Sympatex wins injunction to stop Gore Tex’s sustainability claim

Sympatex has obtained an injunction against Gore Tex stopping the outdoor retailer from claiming the fabric membrane it uses to produce its core products is ‘environmentally friendly’, as it may contain hazardous substances such as PFCs.

Sympatex

Gore announced at ISPO Munich 2017 plans to ban the ecologically controversial PFCs from the majority of its laminates by 2020. The chemicals are often used in the outdoor industry for their waterproofing and dirt resistant properties, both in durable water repellent coatings and in waterproof membranes.

Sympatex considered Gore’s claim that its clothing are largely produced without any PFCs of environmental concern to be “truth-perverting” and pursued legal action.

“We decided to take this step after several requests to correct this truth-perverting statement have been vain for weeks”, said Rüdiger Fox, CEO of Sympatex Technologies. “If we as a civil society allowed that the ecological collateral damage of industrial actions that is already obvious all over the world is belittled in such a way, we would soon be seen as the generation which has deliberately evaded its responsibility.”

According to the company, the production of the PTFE membrane results in greenhouse gas emissions which are 50 times higher than Sympatex’ own technology, subsequently contributing to global warming. Additionally, the uncontrolled burning of PTFE, one of the most frequently used methods of garment disposal in third world countries, can lead to health risks such as Teflon Flu, said Sympatex.

The company’s own membrane is 100% recyclable and certified by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, which guarantees that the chemicals used throughout the production process are not harmful of dangerous to human health.

“Even if Gore manages to keep its promise made at ISPO to produce its membrane without any PFCs of environmental concern by 2020, a series of highly important ecological questions would still remain unanswered,” continued Fox.

“In view of yearly approx 1.4 million tons of old textiles in Germany alone we all still have many tasks to do in the textile industry until we have closed the loop so that the generations to come don’t have to pay for our failures. The attempt to mislead the end consumers with ‘alternative facts’ in order to distract from the issue risks compromising the credibility of the entire sector,” he said. 

Translated by Barbara Santamaria

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