Gore Fabrics Division Establishes Ambitious Environmental Goals for 2020 • bluesign® approval for 85% of consumer garments laminate volume
• OEKO-TEX® certification for 100% of consumer garments products
• Elimination of PFCs of Environmental Concern from consumer laminate shipments that correspond to 85% of product units produced (jackets, shoes, gloves, accessories)

Feldkirchen-Westerham (February 6, 2017) —  W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) announced ambitious environmental and chemical management goals for 2020 as part of Gore Fabrics Division’s long-term sustainability program. These goals complement its existing chemicals management program which is based upon stringent and independent third party standards like bluesign® system and OEKO-TEX®.

Included in these goals is Gore Fabrics’ intent to eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concern from its consumer fabrics products as an important milestone in its long-term journey towards continuously reducing the environmental footprint of its products throughout their full life cycle. By implementing an aggressive innovation program, Gore is working towards the elimination of PFCs of Environmental Concern from its Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatments and membrane manufacturing processes as a two-step initiative:

  • By the end of 2020, Gore Fabrics will eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concerns from its consumer laminate shipments corresponding to approximately 85% of product units in the market. This includes jackets, shoes, gloves and accessories.
  • Between 2021 and 2023 Gore Fabrics will remove PFCs of Environmental Concerns from the remaining consumer fabrics laminate shipments while continuing to deliver products which meet the performance specifications relevant for the end use.

To achieve these goals Gore will undertake a substantial innovation program which will include collaborating with suppliers to eliminate PFCs that are present in the processing aides Gore Fabrics’ suppliers use to manufacture PTFE.

Christian Langer, member of Gore Fabrics’ Divisional Leadership Team, comments: “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.”

Gore Fabrics is pursuing multiple technical solutions in parallel, including the development of fluorinated and non-fluorinated solutions. The first products with a DWR treatment free of PFCs are targeted for availability at retail in the Autumn/Winter 2018 season.

As part of its ongoing engagement with stakeholders, Gore entered into a dialogue with Greenpeace regarding the use of PFCs in outdoor apparel industry. As an initial valuable outcome of this exchange and following substantial in-depth discussions, Greenpeace and Gore have come to a mutual understanding on the distinct properties of materials that constitute a PFC of Environmental Concern.

Bernhard Kiehl, Gore Fabrics Sustainability Leader: “The clear distinction between PFCs of Environmental Concern and PTFE will help overcome a long-standing ambiguity of how to differentiate materials that are safe from those that raise concerns. In addition to providing clearly defined guardrails for the outdoor industry, a rigorous and precise definition clears the way for Gore and its customers to deliver more sustainable technology innovations.”

Chiara Campione, Detox Outdoor Corporate Lead, Greenpeace Italy: “Greenpeace welcomes this move as a real game changer in the outdoor industry. Given Gore Fabrics’ influential role in the value chain, the innovation that Gore is driving will significantly broaden the range of materials free of hazardous PFCs for outdoor products, including those using PTFE membranes with less environmental burden."

Kiehl: “We are developing different material options, but according to our current technical understanding the unique performance and durability of PTFE will make it the preferred choice for many, especially high-demanding end-uses. Its outstanding durability further distinguishes PTFE as a beneficial choice from an environmental point of view. The longer a product is worn, the better for the environment.”

Consistent with Gore Fabrics’ life cycle approach to evaluating the environmental impact of its products and ensuring responsible chemical management practices, the company has been leveraging independent third-party validation for more than 20 years.

  • Currently, almost 90% of consumer garment laminates are certified according to the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, with the rest manufactured in compliance with its requirements. By 2020, Gore Fabrics intends to have 100% of consumer garment laminates achieve OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certification.
  • 70% of consumer garment laminate volume is currently bluesign® approved, with Gore now targeting 85% of its consumer garments volume to be bluesign® approved by 2020.

Kiehl concludes: “With our new chemical management goals we are initiating an impressive technology development program that will have a substantial impact due to our unique position in the value chain. We are excited about the opportunity to drive meaningful change in the outdoor industry.”

To actively contribute to further transparency in chemical management reporting within the outdoor industry, Gore Fabrics Division will not only disclose its progress, but also its assessment methods and results towards more sustainable chemistry, for example in its annual “Responsibility Update” and via its website.

W. L. Gore & Associates Unveils World-Class Fabrics Testing Facility, Marking 40 Years of Innovating Comfort and Protection

W. L. Gore & Associates Unveils World-Class Fabrics Testing Facility, Marking 40 Years of Innovating Comfort and Protection

Elkton, Md. (November 17, 2016) — W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. (Gore), known for its scientific approach to product development and ensuring products perform as promised in the intended end use, advanced its product testing capabilities with the opening of new Biophysics and Heat and Flame Protection labs. The new lab facilities allow Gore engineers to measure the properties of component materials, Gore laminates and fully constructed garments, and footwear in new, expanded and relevant conditions.

The new world-class facilities further Gore’s ability to develop innovative fabrics products with distinct functionality that are proven to perform in real-world conditions before they are even brought to market.

  • The Environmental Chamber can recreate between 85 to 95 percent of the environments on the earth’s surface, allowing Gore to evaluate the performance of its fabrics products in specific conditions and collect quantitative data on the protection provided and resulting comfort of the wearer.
  • The new Heat and Flame Protection lab allows Gore to precisely measure and analyze the ability of its products to provide the three key elements of burn protection: flame resistance, thermal insulation, and thermal stability.
gorelab-environment

“Gore’s new world-class facilities can simulate from the most common to the most extreme environmental conditions, from a cold, damp drizzle in Scotland to the scorching heat of a California wildfire,” says Paul Canatella technical leader for Gore Fabrics Division. “By creating real-world conditions in a lab environment we can scientifically measure and analyze the impact of a product on human perception and performance in a controlled environment and then quickly apply that data to our product research and development efforts.”

