BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 11 February '17

Pledge by market leader Gore could rid outdoor gear of hazardous PFCs

Gore Fabrics, the maker of GORE-TEX® products, will transition to more environmentally friendly weatherproofing technologies, free of hazardous PFCs, the company has announced.

The pledge was made at ISPO Munich, the biggest outdoor trade show in Europe and the event at which Greenpeace Switzerland chose to release ‘PFC Revolution in the Outdoor Sector’, an overview of the progress made towards eliminating hazardous PFCs in outdoor gear.

‘The incredible acceleration of the outdoor market towards technologies free from hazardous PFCs – though not yet complete – shows that transforming a sector can be achieved in a relatively short time, if the relevant stakeholders are willing to act together responsibly.’

CHIARA CAMPIONE
Detox Outdoor Corporate Lead, Greenpeace Italy

Demands for PFC-free gear

Since the start of the Detox campaign in 2011, Greenpeace has been calling on the textile industry to remove all hazardous chemicals from their supply chains, highlighting PFCs as one of the priority hazardous chemical groups to eliminate.

In 2015, the Detox Outdoor campaign put the spotlight on the outdoor apparel sector, which is well known for using PFCs in waterproof membranes and water-repellent coatings. The campaign has been joined by hundreds of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from around the world who have demanded PFC-free gear.

‘It’s time to say a big thank you to the outdoor community that has been campaigning with us for a future free of hazardous chemicals and is ultimately responsible for this victory.

‘Given Gore Fabrics’ influential role in the supply chain, this commitment will significantly broaden the range of outdoor products free of hazardous PFCs.’

CHIARA CAMPIONE
Detox Outdoor Corporate Lead, Greenpeace Italy

Gore Fabrics’ commitment

Gore Fabrics, a market leader in weatherproofing technologies, will eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concern from its general outdoor weatherproofing laminates (representing 85% of products made with these laminates) by the end of 2020, and from its specialised weatherproofing laminates (covering the remaining 15%) by the end of 2023.

The company will develop new, more environmentally friendly technologies for weatherproof membranes and water repellent coatings for consumer products, researching both fluorine-free and fluorinated options. The company has also committed to publicly document that no hazardous PFCs are released into the environment throughout the product lifecycle.

‘Our products always have been safe to wear, but Gore recognises the concerns regarding potential environmental contamination with this group of chemicals  and the need for new, more environmentally friendly technologies on the market.’

BERNHARD KIEL
Gore Fabrics Sustainability Leader

A game changer?

According to Greenpeace Switzerland’s industry overview, Gore Fabrics’ ‘Goal and Roadmap for Eliminating PFCs of Environmental Concern’, published on the company’s website, has the potential to be a real game changer.

Although many major brands, including The North Face, Mammut and Salewa still use hazardous PFCs in their products at the moment, the commitment by Gore, a major supplier of weatherproof fabrics, could ultimately make hazardous PFCs in outdoor gear a thing of the past.

Click here to read ‘PFC Revolution in the Outdoor Sector’, by Greenpeace.