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Bild: Christine Sponchia auf Pixabay
05.05.2020

COVID-19: German Down and Feather Industry exemplary in Terms of Hygiene

  • Update on the economic situation of the industry
  • Supply availability secured for the next half-year
  • E-commerce wins in the crisis
  • Sector survey of the Association of the German Down and Feather Industry VDFI and Traumpass e.V. on the occasion of the Corona crisis

The corona pandemic not only poses great challenges for each and every one of us, but also for our businesses as an industry. The decisions of the Federal Government and the federal states to close down shops and restrict freedom of mobility have hit the predominantly medium-sized down and feather industry hard, not only on the sales side, but also through their trading partners. The declining demand was compounded by the industry's international dependencies within the supply chains, since the filling material, the covers and the packaging materials are largely imported.

  • Update on the economic situation of the industry
  • Supply availability secured for the next half-year
  • E-commerce wins in the crisis
  • Sector survey of the Association of the German Down and Feather Industry VDFI and Traumpass e.V. on the occasion of the Corona crisis

The corona pandemic not only poses great challenges for each and every one of us, but also for our businesses as an industry. The decisions of the Federal Government and the federal states to close down shops and restrict freedom of mobility have hit the predominantly medium-sized down and feather industry hard, not only on the sales side, but also through their trading partners. The declining demand was compounded by the industry's international dependencies within the supply chains, since the filling material, the covers and the packaging materials are largely imported. The closure of the borders within Europe and the overall tense global logistics situation contributed significantly to the worsening of the situation.
 
In the past few days, the federal and state governments have started cautious attempts to ease the contact bans and to revive the economy with a sense of proportion. The opening of shops and the continuation of business activities prompted the down and feather associations to question the status quo of the sector with an extensive survey.

Although the companies named significant losses in their turnover, they currently still got off relatively lightly compared with other sectors. Two thirds of the companies stated that they had suffered up to 25% sales losses due to the corona crisis. Approximately 17% reported a decline of up to 50%, the ones with same percentage were much harder hit with a decline of up to 75%.

On the occasion of Heimtextil in January 2020, the association's sector statement had described the position of the specialised trade as still stable from the bedding manufacturers' point of view: By expanding the range of services, such as cleaning down and feathers or refilling existing bedding, the local store was increasingly becoming a point of contact for consumers. Supporting the advisory competence and the deployment of sleep experts made an impact. This picture has changed significantly as a result of the contact ban:

The clear loser in terms of demand on the various sales channels, caused by the shop closures, was the traditional retail: 92% of the surveyed manufacturing companies registered declining demand for the retail trade, 90% for the furniture trade and 80% for the specialty stores. Even for the discounters, whose opening hours were not affected, 33% noted a drop in demand; 44% estimated the demand situation as unchanged. The winner in the crisis was the e-commerce, although perhaps to a lesser extent than expected: 45% of the German down and feather producers recorded an increase in demand, 36% estimated the level as unchanged.

In terms of supply capability, the industry in Germany considers itself as well positioned: Two thirds see no bottlenecks for the fulfilment of closed contracts within the next three months, and the majority also offers free capacities beyond that. And 55% guarantee this ability to deliver even for the next six months, including the satisfaction of additional requirements.

While 2019 was a year of consolidation for the German down and feather sector and, after difficult months with sharply increased raw material prices, a calming down on a high level prevailed, good results from the previous year were maintained and, in some cases, even increased, the assessment for 2020 is much more pessimistic.

As far as the price situation for the coming autumn/winter season is concerned, member companies were correspondingly cautious in their forecasts.    
The unresolved and in some cases very fragile situation in the supplier countries currently not allows to make reliable statements. At the earliest in late summer, a well-founded opinion can be obtained. Especially since 45% of the companies expect to be confronted with requests for price reductions.
 
The down and feather industry is a professional when it comes to hygiene. The highest purity requirements are placed on down and feathers: Before being used as filling material, they must be cleaned by thorough water washing and dried at a temperature of at least 100°C, usually higher. This ensures that bedding meets the hygiene requirements of European Standard EN 12935 with reliably killing bacteria, viruses and other germs. In addition to the applicable standards, the companies have taken additional precautions to protect employees, trade partners and consumers.

