As part of plans to remove harmful substances from its production processes, Jack Wolfskin has published a detailed roadmap for the complete phase-out of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in its supply chain by 2020. It is committing itself to full transparency with regard to the chemicals used by its suppliers.
The German outdoor clothing brand said that, since it is not possible to create durable outdoor clothing without chemicals such as PFC using current technology, it is entering into a collaboration with two top research institutes in this area: the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (Center for Materials and Coastal Research) and the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences. It will also team up with a German consultancy, EcoAid by Manfred Krautter, to help optimize the safety and sustainability of its products and supply chains.
With the Helmholtz Center, Jack Wolfskin aims to advance the basic research on the diffusion and environmental relevance of PFC, looking also at applications. As for Fresenius, it will be involved from 2014 in the organization of an international conference on perfluorinated and polyfluorinated compounds. Together with the graduate school, Jack Wolfskin aims to develop PFC-free, water-, oil- and dirt-repellent materials that do not yet exist in the textile sector. Krautter, a chemical engineer and longstanding leader of Greenpeace campaigns, will support the brand in improving safety and sustainability for its products and their supply chain.
The most significant PFCs are perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOS and PFOA are both raw materials and by-products that give water-, oil- and dirt-repellent properties to materials. Products containing PFOS are regulated through the 2006/122/EC Directive of the European Union. In contrast, the EU does not yet regulate PFOA.
In 2011, Jack Wolfskin became a partner of the Bluesign standard for the sustainability of manufacturing process and the rest of the supply chain. Through its own ‘brand performance check,' the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) confirmed that Jack Wolfskin had met all the standards required by the FWF in 2011. In July 2012, Jack Wolfskin presented its second sustainability report and published the evaluation of the company under the standards of the FWF.
In September 2012, Jack Wolfskin announced that PFOA will no longer be used in the manufacturing process for its waterproof or water-repellent apparel by the end of 2014. Earlier than scheduled, the brand launched its PFOA-free collection of rainwear on the market in February this year. The collection will hit the stores for the autumn/winter 2013/14 season. The upcoming line for summer 2013 is already 75 percent PFOA-free.
Today, Jack Wolfskin is investing a six-digit amount each year in order to support a clean manufacturing process. The brand plans to increase this amount in the future.