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.

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 (more in The Outdoor Industry Compass).