In addition to the intensive workplace and hand disinfection, which all manufacturers have increased, the companies focused particularly on the equalization of the workforce. 73% designed home office workplaces for employees outside production, 45% introduced strict shift separation, two thirds shifted working hours and changed the use of common rooms in order to have as few employees as possible in the company at the same time and thus minimized the risk of infection. At the same time, many companies started the production of mouth and nose masks and made their sewing facilities available for this purpose. A list of the manufacturing companies is available from the Association of the German Down and Feather Industry VDFI e.V.

With the start of the lockdown, the German government had announced extensive financial aid, which focused on bridging payments for small businesses, granting loans, short-time work and tax deferrals. Improvements had to be made for small and medium-sized enterprises. In the recent weeks, the sector has not primarily addressed the question for bridging loans nor reducing the interest burden; emergency aid in the form of financial injections and non-repayable grants was also of interest only to one third. The majority of the association members concentrated on measures to secure liquidity (45%), tax deferrals and the suspension of advance payments of VAT (73%) as well as the changeover to short-time work (73%) and the accelerated processing and granting of short-time work compensation (45%). Also, two thirds requested binding statements on the easing of the contact ban and on the economic upturn.

An update on the industry survey is planned for late summer 2020.

Source:

VDFI e.V. / Traumpass e.V.

Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jens Liebchen (c) Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / Jens Liebchen
08.01.2019

SLEEP! THE FUTURE FORUM

  • HEIMTEXTIL IS ALREADY SHOWING TODAY HOW WE CAN SLEEP BETTER TOMORROW

According to doctors specialising in sleep, we already know almost everything there is to know about sleep. However, studies show that the quality of this regeneration process is deteriorating all the time. How can we prevent this from happening? The upcoming Heimtextil (8-11 January, Frankfurt am Main) will supply solutions to this with the new ‘Sleep! The Future Forum’. Here, international experts will present the latest findings and textile innovations for a restful night. The world’s leading trade fair for home and contract textiles brings together around 800 producers of textiles in the bed segment. Of these, 140 international industry leaders will be represented in the ‘Smart Bedding’ segment alone in hall 11.0, which will be presenting the latest sleep systems, mattresses, bedding and smart sleep technology. In addition, the new ‘Sleep!

  • HEIMTEXTIL IS ALREADY SHOWING TODAY HOW WE CAN SLEEP BETTER TOMORROW

According to doctors specialising in sleep, we already know almost everything there is to know about sleep. However, studies show that the quality of this regeneration process is deteriorating all the time. How can we prevent this from happening? The upcoming Heimtextil (8-11 January, Frankfurt am Main) will supply solutions to this with the new ‘Sleep! The Future Forum’. Here, international experts will present the latest findings and textile innovations for a restful night. The world’s leading trade fair for home and contract textiles brings together around 800 producers of textiles in the bed segment. Of these, 140 international industry leaders will be represented in the ‘Smart Bedding’ segment alone in hall 11.0, which will be presenting the latest sleep systems, mattresses, bedding and smart sleep technology. In addition, the new ‘Sleep! The Future Forum’ in the foyer of hall 11.0 will provide a platform for knowledge transfer, exchange of experiences and networking relating to a good night’s sleep. International experts will provide an overview of the current state of research and the latest findings on the ‘Future of sleep’ in the four subject areas of digital, sport, hotels and sustainability.

‘We sleep too little’
It is not without reason that many experts are declaring sleep to be the latest lifestyle trend after nutrition and fitness: numerous current studies prove that we are sleeping ever more badly despite increasing knowledge. ‘You don’t always notice sleep deprivation straightaway but you do become less attentive’, says Prof. Ingo Fietze, Head of the Interdisciplinary Sleep Medicine Centre at the Berliner Charité and chair of the German Sleep Foundation. At ‘Sleep! The Future Forum’, Fietze will talk about ‘The power engine of sleep’. ‘From a scientific point of view, we already know a great deal about our night’s sleep. The big problem is that we don’t sleep enough and don’t give sleep the importance it deserves’, says Fietze.

