PFCs are used for the durable water repellency (DWR) finish of the outer fabric of rain gear but they decompose very slowly. Mammut has been looking for solutions that will continue to ensure the high performance of its products while at the same time reducing the environmental impact. Phasing out per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) applied in water-repellent products is part of Mammut’s WE CARE strategy.
The Swiss outdoor brand started on this journey years ago and since publishing its PFC policy in December 2016, it has ramped up its efforts, participating in a research project in 2017 and in tests in 2018.
The company participates in the research project POPFREE initiated by the Research Institute of Sweden (RISE). The project not only analyses the impact of PFCs on the environment but also that of its alternatives. Keen on gaining as much knowledge as possible, Mammut collaborates with other brands and industry partners as well as with businesses in other industries where PFCs are widely used, such as ski wax or food contact paper.
Aside from having the opportunity to learn from each other, this also supports the effort of creating a strong voice pushing change. Furthermore, in more than 200 lab hours, Mammut conducted a total of over 400 tests on 120 different fabrics across all product categories, using the Bundesmann test. Included were various PFC-free alternatives.
The main result was the defining of the numerous factors affecting performance. Apart from the chemicals, they are mainly fabric construction, the production process and the overall care by the consumer. In sharing this insight, Mammut supports its suppliers during their production process.
Mammut’s goal is to produce only PFC-free products by 2025. The company is taking a major step in this direction with its Spring/Summer 2020 collection – especially in the area of hardware products. For example, in the new collection 65% of all sleeping bags are PFC-free (2019: 35%). For backpacks, bags and climbing harnesses, the percentage of products without fabrics with PFC-based equipment increased from 26% in the previous year’s collection to 47%.
Responsible production is a priority at Mammut throughout the entire collection. Several products in the SS20 collection focus specifically on sustainability, such as the PFC-free Albula HS Jacket made from a 100% recycled polyester main material dyed using the dope-dye method.