Over several seasons now we have been transitioning to fluorocarbon-free durable water repellent (DWR) treatments.
Fluorocarbons typically used in older DWRs are effective at repelling water and dirt, and so were used to increase the lifespan and functionality of a wide range of outdoors products. However these treatments contain persistent chemicals which might cause damage to the environment, and bio-accumulate in human tissue. At Haglöfs we set ambitious targets to transition all our DWRs to fluorocarbon free by 2020 at a time when a clear path to achieve these targets was still unclear.
This stretching goal has driven the transition and we learned a lot along the way - mostly that it is not as easy as it sounds!
Over the years an increasing range of fluorocarbon-free technologies have come to the market all of which perform differently and interact with fabrics in unique ways. This means it takes time and effort to find the right DWR for each of the fabrics we use, forcing us to balance the pace of transition with the availability of DWR/fabric combinations which meet the performance criteria expected of high-quality technical products.
In addition, fluorocarbon free DWRs are generally less durable and need reproofing on a more regular basis; another trade-off that we had to take into consideration.
Despite these challenges we have managed to convert over 95% of our range to either fluorocarbon free DWR or no DWR at all.
The remaining styles are those which demand the highest standards in performance and durability and where alternative options evaluated have yet to meet the performance criteria. Gore-Tex have set a timeline for phasing out fluorocarbons in their DWRs and which has been aligned with Greenpeace in recognition of the fact that moving to a lower performing replacement creates other issues and overall is likely to have a bigger environmental impact. More details of the status of the Gore-Tex phase-out plan can be found here
Note: Even when we use a PFC-free DWR there is always the possibility that the product may unintentionally pick up trace level contamination through contact with PFC containing products in the factories or even the retail outlets.
Important information: Due to a communication mistake between Haglöfs and our materials suppliers, a number of backpacks and bags delivered during spring 2018 have the wrong information on their hangtags. This means that in the stores there may be products that are wrongly described as having a fluorocarbon-free DWR. For more information on which products are affected, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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