In order to improve our night’s sleep, there are now a number of smart gadgets available: intelligent pillows, noise-reducing high-tech earplugs and sleep trackers – these are all designed to help banish bad sleeping habits and consolidate healthy ones. Given that consumers can quickly get lost in this maze, the Schlafonauten, who call themselves Germany's biggest YouTube channel on the topic of sleep, are ready to help. ‘We test products that promise a calmer night to see how effective they are’, says Schlafonaut Fabian Dittrich. He will present the latest test results in the knowledge forum as part of an interview (‘Smart innovations – the practical test’).

Sleep like a (sports) professional
Another speaker knows the sleeping habits of professional athletes very well: Nick Littlehales, sleep coach of five-time World Cup footballerCristiano Ronaldo and four-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, will present his findings from his 22 years as a sleep coach for top athletes (‘Redefining Sleep in Elite Sport’). ‘Athletes and professionals in world sports are facing the growing demands of a globalised 24-hour society’, says Littlehales. This is also increasingly true for non-athletes, says Littlehales, who is certain that his sleep tips for professionals will also be useful for normal mortals.

The night's rest as an experience
Sleeperoo founder Karen Löhnert will show that you can sleep comfortably in the most unusual places during her lecture ‘Sleeperoo - The Night, The Place and You’ at the ‘Sleep!’ forum. She will be introducing the world’s first ‘Design Sleep Cube’. The sleeping capsule known from the start-up TV show ‘Höhle des Löwen’ is currently nominated for the German Innovation Award 2019. It allows the user to spend the night in exotic places such as a museum, a bunker or a pier in the Baltic Sea. ‘I'm a big fan of adventure nights, from tree houses to tepees; but unfortunately I've only been able to find a few local accommodation offers of this type and they don't come with quality guarantees’, says Löhnert. With her sleep cube, she wants to make sleep experiences with a high standard of amenities possible for the first time. In the Sleep Cube, the user lies on a comfortable 1.60 metre wide and 2 metre long mattress, while three large panoramic windows and the roof provide a view of the surroundings and the sky.

Even classic hotel stays have now become a focus of research. Vanessa Borkmann from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO will talk about the importance of sleep in hotels in Frankfurt am Main in January (‘The importance of sleep during a hotel stay – a special experience thanks to innovation’). ‘Healthy sleep is particularly important in hotels’, says Borkmann, who wants to show how the effect of rest in the hotel bed can be improved, for example through the design of the sleeping environment, the behaviour of the guest themselves or technical innovations.

Sustainable sleep
More and more people are using natural materials and sustainably produced textiles in their bedrooms. The lecture block ‘Sleep & Sustainability’ is therefore dedicated to the material properties of textiles and the quality of their processing as well as the auditability of sustainable procurement and production standards. This is how Hendrik Albers, buyer of home and household textiles, bedding & mattresses at OTTO, and Dr Juliane Hedderich, managing director of the Down and Feather Associations in Mainz, describe the growing importance of nature conservation, environmental protection and animal welfare in the bedroom (‘Sustainable good advice - Convincing with the right arguments when it comes to animal welfare and quality’). ‘In the past, criteria such as weight, moisture wicking and filling power has played an almost exclusive role in the choice of bedding, but now the ethical component is increasingly coming into play’, says Hedderich. Consumers are placing ever greater importance on certificates and seals which prove that the processed down and feathers did not originate from live plucking or foie gras production. Hedderich and OTTO buyer Albers present the quality seal ‘DOWNPASS 2017’, which guarantees controlled animal husbandry and adherence to animal protection criteria.

DOWNPASS e.V.’s FIRST TRADE FAIR IN CHINA Traumpass e.V.
20.03.2018

DOWNPASS e.V.’s FIRST TRADE FAIR IN CHINA

  • The association's zero tolerance standard was presented at Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles between 14 and 16 March
  • The association enjoyed a successful appearance together with three certification bodies from Germany, Japan and the US/China
  • Chinese manufacturers showed great interest in the unique combination of animal welfare and quality control

‘We met many committed companies – primarily from China – that showed great interest in traceability and the ethically sound sourcing of feathers and down. The potential that Downpass offers as a traceability standard together with continuous quality control was clearly recognised and won companies over not only for export-oriented purposes, but also for the domestic Chinese market’, explained Dr Juliane Hedderich, who was responsible for the trade fair appearance as managing director of Downpass e.V.

