Portland, Oregon-based footwear brand Keen has developed an open-source model for manufacturing PFC-free footwear. To support this initiative, the brand has also challenged the entire outdoor footwear industry to be PFC-free by 2025. Product developers can visit www.keenfootwear.com/Detox to view details about the detoxification process Keen has followed since 2014 to eliminate PFCs from its supply chain. The release of the processes reminds us of Houdini’s initiative last October when the Swedish company made the manufacturing details of its award-winning Mono Air Houdi fleece jacket available as open-source to spur the circular economy.

“We spent the last seven years researching, developing and refining what is now a proven process to eliminate PFCs from our products without sacrificing performance, and we want to share this for the common good,” said Erik Burbank, vice president of The Keen Effect, Keen’s sustainability division/platform. “By keeping PFCs and PFASs out of our supply chain and products, we’ve kept 180 tons of fluorinated chemicals out of the environment over the last seven years.”

Keen estimates that the company has spent 10,000 hours to achieve its goal of becoming PFC-free and has invested a seven-figure sum to support that effort. By applying the „Precautionary Principle,” Keen was able to find and remove PFCs that were unnecessarily applied to components and materials. Keen conducted a full audit of all components used in its products and worked with suppliers and partners who were able to remove approximately 65 percent of PFCs within the supply chain. For the remaining 35 percent, the company worked with experts for four years to develop water-repellent solutions without PFCs. This involved thousands of hours of lab and field testing before finally delivering safe, effective and affordable options.

Keen established the Detox the Planet initiative in 2012 to proactively identify and remove harmful chemicals in its supply chain and replace them with safe and effective alternatives. To reach the broadest possible audience, Keen began sharing its open-sourcing invitation on World Water Day, March 22.

Photo: © Keen Blog