By implementing an aggressive innovation programme, Gore is working towards the elimination of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) of environmental concern from its Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatments and membrane manufacturing processes. By the end of 2020, Gore Fabrics will eliminate PFCs from its consumer laminate shipments corresponding to nearly 85 per cent of product units in the market. This includes jackets, shoes, gloves and accessories. Between 2021 and 2023 Gore Fabrics will remove PFCs of Environmental Concern from the remaining consumer fabrics laminate shipments while continuing to deliver products which meet the performance specifications relevant for the end use.
“Gore continuously strives to deliver outdoor products with the optimal combination of high technical performance and sustainability. By adopting the ambitious goal to eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concern from all of our consumer fabrics products we are underlining our decades long commitment to continuously improve the environmental profile of our products. Together with our suppliers, we intend to achieve our goal through an aggressive innovation program that will entail the development of new DWR treatments and membrane materials,” said Christian Langer, member of Gore Fabrics’ divisional leadership team.
In order to achieve these sustainability goals, Gore aims to undertake a substantial innovation programme which will include collaborating with suppliers to eliminate PFCs that are present in the processing aides Gore Fabrics' suppliers use to manufacture PTFE.
As part of its ongoing engagement with stakeholders, Gore has associated with Greenpeace regarding the use of PFCs in outdoor apparel industry. Greenpeace and Gore have come to a mutual understanding on the distinct properties of materials that constitute a PFC of environmental concern. Based on broad scientific consensus and supported by Greenpeace, Gore's membrane material PTFE made without the use of PFCs of Environmental Concern, is considered environmentally sound. This polymer is inert, insoluble in water and does not degrade to become a source of PFCs of Environmental Concern.
“The clear distinction between PFCs of Environmental Concern and PTFE will help overcome a long-standing ambiguity of how to differentiate materials that are safe from those that raise concerns. In addition to providing clearly defined guardrails for the outdoor industry, a rigorous and precise definition clears the way for Gore and its customers to deliver more sustainable technology innovations,” said Bernhard Kiehl, Gore Fabrics sustainability leader.
“Greenpeace welcomes this move as a real game-changer in the outdoor industry. Given Gore Fabrics' influential role in the value chain, the innovation that Gore is driving will significantly broaden the range of materials free of hazardous PFCs for outdoor products, including those using PTFE membranes with less environmental burden,” according to Chiara Campione, Detox Outdoor Corporate Lead, Greenpeace Italy.
“We are developing different material options, but according to our current technical understanding the unique performance and durability of PTFE will make it the preferred choice for many, especially high-demanding end-uses. Its outstanding durability further distinguishes PTFE as a beneficial choice from an environmental point of view. The longer a product is worn, the better for the environment,” Kiehl added. (RR)
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