  • The association's zero tolerance standard was presented at Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles between 14 and 16 March
  • The association enjoyed a successful appearance together with three certification bodies from Germany, Japan and the US/China
  • Chinese manufacturers showed great interest in the unique combination of animal welfare and quality control

‘We met many committed companies – primarily from China – that showed great interest in traceability and the ethically sound sourcing of feathers and down. The potential that Downpass offers as a traceability standard together with continuous quality control was clearly recognised and won companies over not only for export-oriented purposes, but also for the domestic Chinese market’, explained Dr Juliane Hedderich, who was responsible for the trade fair appearance as managing director of Downpass e.V.
‘The follow-up after the trade fair will be crucial to translate Chinese companies’ interest into actual memberships.’

The association's representatives and rotating teams from the certification bodies Wessling, QTEC and IDFL advised visitors at a large stand in the foyer of hall 4.2 (HOME) with a deliberately puristic design. These independent testing institutes and auditing organisations are companies’ direct contacts for audits and product monitoring. As is common for trade fairs, the largest crowds were seen on the afternoon of the first and second day of the event.

The markets are increasingly demanding materials that guarantee trading partners and therefore consumers the greatest possible security when it comes to ethics and sustainability, alongside high product quality. Products certified by independent testing institutes gain in importance and set sales standards.

Ms Anna Elisa Wessling, legal representative of the subsidiary Wessling Consulting (Shanghai) Ltd. and representative of the German Wessling Group at the trade fair, was happy to engage with customers directly, explaining, ‘our presence as a consulting, analysis and testing company at Intertextile Home gave us the opportunity to talk to visitors and thus allowed us to increase transparency on the Chinese market such that retailers and consumers are suitably informed of the highest requirements of product quality and of the origin of bedding filled with feathers and down.’
As a German family company, the Wessling Group has stood for continuous improvement in the quality and security of products and processes for 35 years and is set to move into new, larger premises for its subsidiary in Shanghai in the near future so that it can fulfil the increasing number of testing requests in Asia with a larger team.
‘We expect constant growth in our analysis and consulting segment feathers and down, especially as our international customers see Downpass as a clear advantage for customer acquisition domestically and abroad. As an independent testing institute, we play a substantial role in underpinning trust in the Downpass brand’, highlighted Ms Weßling.

The Japanese institution QTEC also confirmed Downpass’ high level of visitor interest and, like its colleagues, stressed the importance of an institute’s independence. The managing director of Shanghai QTEC Testing Laboratory, Hiroyuki Nakamoto, who successfully presented the company’s three Chinese sites – including Shanghai and Wuxi – at the home textiles trade fair, explained, ‘our knowledge of the Japanese market, together with our testing expertise, make us a top contact for manufacturers of bedding and clothing products filled with feathers and down to ensure the supply chain is ethically sound.’ The institute expects a steady rise in the number of testing requests for Downpass, especially at Chinese sites.

A large, bilingual English-Chinese sales team from IDFL China, based in Hangzhou was available at the trade fair in Shanghai to answer all questions relating to audits and testing procedures with its varied specialist expertise. Together with its cooperation partner, the Chinese national down and feather laboratory CIQ Xiaoshan, IDFL has capacities for a broad range of different tests and audits.
IDFL’s Global Audit Manager Bryan Mortensen highlighted that Downpass had become a standard and therefore a seal that is recognised worldwide and in China in particular. The joint appearance with other certification bodies provided the opportunity to answer the questions of Chinese companies along the supply chain, from wholesalers to clothing and home textile brands and trading partners.
‘We are seeing strong demand for the current version of the standard, Downpass 2017, and its seal. IDFL carried out numerous audits across the globe in 2017 and we receive new requests every day. Overall we anticipate a successful future for Downpass in the down and feather industry’, explained Mortensen. IDFL – which will celebrate 40 years in the industry in 2018 – has been carrying out audits in the field of down and feathers for more than 10 years and is currently undergoing certification in accordance with ISO/EN 17065 and 19011.

