The Fabrics Division of W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) was voted “January 2015 Company of the Month” by OEKO-TEX for its sustainability program. OEKO-TEX launched this campaign to recognize textile companies for their ongoing commitment to product safety and sustainable production processes. The January award went to Gore in recognition of the fact that the company has now completely eliminated PFOA from all raw materials used in its Fabrics Division.
“As a company whose core competence lies in the field of innovation, it is our commitment to continually drive ecological and social development efforts without compromising the functionality or durability of our products,” said Bernhard Kiehl, Sustainability leader at Gore Fabrics. “We are extremely pleased that OEKO-TEX has recognized our sustainability program as exemplary in the textile industry and awarded us the title of “January 2015 Company of the Month.”
Gore Fabrics uses Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as the starting point for an ecological impact assessment of its products and its efforts to make them more environmentally friendly. “Today we know that the best way to reduce the environmental impact of functional outdoor apparel is to enhance its durable performance and thus its longevity. Durability is therefore one of the cornerstones of our sustainability approach,” explains Kiehl.
Since 1996, Gore Fabrics has been working with the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 to demonstrate that its products are safe for its customers. As early as 1996, Gore Fabrics received its first certifications for workwear and leisurewear. Since then the number of certified products in all areas of its product portfolio has consistently increased.
Furthermore, Gore Fabrics has been an official partner of bluesign systems since 2010.
Currently more than 50 percent of Gore’s consumer laminate volume for apparel products are certified by the bluesign standard, whereby undesired chemicals are eliminated from the textile production right from the start. An environmental management system based on ISO 14001 has been in operation in all Gore Fabrics manufacturing plants since 2010.
Likewise, by the end of 2013 Gore was one of the first companies in the industry to have eliminated PFOA from all raw materials for its fabrics products. “In the areas of product safety and sustainable production conditions, Gore sets the standards for the textile industry,” said Dr Jean-Pierre Haug, general secretary of OEKO-TEX. “The elimination of PFOA is an excellent example. We have named Gore ‘OEKO-TEX January 2015 Company of the Month’ in recognition of its constant efforts to find new ways forward that ultimately provide a role model for the rest of the textile industry.”
In addition to its commitment to the environment, OEKO-TEX recognizes fair working conditions. In recent years Gore has repeatedly ranked high in the “Great Place to Work” competitions throughout Europe and in the USA. In 2013 Gore was amongst the top finishers in China for the first time. “We are very impressed by the fact that for many years these top workplace lists have consistently featured Gore,” said Haug. “Gore is a company that is prepared to take on responsibility – for people and for the environment.”