PFC Quest Results

Lots of people have already taken part in the PFC quest and asked outdoor brands for their use of PFCs. If you were one of them, thank you very much for being a part of this global community of true outdoor lovers! If you still want to be part, don’t hesitate to still ask the companies, let them feel that a big number of people is interested. Find more on the website: http://detox-outdoor.org/

We collected the answers of the brands below and we added our own responses to them. Feel free to comment and take part in the discussion. Please also contact the brands again if you feel like there are open questions. Remember to stay respectful in all discussions on this page or with outdoor brands.

We tried to collect answers and statements as complete as possible. If you feel like something is missing or not correct, please comment!

You’ll find an overview of the answers of the following companies below:

Arc’terix
Columbia
Deacathlon
Fjällräven
Jack Wolfskin
Haglöfs
Mammut
Patagonia
Salewa
The North Face
Vaude


Arc’terix

Using PFCs: YES
Date PFC-free: NONE
Signed a Greenpeace Detox-Commitment: NO

Arc’teric responded on Twitter

Arc’terix responded to the request with this answer:

In the linked article they say:

In 2014, ARC’TERYX completed our transition away from a previous generation of PFCs, broadly referred to as C8 or long-chain fluorocarbons, to a newer generation referred to as C6 or short-chain.
Ongoing, ARC’TERYX continues to test and research a range of non-fluorinated, non-PFC DWR treatments, with the ultimate goal being to continually reduce the environmental impact across the full product lifecycle, while delivering the performance and product lifespan that meet our brand standards.

Arc’terix is admitting to using PFCs in their products and they do not have ambitious schedules or concrete deadlinesto get rid of them.

Greenpeace Response

As an outdoor company, we would expect Arc’terix to care more about the environment. The answer they gave only has a vague statement about their plan to get rid of PFCs in their products. Short-term deadlines for completely phasing out the use of all PFCs in production processes are missing. Arc’terix, it’s time to #Detox now!


Columbia

Using PFCs: Yes
Date PFC-free: NONE
Signed a Greenpeace Detox-Commitment: NO

Lots of questions, but no answer from Columbia

Lots of questions, but no answer yet from Columbia

Update October 2nd: In the meantime, Columbia answered in Chinese:

An English statement is also available as a PDF.

Greenpeace Response:

We find it disappointing that it took Columbia such a long time to respond to its costumers concerns. For us it is an indication that they do not take this urgent problem seriously enough. Their answer confirms this, as it is only very general. As a mayor player on the global outdoor market, Columbia has the power to make real change happen: in stead of relying and waiting for others (such as the Outdoor Industry Association) Columbia should take individual action, by setting a short term elimination date for PFCs and implementing a credible Detox commitment.


Decathlon

Using PFCs: YES
Date PFC-free: NONE
Signed a Greenpeace Detox-Commitment: NO

Decathlon sells Quechua, a well known brand for outdoor products in some markets. They also use PFCs although it’s not clear yet in which products and in what quantities.

Maybe you can ask them some more questions?

Greenpeace Response

We would like Decathlon to give more information on their PFC use and if they have any plans to get rid of them.


Fjällräven

Using PFCs: NO
Date PFC-free: Already PFC free
Signed a Greenpeace Detox-Commitment: NO

Greenpeace Response

Well done Fjällräven! You have achieved already what other brands are saying is impossible. We are proud of you Fjällräven and you should be too! The only thing left is to implement a Detox Commitment with Greenpeace. For transparency’s sake and to set a standard for others to follow.


Jack Wolfskin

Using PFCs: YES
Date PFC-free: 2020
Signed a Greenpeace Detox-Commitment: NO

Jack Wolfskin answered to the questions

Jack Wolfskin answered a lot of your questions on Twitter, Facebook and Email. They are still using PFCs in 25% of their, but they say they are actively working towards full PFC-free production in 2020.

