Gore to move away from PFCs in eco-friendly material pledge

Gore has announced that it will transition toward more environmentally friendly weatherproofing technologies, free of hazardous per- and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).

The outdoor apparel firm has now outlined goals to eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concern from its general outdoor weatherproofing laminates (corresponding to 85% of products made with these laminates) by the end of 2020 and from its specialized 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.

Speaking at ISPO, Gore’s approach comes in tandem with a Greenpeace Switzerland overview of progress made in the outdoor arena to eliminate PFCs.

Our products always have been safe to wear, but Gore recognizes the concerns regarding potential environmental contamination with this group of chemicals and the need for new, more environmentally friendly technologies on the market,” said Bernhard Kiehl, Gore Fabrics Sustainability Leader. “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.”

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 hundreds of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from around the world who have demanded PFC-free gear.

Greenpeace are hopeful that Gore’s commitment will now spur others to follow suit.

“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,” concluded Chiara Campione, Detox Outdoor Corporate Lead at Greenpeace Italy.