A Sustainable Dress Code

Kalle Hansson

Posted on March 15 2018

Get behind the scenes of how the world's leading fur company has made sustainability their number one priority.

Kopenhagen Fur is the largest fur auction house in the world, the essence of design tradition and über luxury since 1930. A heritage of excellence and fashion maturity has made them one of Denmark’s most prestigious establishments within the global fashion industry.

However, as much as we love small furry details on our not so casual Sunday uniform, that is not why we are here. Mink fur has for many years been a controversial topic and Kopenhagen Fur has throughout the discussion been dedicated to acknowledge the many opinions expressed in the discussion.
But they also feel obliged to invite you behind the scenes to get a glimpse of how the mink trade really works and how they are committed to apply fur in the most responsible way possible throughout the value chain.

This is the passionate story of a groundbreaking company trying to change a whole industry through sustainability and welfare focus. Sustainability is the number one challenge which companies face today and we wish to bring attention to those who succeed, as well as to inspire, to learn and to break down uninformed assumptions.

Taking a stand

Fur was the first material ever used to cover up the human body. In primeval times, the cavemen used it to shroud his naked body to survive the freezing winter months. Today, hundreds of thousands years later, we have yet to find a fabric so good to retain heat as fur. However, in modern times, where fur has become more an exclusive fashion statement than a means to stay alive, cheaper and similar  synthetic alternatives has become highly popular to give the everyday fashionista the feeling of warming luxury.

So why do we still use fur, if materials such as faux fur is available? Consumer demands for animal welfare in production have increased and become a highly discussed topic. This has put immense pressure on companies like Kopenhagen Fur to make their supply chain more sustainable and transparent. At Kopenhagen Fur they are not just satisfied with being a passive supporter. In contrast, they have made it their number one priority to ensure that animal welfare on all Danish mink farms is kept at continuously high standards.

“The world look to us every single day and expect us to take the lead in better animal welfare. But we are not only the biggest player on the market, we are also fortunate to be frontrunners when it comes to research and innovation. So when a project like WelFur comes along, we feel obligated to set ambitious goals for ourselves”. - Trine v.d.v. Rasmussen, Kopenhagen Fur.

The WelFur certification scheme is the result of a large project initiated in 2009 by the European Fur Trade. Based on 40 years of scientific research in mink and fox welfare, a measuring system based on EU standards has been developed to measure and document welfare levels on mink and fox farms, which has awarded the WelFur Certificate to farms that adhere to the demands. From 2020, Kopenhagen Fur will only sell mink and fox fur marked with the WelFur Certificate.

A look into the world of fur

So back to our question, why real fur? It’s due to its premium sustainability profile. Real fur is an extremely durable material and can last up to 30-40 years if treated with care. The lifetime in itself makes the fur coat a prime example within sustainable fashion. Compared to faux fur which has a much higher environmental impact both during production and decomposing, real fur is often recycled or re-stitched into new styles due to the shelf-life and quality of the material.

Furthermore, the whole mink and not just the fur, is used and passed on to other industries. The system is referred to as a circular biodynamic ecosystem where meat, fat and bones are used to produce raw material such as biodiesel and fertilizer.

Finally, the minks’ fodder comes from waste material from human food production, letting the circular economy of mink farms leave a positive impact on other major sustainability issues.  

Denmark is not only known for producing some of the most beautiful and exclusive mink furs in the world, they have also been praised for their state of the art farm management. The reason for our status is largely due to the established community within the Danish Fur Breeders Association. The institution comprise a broad range of influencers including the EU and a research and consulting agency, who collaborate with universities and research institutes to communicate developments within fur breeding.              

With a 360 degree sustainability profile, the acknowledgement of animal welfare and above all, an uncompromising perspective on quality and delicate production, Kopenhagen Fur is an organisation that embodies the many aspects we as consumers, employees, collaborators and buyers look for today. Moreover, we also admire Kopenhagen Fur for their ability to be consistent with open and transparent communication about a topic still so controversial.

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