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8th February 2017, Feldkirchen-Westerham

Gore Fabrics division announces environmental goals for 2020

W. L. Gore & Associates, a leading materials science company, has announced its ambitious environmental and chemical management goals for 2020 as part of Gore Fabrics Division’s long-term sustainability programme. These goals complement the company’s existing chemicals management programme, which is based upon stringent and independent third party standards like bluesign system and Oeko-Tex.

Included in these goals is Gore Fabrics’ intent to eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concern from its consumer fabrics products as an important milestone in its long-term journey towards continuously reducing the environmental footprint of its products throughout their full life cycle.

Bernhard Kiehl, Gore Fabrics Sustainability Leader. © W. L. Gore & Associates

“With our new chemical management goals we are initiating an impressive technology development programme that will have a substantial impact due to our unique position in the value chain. We are excited about the opportunity to drive meaningful change in the outdoor industry,” said Bernhard Kiehl, Gore Fabrics Sustainability Leader.

Elimination of PFCs

By implementing an aggressive innovation programme, Gore says it is working towards the elimination of PFCs of Environmental Concern from its Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatments and membrane manufacturing processes as a two-step initiative:

By the end of 2020, Gore Fabrics aims to eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concern from its consumer laminate shipments corresponding to approximately 85% 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.

Innovation programme

To achieve these goals Gore will undertake an innovation program, which will include collaborating with suppliers to eliminate PFCs that are present in the processing aides Gore Fabrics’ suppliers use to manufacture PTFE.

“Gore continuously strives to deliver outdoor products with the optimal combination of high technical performance and sustainability,” commented Christian Langer, member of Gore Fabrics’ Divisional Leadership Team.

“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.”

Dialogue with Greenpeace

Gore Fabrics is pursuing multiple technical solutions in parallel, including the development of fluorinated and non-fluorinated solutions. The first products with a DWR treatment free of PFCs are targeted for availability at retail in the Autumn/Winter 2018 season.

As part of its ongoing engagement with stakeholders, Gore entered into a dialogue with Greenpeace regarding the use of PFCs in outdoor apparel industry. As an initial valuable outcome of this exchange and following substantial in-depth discussions, Greenpeace and Gore have come to a mutual understanding on the distinct properties of materials that constitute a PFC 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.

www.gore.com

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