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WL Gore pledges to eliminate PFCs in outdoor gear
Feb '17
WL Gore has pledged to eliminate hazardous perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in outdoor gear. The announcement was made at ISPO Munich, the biggest outdoor trade show in Europe. At the event, Greenpeace Switzerland also released PFC Revolution in the outdoor sector, an overview of the progress made towards eliminating hazardous PFCs in outdoor gear.

This WL Gore product will make transition to more environmentally friendly weatherproofing technologies, free of hazardous PFCs. Gore Fabrics, a market leader in weatherproofing technologies, will eliminate PFCs of environmental concern from its general outdoor weatherproofing laminates (corresponding to 85 per cent of products made with these laminates) by the end of 2020 and from its specialised weatherproofing laminates (covering the remaining 15 per cent) 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.

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 chain, 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, well known for using PFCs in making waterproof membranes and water-repellent coating. The campaign has been joined by outdoor enthusiasts from around the world who have demanded PFC-free gear.

“It is 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,” said Chiara Campione, Detox Outdoor corporate lead, Greenpeace Italy. “Given Gore Fabrics’ influential role in the supply chain, this commitment will significantly broaden the range of outdoor products free of hazardous PFCs.”

“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… As a product leader in the sector, Gore Fabrics is excited about the opportunity to drive meaningful change in the outdoor industry by making a very significant investment in developing new technologies that are free of PFCs of Environmental Concern,” said Bernhard Kiehl, Gore Fabrics sustainability leader.

“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,” added Campione. (RR)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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