For more than 30 years, our scientifically tested and proven GORE-TEX materials have been keeping people dry and warm so they can spend longer in the outdoors. At the heart of GORE-TEX fabrics is an extremely thin membrane called ePTFE that is durably waterproof, windproof and breathable. PTFE is a fluoropolymer.
Fluoropolymers are extremely valuable materials that have unique properties and enable high performing products. For example, the use of fluoropolymers will enhance the durability of a product, enabling a longer life and lowering its environmental footprint. This fluoropolymer is inert, insoluble in water, extremely stable and not biodegradable. Therefore, it does not degrade to become a source of PFCs of Environmental Concern.
As part of its commitment to continuously improve the environmental footprint of its consumer fabrics products while maintaining a high level of durability and performance, Gore Fabrics has set the goal of eliminating PFCs of Environmental Concern from the life cycle of its consumer fabrics products.
Gore Fabrics intends to eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concern from its consumer fabrics products. This is an important milestone in a long-term journey to continuously reduce the environmental footprint of its products throughout their full life cycle. Gore Fabrics is working towards the elimination of PFCs of Environmental Concern from its Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatments and membrane manufacturing processes.
The original target for completion of the elimination of PFCs of Environmental Concern from its consumer Fabric products is the end of 2023. Gore Fabrics is proud of the significant progress we have made on this journey with significant changes in DWR chemistries, supplier engagement and alternative materials developed.
Despite Gore Fabrics’s focus and progress to date, it is now clear that completing the transition of its entire portfolio by the original target date will not be possible due to product development and scaling challenges. Gore Fabrics is still fully committed to the PFCec-Free goals, and now is on track to transition the vast majority of its consumer portfolio by end of 2025.
*PFCs (per and poly-fluorinated chemicals) is a term with no commonly agreed definition, and like PFAS (per and poly fluorinated alkyl substances), generally refers to a broad group of highly fluorinated compounds with vastly differing physical attributes and properties. So, in communicating about PFCs it is important to be specific about the particular PFC or group of PFCs being discussed.
Gore has identified a group of PFCs as being of environmental concern. These PFCs of Environmental Concern (PFCEC) are highly fluorinated, small enough to be bioavailable, and persistent. Although not all PFCs of Environmental Concern are hazardous, they do have the potential to become widely dispersed in water, where they will remain for multiple generations. Therefore, Gore Fabrics has established goals to eliminate them from the life cycle of our consumer fabrics products.
PTFE is not a PFC of Environmental Concern. PTFE is safe and environmentally sound. This fluoropolymer is highly stable, too large to be bioavailable, insoluble in water, and does not degrade in the environment. Therefore, it is not a PFC of Environmental Concern and it does not degrade into them.
“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.”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
“An essential element of our product promise is to use chemicals responsibly and safely to protect workers in our supply chain, consumers and the environment.”
To ensure the highest quality and safety of our products, we have been leveraging independent certification for more than 25 years. Today, we are working with two credible, internationally recognized third-party certifications:
· The bluesign® system which covers our entire supply chain
· The STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® which looks at finished products only
The International OEKO-TEX® Association tests finished textiles for harmful substances to ensure they are safe to be worn. The OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certification is a product safety standard which requires all finished functional fabric laminates undergo tests.
Since 1996, Gore´s Fabrics Division, the maker of GORE-TEX products, has been working with the Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX® certification to ensure its products are safe to wear. We are currently on-track to meet our goal of having 100% of GORE-TEX garments and footwear certified by Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX® by end of 2020.
For more information visit www.oeko-tex.com
The bluesign® standard is a widely accepted tool for verifying a company’s commitment to sustainable management in the production of textiles. The bluesign® logo indicates to consumers that environmental, health and safety issues have been addressed in the creation of a product, including the efficient use of water, energy and chemicals.
By working with manufacturers to eliminate hazardous chemicals and implement safety practices, bluesign® helps protect workers from exposure to chemicals. Factories approved by bluesign® must meet stringent standards for pollution control. A cornerstone of this certification is that it only allows using chemicals of traceable origin which have been recognized as safe, ensuring materials are made without those found on the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) list.
In 2010, all manufacturing sites of Gore’s Fabrics Division were successfully audited to partner in the bluesign® system. Since then, we have been working with partners to promote and implement the bluesign® system throughout the entire supply chain.
Bluesign® certification indicates that GORE-TEX products made with ePTFE membranes are made responsibly in respect to the environment and the safety of workers, providing an even higher level of consumer safety. Since March 2019, 85% of the GORE-TEX garment laminate volume is certified by bluesign®, and we are aiming for 85% of our footwear volume to be bluesign® approved by 2022.
For more information visit www.bluesign.com