti-counterfeiting experts. Each step of the process is recorded via a customer-accessible traceability component, ensuring transparency across the supply chain.

The IFF says the move will answer "unfounded accusations" of those opposed to the use of fur and will open up fur to a new audience.

However the move comes just a day after 100 cross-party UK MPs and Peers wrote to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Rt Hon George Eustice MP to call for a ban on the import and sale of animal fur in Britain.

Britain banned fur farms in 2000 with the last one closing in 2003 and certain furs, such as domestic cat and dog and seal fur, are banned from import or sale. The MPs want the Government to go one step further and ban fur from sale altogether, something which Defra Minister Lord Goldsmith has previously suggested the Government is "very keen to do".

The UK Government has said that it had not banned fur sales to date as to do so would contravene its membership of the EU. Now that the Brexit transition period is over, certain MPs and animal welfare groups, such as Humane Society International, are pressing for a ban to be implemented.

In the letter to the Secretary of State, the MPs said: “The UK has now left the EU, and the Government has an opportunity [...] to act as a global leader in moral standards and extend existing fur trade bans (for cat, dog and seal fur) to all animals, thus eliminating illogical protections for some species above others.

However IFF CEO Mark Oaten said Furmark® meant that consumers could buy fur containing the stamp "with confidence".

"This is a game changer: if people had doubts about buying or wearing natural fur, then they have been answered with Furmark®."

"Our centuries-old trade is undergoing its most significant transformation to date; traceable, sustainable products represent the real alternative to 'fast fashion.'

"It guarantees animal welfare and environmental standards and demonstrates our shared ambition to deliver a transparent, easy-to-understand certification. It means, in short, that people can confidently buy sustainable natural fur.

"Furmark® delivers global, recognised standards, directly to the consumer," Oaten said.

A swathe of designers and brands have already abandoned the use of real fur in recent months and years, however, including Chanel, Gucci, Versace, Valentino, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, Canada Goose and Moose Knuckles among others.

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