In their first summary of the event, the extended Downpass trade fair team took stock of a successful trade fair premiere. ‘We aim to promote the sustainable use of natural resources across the globe and to increase transparency in the supply chain’, explained Dr Juliane Hedderich. ‘Animal welfare and guaranteed product quality are our hallmarks. We did a great job in Shanghai of jointly informing others about these and finding new collaborators.’

 

About the zero tolerance standard DOWNPASS 2017
Products filled with feathers and down that are certified in accordance with Downpass 2017 exclude products sourced from live plucking and production based on force feeding. The animals’ rearing is monitored and monitoring may be extended to the parent animal farms.
To this end, farms, commodities traders and producers are subject to audits and monitoring.
Pre-made products are bought by mystery shoppers at the point of sale and subsequently undergo quality control in independent testing laboratories.
As of January 2018, 503 million animals had been audited in accordance with DOWNPASS 2017.
Labelled products are available in North America, Europe and Asia.

19.12.2017

Relaunch Textination: Goodbye and welcome!

 With the last working days of the year 2017 at Christmas we have satisfied a desire for us and hopefully also for all visitors and users of the internet portal for the textile industry TEXTINATION:
Textination says goodbye to its old layout and will welcome 2018 with a fresh new look.

 With the last working days of the year 2017 at Christmas we have satisfied a desire for us and hopefully also for all visitors and users of the internet portal for the textile industry TEXTINATION:
Textination says goodbye to its old layout and will welcome 2018 with a fresh new look.

EVERYTHING STAYS DIFFERENT:
As usual, you will find our business information in the form of company overviews, economic data, tenders and market analysis. The job market will continue to help finding new challenges or people who face challenges.
The textile knowledge database TextileTechnology is still at your disposal, just like the new DownCheck database with all the details about down and feathers. And of course, we will keep you posted about dates and events.
 
WHAT'S NEW?
We have cleaned up: the navigation has been revised and streamlined; topic priorities have been newly set. In addition, we have followed the wishes of many companies and have significantly expanded and structured the news area. In future, you will find information or news from the industry that interests you with one click. An extensive archive and an indexing will help at finding.

We offer a platform that optimally supports you in the presentation of your products, developments and innovations – following the motto: we proudly present ...
Show what sets you apart from others.

We wish you, your colleagues and employees a wonderful Christmas and a good start to a hopefully happy, healthy and prosperous NEW YEAR 2018.

Stay curious!
Your Textination-Team. 

More information:
Textination
Source:

Textination

100 years VDFI VDFI e.V.
31.05.2016

VDFI E.V. LOOKS BACK ON 100 YEARS OF ITS ASSOCIATION HISTORY

  • From Wilhelm II to the traceable Supply Chain of ethical sourced Down and Feathers
To celebrate its 100th anniversary the Association of the German Down & Feather Industry has invited to the origin of its genesis to Berlin. From Schleswig-Holstein to Bavaria the largest German bed-feather and bedding companies sent their management to the Spree. Friendly associations congratulated as well as representatives of certification and auditing companies, universities, exhibition companies, media and animal welfare organizations. Politicians praised in particular the socio-political and standardization legal merits of the VDFI.
 
The parliamentary state secretary of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Peter Bleser, MDP, gave in his speech the importance of sociopolitical consumer and animal protection broad space.
  • From Wilhelm II to the traceable Supply Chain of ethical sourced Down and Feathers
To celebrate its 100th anniversary the Association of the German Down & Feather Industry has invited to the origin of its genesis to Berlin. From Schleswig-Holstein to Bavaria the largest German bed-feather and bedding companies sent their management to the Spree. Friendly associations congratulated as well as representatives of certification and auditing companies, universities, exhibition companies, media and animal welfare organizations. Politicians praised in particular the socio-political and standardization legal merits of the VDFI.
 
The parliamentary state secretary of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Peter Bleser, MDP, gave in his speech the importance of sociopolitical consumer and animal protection broad space. After focusing on environmental protection in the 80s and the issues of food safety in the 90's in recent times the focus has shifted to livestock farming. There would just be a beginning of a development whose aim is to become leading in animal welfare in Europe. So the sector could use the change in values of the society for a differentiation from competitors and profile themselves over the unique proposition traceability.
The chairman of the parliamentary committee for Food and Agriculture, Alois Gerig, MP, congratulated the association for 100 years bed-feather industry in good as well as in difficult times. He praised the dialogue orientation of the association with politics, associations and animal welfare organizations and underlined the readiness to continue the talks: "Only when politics and people talk, one can achieve positives together."
 
