After premiering a sustainability framework in 2020, W.L. Gore & Associates’ fabrics division has rolled out several projects in 2021 through a variety of individual initiatives, some of them portrayed in the company’s latest sustainability update published Feb. 1, 2022. The 2021 Responsibility Update offers insights into how Gore’s fabrics division took inspiration from its sustainability framework to bring last year’s strategy to life.
Last year’s material innovation that is the most relevant for the outdoor industry will be the new expanded polyethylene (ePE) as a basis for Gore’s membrane technologies in its consumer business. The ePE laminates (membrane and DWR treatments) are PFC-free. The membrane was introduced in September, 2021 and will be used in Gore-Tex brand consumer products starting in the fall/winter 2022 season. The new membrane supports the Gore fabrics division’s goal of eliminating PFCs (PFCEC) throughout the lifecycle of its consumer products. The second product story featured within the 2021 responsibility update is the new footwear technology Extraguard, offered by the Gore-Tex professional division and mainly targeting the safety footwear market.
Additional highlights from Gore’s 2021 report include:
- Gore Fabrics Division conducted another assessment of its total carbon footprint and joined forces with its supply chain partners to reduce the carbon emissions of the raw materials.
- Gore Fabrics Division obtained Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certification for its fabric plants in Putzbrunn (Germany) and Shenzhen (China).
- Gore Fabrics Division increased transparency in its performance and efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of its fabric plants via the Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM). While the manufacturing sites in Shenzhen and Elk Mills (USA) maintained their performance levels, the Putzbrunn plant significantly exceed its total environmental score.
- Gore Fabrics Division continued to verify social compliance at its manufacturing sites via the Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (FSLM) and benchmarked social and labor conditions in their plants against all other facilities assessed by using the Higg FSLM, showing a rank above the industry median for the Gore production sites.