Canadian Down & Feather refuses to sleep on chance to create a more sustainable industry

5 minute read

For Canadian Down & Feather Company, the chance to solve the bedding industry’s biggest challenges is no nightmare. In fact, it’s a dream come true for a brand committed to seeing business in a more sustainable light.

“Sustainability has been top of mind almost from the inception of the company,” CEO Ashwin Aggarwal said. “We always want to be a little different, always encourage our team to look at things in a different way – and sustainability is a big part of that.”

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Comfortable beginnings

Founded in 2003, Canadian Down & Feather provides “comfort addicts, sleep enthusiasts and lovers of breakfast in bed” with down, feather and down alternative bedding products, including top-quality duvets, pillows and mattress toppers. Products are sold through its ecommerce store, which was launched in 2015, as well as national and independent retailers, hotels, and interior design professionals.

Today, the North York, Ontario-based company ranks among the country’s fastest growing, with 200% growth in revenue between 2019 and 2022. Ninety per cent of its sales are attributed to ecommerce, both direct-to-consumer via its website and marketplaces, as well as drop-shipping for digital retailers.

That’s an exciting rise in an exploding industry. In Canada alone, bedding is a $1.65 billion industry that experts predict will cross the $2 billion mark by 2028. Those numbers are driven, in part, by the rapid rise in demand for organic and sustainable bedding, as consumers prioritize eco-friendly and locally sourced products.

“We should be able to protect the environment, make things sustainable and do so with profit and the wellbeing of our staff in mind,” Aggarwal said. “The two things are not on opposing ends. It might be a balancing act to find the right solution, but we can always do better for both sides, every single time.”

A Canadian Down and Feather white goose down duvet on a red background, next to a red lamp.

Redesign and rethink

Aggarwal stressed that the bedding industry can’t sleep on sustainability, as the list of challenges are long: Production processes that consume significant amounts of water and energy, products that use petroleum-based synthetic fibers and chemical dyes, packaging waste, shipping emissions and returns that end up in landfills.

Yet, while nearly half of Canadians demand the brands they frequent to operate sustainably1, that doesn’t mean all customers have the same mindsets.

“Our customers are not super vocal about sustainability – yet. But it’s our responsibility to be proactive about finding solutions, even in the absence of pressure,” said Heather Walker, Director of Operations.

Take packaging, for example.

“We wanted to rethink it all, so we started asking questions” Aggarwal said. “Could we redesign and rethink our packaging? Could we do that and save money? Could we do that and reduce our impact on the environment? Could do all that and make it easier for our processes?”

The company landed on a solution, a one-piece box, with a biodegradable liner. Rolling out in late 2024, the box’s modular, multipurpose design makes it perfect for ecommerce or in-store use. It is eye-catching, convenient and even makes shipping simple with a space for a Canada Post label designed in.

“Just by rethinking packaging, our operational efficiency has gone up. We’ve reduced costs and made it better for the environment. That’s a perfect solution,” Aggarwal continued. “People think you must sacrifice to save the environment or that it’s going to cost a lot of money. Yes, you must invest time and money in a solution, but that’s an investment in creating new and better ways of doing things.”

Canadian Down & Feather is thinking well beyond packaging to improve itself, as it seeks solutions on other projects related to operations, returns, and, yes, even shipping.

A “down perfect pillow” from Canadian Down and Feather on a green background, next to a green cactus.

Positive about sustainable shipping

When it comes to shipping, it was important to work with a delivery partner that was committed to sustainability. For Canadian Down & Feather, Canada Post was that partner.

Canada Post calculates CO2 emissions for every ground shipment, offsetting them through high-quality, third-party verified and accredited carbon offsets with a preference for those that prioritize Indigenous-owned or led, nature-based offset projects in Canada. This has allowed Canadian Down & Feather to meet its high expectations of partners and embed sustainability objectives into delivery for their customers.

Carbon-neutral shipping is a differentiator for us. We can tell anyone that this is what we do and how we do it. We started advertising how our deliveries are carbon-neutral by using Canada Post. It’s important that we both meet our business goals and support our customers – and this is an amazing way to do it.

Ashwin Aggarwal


Canadian Down & Feather Company

Many of the company’s customers weren’t familiar with carbon offsetting, but when offered two options for shipping, and one option is clearly better for the environment, they choose the sustainable option.

“Canada Post is a leader in this area,” Walker said. “Thanks to Canada Post, we’re able to take that next step in our sustainability journey. That’s going to appeal to our customers. That’s going to challenge our competitors to keep up. And that’s how we’re going to make a difference.”

She continued, “We never want to say that we’ve ‘achieved’ something, because there’s just so much more ahead of us. Sustainability is about the process – there is no finish line. But Canada Post and their solution, carbon-neutral shipping, to offset the emissions of ecommerce deliveries, is one huge step along that journey.”

Measured for meaning

There is no single number Canadian Down & Feather looks at to chart progress – it’s a series of questions they constantly ask themselves: Where can we do better? How do we compare to our peers, the competition, the industry? Are we staying ahead of the game?

The answers to those questions drive the company forward more than any numbers could.

For instance, those answers led the company to achieve the industry’s highest certifications, including Carbonzero, IDFL Down Standard (IDS) and Responsible Down Standard (RDS).

“We’re pushing the envelope,” Aggarwal said. “Our brand is important to us. We don’t want to be a flash in the pan. We don’t want to create the trendy product for the day. We want to create good quality products that people come to rely on and through that come to understand what our company stands for. We’re playing the long game as a brand. A big part of that long game is a commitment to sustainability – and a big part of sustainability is going to be carbon-neutral shipping.”

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1 Phase 5. Canadian online shopper study, May 2022