Gore’s Fabrics Division brought comfort to the outdoor industry 40-years ago with the development of waterproof breathable GORE-TEX® Fabric Technology. As the leading innovator of performance apparel, Gore’s experience and expertise has resulted in such industry breakthroughs as: seam sealing with GORE-SEAM® Tape; the first waterproof breathable footwear (GORE-TEX® Bootie); addressing heat stress in the firefighting industry with GORE-TEX® Moisture Barriers; and protecting soldiers with GORE-TEX® Combat gear and GORE-TEX® PYRAD® Technology which provides flame resistant protection.

gorelab-rain

Gore conducts extensive testing in the new Biophysics lab to predict the effects of apparel, activity, and environment on the human body. This state-of-the-art facility has the capabilities to measure performance, protection, breathability and comfort benefit for the end-user, and can recreate a wide range of environmental conditions, such as: adjusting the temperature from -50 to +50 C, relative humidity from 5 – 98 percent, wind from 0-10 m/s, and rain conditions (water and air temperature 5-25 C, rain fall rates between 0-76 mm/hr, and wind from 0-5 m/s). The data and analytics gathered during the testing process are a critical component for understanding the potential impact on the end-user in a variety of relevant environmental conditions for instance, exposure to heat and solar radiation, cold, rain, or high wind. The impact is measured through benchtop testing, sensored mannequins, and human testing in the environmental chamber.

gorelab-fire

Key components of the Biophysics lab include:

  • The Environmental Chamber can simulate extreme environmental conditions from frigid temperatures on Everest to the blazing sun and heat of Death Valley to Amazonian rainforest humidity. Such range of conditions are achieved through accurate control of temperature (-50C–+50C), relative humidity (5-98%), wind speed (0-10 m/s), and natural solar radiation (0-1100 W/m2) that can replicate a complete solar cycle from sun rise to sun set.
  • The Rain Tower can simulate realistic rainfall rates ranging from a light drizzle in Scotland to a downpour in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. It can simulate rainfall of up to 3 inches per hour, water and air temperatures ranging from 5° to 25° C, and wind speed of up to 5 miles per second. This is critical in testing the impact of wind-driven rain on various aspects of water protection and comfort, such as how garment water gain affects the user perception of warmth and bulk, for example.

Along with comfort, protection from heat and flames are tested in Gore's new Heat and Flame Protection lab. To maximize end-users’ functional effectiveness in a wide range of heat and flame exposures, Gore analyzes thermal insulation and thermal stability in addition to "self-extinguishing" flame resistant functionality of materials.

Key capabilities of the Heat and Flame Protection lab include:

  • The Cone Calorimeter enables Gore engineers to measure heat release characteristics of the fabrics used in finished garments, one of the most important variables to measure when developing garments that protect against heat and flame sources. The cone calorimeter also allows for measurement of smoke generated from a fire event involving these products.
  • Stored Thermal Energy Tester evaluates time to burn in low heat flux scenarios where a firefighter could experience sweat burns from standing outside the fire ground. This allows complimentary insight to the additional reduction in protection in a flash-over fire scenario when a room or area is suddenly engulfed in flames from floor to ceiling.
  • Pyrolysis Combustion Flow Calorimeter (PCFC) / Micro Combustion Calorimeter (MCC) allows Gore to rapidly characterize heat release and fire-preventing char generation in the raw materials used to make our products.

“The advanced capabilities of the Heat and Flame Protection lab allow us to very quickly assess the performance of materials and rapidly generate and develop understanding and new technologies that enable us to better protect those that protect and serve all of us,” said Kip Sturgill, global technical leader for Gore’s protective fabrics business unit.

40 Years of Innovation

The comfort and protection of Gore’s broad fabrics portfolio is a staple consumers rely on in a range of applications and extreme conditions. Gore products allow golfers to play 18 holes in wet grass while keeping their feet dry and comfortable, hikers to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about the weather, and those summiting the highest of peaks to focus on climb with the confidence that their GORE-TEX® gear will protect them from water and wind as promised. In addition, Gore has a robust portfolio of technical products that help protect firefighters from the dangers of heat stress and allow police officers and military soldiers to focus on their mission, with the confidence that their Gore products will provide them the protection they require.

About Gore Fabrics

Gore’s Fabrics Division revolutionized the outerwear industry with waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® fabric 40 years ago and remains a leading innovator of performance apparel. GORE® fabrics products provide comfort and protection in challenging environments and in everyday life, enabling wearers to safely, and confidently achieve and experience more. From hiking in downpours to military operations and fighting fires, Gore’s deep understanding of consumer and industry needs drives development of products with meaningful performance advantages. Visit gore-tex.com.au  to learn more.

About W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

Gore is a technology-driven company focused on discovery and product innovation. Well known for waterproof, breathable GORE-TEX® fabric, the company's portfolio includes everything from high-performance fabrics and implantable medical devices to industrial manufacturing components and aerospace electronics. Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Newark, Delaware, Gore employs more than 10,000 associates worldwide. Gore is one of a select few companies to appear on all of the U.S. “100 Best Companies to Work For” lists since the rankings debuted in 1984. The company also appears regularly on similar lists around the world. Learn more at www.gore.com. Learn more at gore.com.