Original German quotes from their email:

Unser Ziel ist es bis 2020 alle PFCs aus unseren Produkten zu eliminieren. Bereits in der Sommerkollektion 2015 haben wir es geschafft, 75% unserer Bekleidungs-Kollektion PFC-frei anzubieten. Unsere Entwicklungsabteilung arbeitet mit Hochdruck daran, alle Produkte auf eine PFC-freie Ausrüstung umzustellen.

They also mention, that PFC-free weather resistant gear is already labeled in the stores. We don’t have a report of anyone checking that in the stores yet, so feel free to go to a store and comment what you have found.

Greenpeace Response

Way to go Jack Wolfskin. If it’s true what you are saying, you’re on the right track. But considering the urgency of the situation, we believe your goal should be more ambitious than 2020. Action is required right now. If you’re serious about your goals, why not be transparent about your progress and implement a Detox Commitment with Greenpeace?


Haglöfs

Using PFCs: YES
Date PFC-free: NONE
Signed a Greenpeace Detox-Commitment: NO

Haglöfs answered people by email.

In fact, they suggested people write them directly:

They have removed long-chain PFCs from their production, but short-chain PFCs are still used. As a long term goal, Haglöfs say they want to be PFC free, but they don’t give a date, just the information that they are not pleased with the alternatives yet.

Men på sikt vill alla förstås att alla typer av PFAS ska ersättas av andra och bättre alternativ. Vi använder fortfarande C6-impregneringar på våra skalkläder eftersom det idag inte finns PFAS-fria alternativ som klarar de funktionskrav som är nödvändiga i en utsatt miljö.

Greenpeace Response

Having PFC-elimination as a long term goal without an actual timeline is not enough. Set short-term deadlines for completely phasing out the use of all PFCs in production processes instead. Thats the only way you can make sure not to pollute the environment with these persistent chemicals anymore.


Mammut

Using PFCs: YES
Date PFC-free: NONE
Signed a Greenpeace Detox-Commitment: NO

Mammut was very active answering questions. But we’re questioning the honesty of their responses.

Mammut made a point of responding to as many questions as possible and they were very quick. Thank you Mammut for that!

But their way of justifying the use of PFCs is not very honest and their PFC-free label they mentioned doesn’t seem to exist.

Only used in high alpine environment?

Mammut answered that they use PFCs only for high alpine environments where it’s absolutely necessary. But in an interview, their CEO Rolf Schmid stated, that they also like to sell their products to urban customers walking their dogs and that not everyone wearing a Mammut jacket was climbing Eiger (but many dreamed of doing it).

Original quote (in German):

Wir verkaufen unsere Produkte gerne auch an Stadtmenschen, die darin mit dem Hund Gassi gehen.

And

Nicht jeder, der eine Mammut-Jacke trägt, durchsteigt auch gleich die Eiger–Nordwand. Viele träumen aber davon, es einmal zu tun.

Source

PFC-free label?

In the email Mammut sent to people questioning them, they mentioned a PFC free label their clothes are supposed to have:

To ease your choice of PFC-free products, our PFC-free weather protection clothing (outer layer) is marked with the icon below on the care label. All our midlayers, t-shirts, shirts and underwear are PFC-free.
The label Mammut said they are using on their products.

However, one of our supporters asked in a Mammut flagship store for clothes with the label and not a single item could be found. The staff was very helpful and even called the headquarters, but also without success. Does the label exist at all? If it does, it’s not widely used if even their own stores don’t have a single item using it.

Greenpeace Response

Mammut responded quickly, but their answers don’t seem to be very honest. The efforts seem to be mostly concentrated on saving their reputation in public. What we need from Mammut is a precise plan of how and when they want to get rid of PFCs and switch to already existing alternatives.And of course a Detox Commitment with Greenpeace.

Update 1: The hunt for the Mammut PFC-free label is still going on. It seems like not even Mammut can find it themselves. At least not in their stores and as of September 28th they haven’t named a single product:


Patagonia

Using PFCs: YES
Date PFC-free: NONE
Signed a Greenpeace Detox-Commitment: NO

Patagonia hasn’t responded on Twitter and Facebook yet except on their Taiwanese Facebook page, which is surprising as Patagonia is usually very keen on protecting their image as one of the most ecological outdoor brands. They did answer by email and linked to a blog post.