The chairman of the association, Friedrich-Wilhelm Verse, took in his lecture the audience on to an exciting journey through the time: The cradle of today’s VDFI stood 1915 in Berlin. In a cold, grim war winter full of heavy snowstorms, when heating materials were in short supply and a warming blanket could decide about life and death, Emperor Wilhelm II. committed himself personally in providing the population with down comforters during the war years through establishing a common organization of bedding manufacturers. Because during the wartime travel options were restricted and dangerous, two regional organizations were established in December 1915 – one in northern Germany and one in the south. In the privation postwar years both decided 1921 to merge to the Union of Bed-Feather Manufacturers. Until 1945 the development of uniform guidelines for descriptions of the goods at the bedding retailers took a large room – the RAL regulations became valid. With the development of the Nazi dictatorship a state allocation system on the issuing of import licenses for feathers and downs was constructed.
 
Weekly representatives of the bedding industry met with a representative of the surveillance office in Berlin to test the conformity with the import samples. Negotiations followed to enforce quotas and foreign exchange allocations and the distribution of import quotas for the German bedding manufacturers. At the beginning of World War II the association of the bedding manufacturers was renamed "War Community of Bed-feather Factories”. After World War II, in 1946, parallel with the British, the French and American occupation zone, three new regional organizations were established.
 
Verse drew the bow of the association history to the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 and thus to the new working group of the German bedding industry, which was formed from the merger of the three regional associations. In the 50s the association activities shifted to fields of quality testing and promotional activities, inter alia mainly to position the proven products with natural filling materials feathers and downs against the new synthetic bedding materials. In particular, the emerging discussion about allergies, which began with house dust allergy, required scientific research and an information policy until it was assignable that down comforters and pillows are free of mites. The number of employees in the sector increased significantly - especially since the companies started to offer ready-made comforters and pillows to the trade. And the association became a new scope as an employers' organization.
 
In 1990, the working group got a new name: for the first time under the today’s familiar name VDFI - Association of the German Down and Feather Industry. In the same year it got to feel the consequences of the European integration. The European commission demanded that the EU member states should adapt and combine the labeling of the filling material downs and feathers with the European textile labelling directive. All necessary labeling regulations, product standards, test standards and definitions had to be renewed in and with all European countries. At this target the VDFI was intensively involved. And 10 years later in 2000 the EN 12934 replaced the RAL.
 
Parallel with the subjects of standardization animal protection took an ever greater room in the field of the association activities. 1995 VDFI initiated the first European agreement regulating the breeding of ducks and geese in agricultural livestock. After four years of intensive work with animal welfare organizations, scientists, and institutions the agreement was adopted and gradually taken into the national legislations. The next step for the member companies was the voluntary agreement to make the origin of the raw material traceable and to get it audited. Further steps are in preparation, so Verse, in order to get an evidence of ethical behavior at the sourcing of downs and feathers. The goal is a fully global traceable supply chain with ethically sourced downs and feathers.
 
Already before the event the VDFI took different actions to lead attention to the anniversary: These included an innovation competition - advertised for students of different disciplines to get the use of downs and feathers artistic, functional and thru marketing highlighted. Innovative ideas and approaches in using a natural, ecologically valuable commodity were awarded at Heimtextil 2016.
Next was an illustrated children's book about Oscar and the adventures with his down comforter: from the knight’s cloak over the flying carpet to the wigwam. The production costs were covered by all VDFI member companies, in addition 1 Euro per book went as a donation to the foundation Herzenswuensche e.V., a nationwide operating non-profit association, which realizes since 1992 seriously ill children and young people long held wishes. 70 volunteers and three full-time employees try with parents, doctors, therapists and the affected children to establish a close contact to find out what wish could give a child new courage and strength. A following spontaneous collection for the foundation Herzenswuensche yielded again around € 2,300, so that an amount of more than € 17,300 in total as "Motivation Help" became available.
 
The end of the evening the guests enjoyed at the Berlin Waterworks.