Providing Quality and Transparency for Consumers

By Charles Ferro (Saga Furs), Saga Furs Oyj
12:15 PM, July 21, 2013

Transparency may not be the first thing that comes to mind when a fashionista gasps in awe at a stunning fur creation on a Paris, New York, London, or Milan runway, but transparency is a central value in consumer consciousness. As a fur auction house, Saga Furs promotes innovative transparency: upstream at farms where the company sources only quality European-produced pelts, and downstream among partners in creative phases resulting in fashion.

“Even before sustainability and transparency became household terms, Saga Furs had become the fur industry pioneer in providing openness along production chains,” says Director of Communications / CSR Päivi Mononen-Mikkilä. “This applies to cooperation with partners within Saga Furs’ sphere of influence as well as processes over which the company has direct control. That we were the first in the trade to create CSR policy and to join the UN Global Compact is also noteworthy.”

A garment bearing the Saga Furs® label on fashion runways carries the values of transparency demanded by consumers. The Saga Traceability System allows every pelt sold at auction to be traced back to the farm of origin. All Saga Furs pelts come from European farms and are barcoded at the source to allow identification along the production chain.

In phases between an auction – dressing, logistics, manufacture – Saga Furs helps partners find services from companies that share our concerns for transparency. The traceability of the entire production chain, the fact that important stakeholders can assess it as objectively as possible, and the gradual inclusion of fur farm certification in the Saga Furs quality criteria are the company’s most important tools for increasing its own control over the products it sells. Quality criteria begin on a fur farm.

InitiatorSaga Furs
Project start
Finland, Baltic
Contact person
Charles Ferro

Anti-Corruption -
Business & Peace -
Development -
Environment -
Financial Markets -
Implementing UNGC Principles in your Corporate CSR Management x
Human Rights -
Labour Standards -
Local Networks -
Advocacy of global issues x
Business opportunities in low income communities/countries -
Project funding -
Provision of goods -
Provision of services/personal -
Standards and guidelines development x

Farm Certification System goes beyond what is required

Saga Furs has supported – and played an active role in – the Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association’s (ProFur) Farm Certification System, launched in 2005. The program raises fur-farming standards above those recommended by the EU and has proven to be a major success.

In the 2012–2013 auction season, all Finnraccoon pelts sold by Saga Furs came from certified farms. The company aims for the same objective for fox pelts in the following season. Efforts to extend Farm Certification have progressed to the point where well over 90 percent of fox production in Finland and 60 percent of mink breeding takes place on certified farms. In addition, the system has been exported to other European countries where the company sources pelts.

Saga Furs, via ProFur, also works closely with Finnish and international agencies to reduce the impact of fur farming on the environment. Studies show the carbon footprint of a mink or fox pelt used for clothing is rather small when compared to the carbon footprint of other habitual consumption items. The company intends to reduce the footprint even further, with one means being the introduction of sustainable energy sources to farms.

As a member of the Baltic Sea Action Group, Saga Furs helps reduce acidification and nutrient emissions that cause eutrophication in bodies of water – two factors that may be caused by the seepage of animal waste. The use of underutilized sea species for making feed is one factor that helps balance the ecology. The fishing of feed species reconditions water systems by significantly reducing volumes of phosphorus and nitrogen in the Baltic to deter eutrophication. Another practical measure is the use of newly developed technology that allows precise feeding of individual animals, thereby reducing their waste.

Saga Furs
Saga Furs

Openness and action from farm to fashion

As an auction house, Saga Furs holds a pivotal position between the sources of its product and the fashion industry. In its essence, fur is a natural, sustainable product, but the company takes extra steps to guide auction buyers and their manufacturing customers toward sustainable, transparent processes. Saga Furs Design Centre offers a prime example of how the company promotes responsible use of fur without compromising creativity.

“The Design Centre is a steward of European craftsmanship and innovation in the realm of fur. In addition to being the world’s think-tank for developing new applications for the material, it is also a training ground for a new generation of furriers, designers, and consumers,” says Head of Product Development Per Reinkilde.
The majority of designers are there to find inspiration while learning the basics of the craft and refining their skills. Reinkilde notes that visitors are also briefed on sustainable processes that should be employed when creating fur designs. Consumers who visit learn about the four sustainability principles of fur: use, store properly, renew, and recycle. Since doors to the Design Centre opened in 1988, more than 30,000 persons have visited.

The company may also act as matchmaker, as many clothing companies and designers who visit the Design Centre do not have the equipment needed to make fur garments for their collections. When these situations arise, Saga Furs is in a position to recommend trusted dressing companies and manufacturers whose transparent policies toward employees, the environment, and social responsibility match those of Saga Furs.

Day-to-day routines often lead to ideas linked to sustainability. The Design Centre is working with a dressing company that has achieved preliminary success in developing alternative, “green” techniques for dressing furs. The dresser and Saga Furs have engaged several researchers in a project aimed at finding eco-friendly, plant-based alternatives to replace chemicals in dressing processes.

As it looks toward tomorrow, Saga Furs is in the process of expanding the values of transparency, both internally and through its sphere of influence among partners. Years ago, the company had freely chosen to do so in a global community that now leaves us with no other responsible choice.


Saga Furs is the world’s only publicly-listed fur auction house. The company sells Saga Furs® Mink, Fox, and Finnraccoon at four annual auctions to buyers from around the world. It was the first company of its kind to have a CSR policy and to join the UN Global Compact.

Saga Furs Design Centre is the R&D department, where new applications for fur are innovated. To help designers – and ultimately auction customers – the Design Centre hosts seminars, where visitors learn furrier techniques and find the expertise needed to realize their creative ambitions.

This project description was originally presented in the Global Compact International Yearbook 2013.

About the Authors
Ferro , Charles

Charles Ferro is Communication Manager at Saga Furs.

Saga Furs Oyj

Saga Furs Oyj is the quality auction house with the broadest selection of superior furs from strictly regulated European sources

Our efforts focus on supporting sustainable sources of European fur sold at 4-5 international auctions each year, and then marketing Saga Furs® Fox, Mink and Finnraccoon on a global scale.

Saga Furs Oyj is the only publicly listed company of its kind. Saga Furs has gained a unique position as the point where the fur and fashion industries meet. With the auction house at the centre, our partners range from fur breeders and suppliers on the one side, to clothing manufacturers and fashion houses on the other.

Our Saga Furs Design Centre houses the world’s foremost product development department where we share our expertise with the creators of fashion. This sets us off from the competition and gives all our partners a great advantage. Saga Furs has earned a reputation as the world pioneer in responsible fur breeding.

Source: Company Website

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect CSR Manager's editorial policy.
Post Comment

Write a comment about this page

Your comments are provided by your own free will and you take sole responsibility for any direct or indirect liability. In order to maintain the highest discussion quality, all comments will be reviewed by our editors. You hereby provide us with an irrevocable, unlimited, and global license for no consideration to use, reuse, delete or publish comments in accordance with our Community Guidelines.







CSR Manager Logo


















About Us // Privacy Policy // Copyright Information // Legal Disclaimer // Contact

Copyright © 2012-2018 macondo publishing GmbH. All rights reserved.
The CSR Academy is an independent learning platform of the macondo publishing group.