Outdoor clothing company Vaude has succeeded in eliminating seven chemicals of concern from its manufacturing processes, including controversial PFCs, by its deadline of 2020 year-end. 

Vaude signed the Greenpeace Detox Commitment in 2015 with the goal of systematically eliminating chemicals of concern from the manufacturing process by 2020. Since then, Vaude says its apparel collection has been PFC-free since 2018 and has this year, achieved the same for all footwear and backpacks as well.

In addition, a total of seven out of eleven hazardous substance groups have already been fully eliminated from production and the sustainable outdoor brand cites "great strides" in four other groups.

"We are confident that we will achieve our goal of completely eliminating hazardous chemicals from production," explains Bettina Roth, head of quality management at Vaude.

In order to meet its high standards for environmentally friendly products that are free from hazardous substances, Vaude has been working for years to make the manufacturing processes throughout the supply chain as clean and safe as possible. Vaude has been a partner of the Bluesign system since 2001, following one of the strictest sustainability standards for textiles.

Nevertheless, there were – and continue to be – critical groups of substances that the company uses due to a lack of alternatives. Although their use and application is strictly regulated by limit values, Vaude says it voluntarily began gradually eliminating these chemicals even before the Detox Commitment.

"When Greenpeace set its sights on the outdoor industry in 2012 with its Detox Campaign, we saw a great opportunity to finally make a difference across the industry and develop alternatives for chemicals of concern. As a single mid-sized brand, we hadn't had enough influence with the material manufacturers before that time," says Antje von Dewitz, Vaude CEO.

To ensure compliance with stated limits and regulations, Vaude is working with a Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL). This is a list of substances that are either completely prohibited or restricted by limit values and it applies to the entire manufacturing process. 

100% of the firm's primary partners have signed its MRSL and committed themselves to compliance with Vaude's requirements, which is verified by periodical wastewater tests.

Meanwhile, by signing the Detox Commitment, Vaude has also committed to developing innovative business models for more sustainable consumption. 

Among its achievements are the eBay Upcycling Store – a material exchange platform where residual materials that accumulate in manufacturing are auctioned off for a good cause, and the iRentit service which sees Vaude offer a shared economy platform where gear can be rented and used by several people. 

The Vaude Academy for Sustainable Business was also founded this year to help the company share its experience and expertise with interested companies, organisations, and educational institutions.