Saga Furs CEO steps up on sustainability

“Fake fur is Kryptonite for the planet,” says Saga Furs CEO Pertti Fallenius. “Responsible and natural fur products are the alternative to these plastic garments, because they are biodegradable.”

A feature article – Responsibly Yours – published in Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) is changing the conversation on fur, after Saga CEO fights back on fur as the natural authentic fashion choice, that also helps save the planet.

In the article, Fallenius tackles some complex themes on veganism and the use of farm animals, as well as addressing some of the hypocrisy his industry faces, notably, “When a brand is deciding upon their sustainability strategy – animal products as whole should be part of that discussion – not fur alone,” Fallenius asserts. He also believes activism is best fought with information which allows partners to make their own decisions. “The attacks, fake news and protests only give us more resolve to strengthen our Sustainability program.”

Big thank you from big brands
According to Charles Ross, Saga Furs Head of Sustainability, the WWD article was well-received by the big fashion brands. “They’re thanking us for coming out and stating our position so publicly and definitively. Why? Because the brands depend on our sustainability program.”

Fallenius calls it their license to operate, describing it as “a system that fits into the fashion world and an excellent tool to discuss with the consumers.”

By developing a certified farm management system, Saga Furs also gives a guarantee of animal welfare, combined with strict environmental controls and training for fur farmers to ensure their sustainable future.

WelFur inside Saga certification
Fallenius also shines light on a new industry-level protocol called WelFur, a science-based animal welfare assessment developed by independent scientists at seven European universities. Saga’s already comprehensive farm certification program incorporates Welfur from 2018.

This program is to measure animal behavior and will be launched in Europe in 2019; from then, Saga will sell only WelFur-assessed pelts.

“We feel strongly about this industry wide program as a way of ensuring the highest standards for raising farmed animals.”

However, as Ross explains, “Welfur is needed but it’s not enough.” So we’re borrowing from the Intel slogan and talking about Welfur Inside. For us WelFur has become one more valuable tool that provides additional validity to our existing certification system.”

Transparency and Traceability
Saga’s sustainability programme also drives industry transparency. Only Saga Certified pelts are traceable using ‘STS’ (the unique Saga Traceability System). “We welcome our fashion partners to visit our supply chain and do their own audits,” says Fallenius. “And as CEO, I can assure you that Sustainability is our bottom line.”

Overall the WWD piece has created an industry stir, confirming Saga’s thought leadership on sustainability. We want to ensure we stay part of this positive change, says Ross “and continue to lead the conversation on sustainable fur.”

Both fur farming and fur products are natural with a strong tradition of being part the circular economy. A fur garment can be repaired, remodeled, resold and recycled, even and after 20 years or more, and, as Fallenius aptly points out: “This is a totally different approach than today’s fast fashion.”