We have adopted the C6 DWR as the finish for most of our outerwear. The transition out of C8 will be nearly complete this fall; there will be no C8 in the spring 2016 line.

Like most brands, they are switching to short-chain PFCs instead of long-chain. They do acknowledge that’s not an ideal solution either (which we think is a massive understatement), but they don’t seem to be willing to get rid of all PFCs just yet.

They also don’t give any details on their timeline for PFC elimination:

We have so far tested about a dozen fluorocarbon-free finishes for our garments, and we know we’re getting close. We will share news about these initiatives as it becomes available. However, we don’t feel comfortable promising a path forward that hasn’t yet been identified — that simply isn’t fair given the complexity of this challenge.

The post on the Taiwanese Facebook doesn’t give us more information:

Greenpeace Response

Patagonia is admitting that using PFCs is a problem and they seem to be working to find a solution. This is a first step but definitely not enough.

Patagonia has the reputation to be one of the most sustainable outdoor brands and to care a lot about our environment. We would expect them to show true leadership for clean production and be one of the first outdoor brands to make a genuine and credible Detox commitment with Greenpeace to stop using hazardous chemicals and set short-term deadlines for completely phasing out the use of all PFCs in their production processes.


Salewa

Using PFCs: YES
Date PFC-free: NONE
Signed a Greenpeace Detox-Commitment: NO

Salewa ignored your questions on social media. This raises the question if they care about their customers’ concerns about polluting the environment with PFCs. However, they responded to emails that some of you sent them with an attached press release.

In the PR, they say that in the 2016 collection, 13% of their weatherproof products will be PFC-free (and they call it “a wide range of products”).

But they also say it is “still a long way to go to reach a final solution” for the PFC problem.

Greenpeace Response

Salewa is not taking this issue seriously enough. They do not seem to care much about their customers concern about hazardous chemicals used in their products.


The North Face

Using PFCs: Yes
Date PFC-free: NONE
Signed a Greenpeace Detox-Commitment: NO

The North Face hasn’t responded on social media, but they did send a short email to some people who have asked:

Thank you for contacting The North Face. I appreciate your question regarding PFCs. The North Face takes this problem very seriously. We have moved all our production towards C6 technology and are working to elliminate the use of PFCs in the future. For more information regarding our efforts in the area of sustainability please visit https://www.thenorthface.com/about-us/responsibility/product/manufacturing.html

Greenpeace Response

Firstly, it is embarrassing for an outdoor company to not openly answer the questions of so many consumers who are concerned about polluting the environment with hazardous chemicals. Only very few supporters have actually received an answer from the North Face This is a very disappointing way of dealing with such an urgent problem which would require immediate action.

Secondly, the response is very vague. PFCs are mentioned in the linked article, but there isn’t more information. Also disappointing.


Vaude

Using PFCs: YES
Date PFC-free: 2020
Signed a Greenpeace Detox-Commitment: NO

Vaude loves us. Go #Detox #Outdoor!

But seriously, Vaude put a lot of effort into their repsonse. They also linked a detailed article on their website, where they say that

VAUDE has used only PTFE-free membrane for years.

But they are still using PFCs in their DWR (Durable Water Repellency), which means their products still contain PFCs. Vaude promises to become fully PFC free until 2020.

And they say:

Greenpeace Response

This is a good start Vaude, your on the right track! We are convinced that you can do better than that and be more ambitious with your timeline . The alternatives are here right now, there’s no reason to wait until 2020. If Vaude is serious about becoming completely PFC-free, they should work on supply chain transparency and provide testing results. The most credible way to do this and be transparent about the whole process it to implement a Detox Commitment with Greenpeace. Exactly the right thing to do for a company like Vaude who seems to care a lot about the environment and about being transparent to their customers.