Certification and Traceability
In Autumn 2018, a pilot traceability scheme has been conducted by a team of independent experts experienced in textile traceability.
There are 5 main auction houses across the globe which trade in farm-raised and wild fur.
- Fur Harvesters Auction Inc.
- Kopenhagen Fur
- Saga Furs
Under the FURMARK program auction houses will sell certified skins from 2020.
To ensure robustness and transparency of this process the FURMARK program will incorporate a traceability system that links the various processes through each stage in the supply chain. This will ensure that a FURMARK certified skin can be traced back through the supply chain to the source.
A pilot traceability scheme has been in place since autumn 2018, It has been designed and developed by a team of independent experts experienced in textile traceability. The aim is to test the robustness of the process as fur moves through the supply chain. This scheme has been subject to various checks so it can be scaled up as we move towards 2020.
It’s important to stress that auction houses such as Saga Furs already have well-established and industry-leading traceability systems in place. Therefore the FURMARK traceability program is designed to work in harmony with existing systems.
Saga Certification by Finnish Standards
Finnish fur breeders have pioneered the development of certifiable and traceable fur farming since 2005. As a response to demands about sustainability and animal welfare from global fashion brands and from the next generation of consumers, the certification program has been continually improved to set standards that go well beyond national or EU legal requirements. As well as the WelFur protocol, Saga Certification by Finnish Standards includes criteria for: advanced animal health and welfare;
conditions for rearing animals; farm hygiene; breeding; environmental management; feed management, training and preparing for exceptional situations.
Saga Certification by Finnish Standards is a unique farm management system producing the highest level of animal welfare. WelFur certification is included within it and gives the Finnish fur certification system science-based support in the validation of the overall farm management program.
FIG 2: Saga Certification by finnish standards provides several advantages
- Improved transparency and traceability
- Documented and traceable operations
- Comprehensive follow up system
- Harmonised operations
- Supports fulfilment of legal requirements
- Systematic tool for implementing improvements
About the Saga Certification by Finnish Standards Program
The first Saga Certification scheme was launched in Finland in 2005. It was subsequently expanded into other European countries. The Finnish fur certification system provides several advantages. (Fig 2).
In order to obtain Saga Certification by Finnish Standards, the management of a fur farm must meet certain criteria and its production must be carefully documented and transparent. If the auditor detects any shortcomings, the producer is obliged to take action and remedy the situation by a certain deadline. The certificate is granted only to the farms that meet all the criteria. Certified farms are inspected regularly, and there are sanctions if the criteria are violated.
Saga Certification by Finnish Standards also includes WelFur, a scientific animal welfare assessment program through which fur animal welfare is measured in a variety of ways – as discussed in the previous chapter.
In accordance with widely accepted best practice, the audits of Saga Certified fur farms are performed as, so-called, ‘second party inspections’ and by professional ‘third party external auditors’.
The Saga Certified fur farmers are committed to the quality system and to developing it further. They understand the importance of certification to the buyers, fashion houses and fur garment users.
The Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association (ProFur) is responsible for the Saga Certification quality system and its development. The system has been awarded the ISO 9001 certification by DNV GL Business Assurance, a third party global provider of accredited certification.
The certification criteria are based on legislation and proven best practice and development areas in the fur industry. The criteria cover a wide range of different farm activities.
Animal Health and Welfare
Animal health and welfare are absolute prerequisites for high-quality breeding. On certified fur farms, animal welfare is promoted with immediate and preventive measures.
Healthy and trusting animals form the basis of high-quality breeding. Certified farms only sell or deliver fur animals to countries that meet the requirements of the Finnish Animal Welfare Act.
The animals are given feed that is regularly monitored to ensure it fulfils their nutritional needs in each production phase. Domestic raw materials are favored in feed production, and the entire feed chain is documented.
Conditions for Rearing Animals
Safe and stimulating housing, adjusted to the various cycles in an animal’s life, is the most important consideration for the fur animal’s environment.
A neat and tidy farm environment promotes welfare and comfort for both the animals and the farmer. Proactive measures prevent many potential problems.
Training and Preparing for Exceptional Situations
Fur farming is a profession that requires solid hands-on competence as well as ongoing professional development. A certified farm is well equipped to act in exceptional circumstances and in any situation where it has to deviate from day-to-day routines.
Over the past few years, Saga Furs has been developing the Saga Traceability System (STS) with Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to allow consumers, at the point of purchase, to trace fur back through the entire supply chain. Full traceability is important for supply chain assurances and a logical next step in customer transparency from the farm to the fashion house.
Traceability and Transparency From Farm to Fashion House
In addition to certification, traceability in the production chain is increasingly important. Saga Furs has created a pelt traceability program that enables manufacturers to trace the origin of the pelt lots down to individual farms.
Global consumers expect to know where their clothes are sourced. They require openness and transparency in the way they are produced and assurance on the humane treatment of animals. With traceability, Saga Furs can verify the origin of skins using chain of custody documentation.
When an international fashion house wants to tell its customers about the origins of the furs it uses, and about the responsibility of their production methods, the only way to provide this information is through precise documentation. Traceability means having a reliable knowledge of a product’s origins. The requirement for detailed documentation steers fur breeders towards improved and more sustainable production methods.
The Saga Furs Traceability System (STS) is integral to implementing transparency and traceability. STS discloses the proportion of certified farms, dates of farm certification and the countries of origin. All furs sold by Saga Furs include STS documentation.
Traceability is another example of a sustainability and ethics issue on which Saga Furs has taken a lead within the fur industry.
In the very near future, Saga Furs, along with its fashion brand partners, hopes to be able to incorporate high-tech RFID tagging in the hang tag of every garment. This will allow consumers, at the point of purchase, to trace fur back through the entire supply chain. Full traceability is important for quality assurance and a logical next step in customer transparency from the farm to the fashion house.