A wee scandal, an emotional press conference, new gear and new partners - a quick re-cap of my 2017 ISPO.
I’m an Ambassador³
Well, actually that should be a four I reckon - because I’m already a Helsport Ambassador since last year. But I met with three companies which I really value and like a lot, and we had great discussion on how to work together in 2017 and onwards. Once contracts are signed I’ll announce it, but for now I can tease you that they’re brands you already have seen quite a bit here on the blog!
Is this the most important section? Could be. It’s also the section which takes a lot of work and hence I will postpone this to another time when I have more time.
Greenpeace x Gore-Tex x Sympatex
Sympatex is already since last year working on a much more environmentally friendly membrane technology which is free of dangerous substances - and at the ISPO it launched its “guaranteed green” Sympatex membrane, which is produced in a completely climate-neutral way for the first time. In order to eliminate any contribution to global warming, the ecological alternative among functional textile specialists will compensate the CO2 amount of its entire yearly membrane production starting from 2017 through respective climate protection certificates in cooperation with the Munich-based consultancy ClimatePartner. Thus, Sympatex can compensate even the last remaining CO2 emissions that are released during the production of the membrane with the support of internationally certified climate protection projects. I already tweeted about this last year and am super-excited about this development, it’s a big step into the right direction. Add in that the Sympatex membrane is PFC free and is used by very environmentally conscious companies like Vaude and you know that this is a great shell membrane.
But Sympatex is sadly just a smaller player when it comes to membranes - it’s the giants which one needs to convince to become better. And while you may think of Greenpeace what you’d like, they managed to convince the giant to make amends and move into the right direction. Gore Fabrics will eliminate PFCs of Environmental Concern from its general outdoor weatherproofing laminates (corresponding to 85% of products made with these laminates) by the end of 2020 and from its specialized weatherproofing laminates (corresponding to the remaining 15% of products made with these laminates) by the end of 2023. The company will develop new, more environmentally friendly technologies for weatherproof membranes and water repellent coatings for consumer products, researching both fluorine-free and fluorinated options, and publicly document that no hazardous PFCs are released into the environment throughout the product lifecycle.
So after two years of campaigning for Detox Outdoor we finally have convinced Gore-Tex that it is time to do something better - even if with Sympatex, Páramo & Nikwax (see underneath) there are already PFC-free options available. But as most people have likely never heard of Sympatex and a hardshell is for them a Gore-Tex Jacket, it’s a great sign that Gore Fabrics is excited about the opportunity to drive meaningful change in the outdoor industry by making a very significant investment in developing new technologies that are free of PFCs of Environmental Concern. If you are curious about Gore’s Roadmap to go PFC free, have a look here. Wondering what’s the raucous about PFC in the first place? Have a look at this article [in German] and if you want to know which brands offer PFC-free garments, take a look at this pdf.
Páramo Press Conference
I try to avoid Press Conferences because, as Björn writes in his excellent Páramo Press Conference article, they’re 97% useless for my work. Happily for us the Páramo Press conferences belongs the 1% which are fantastic, and hence I highly recommend that you direct your browser towards Björn’s great article and read the whole story about how Páramo’s partner, the Miquelina Foundation, became a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) which means that Páramo garments are now Fair Trade verified - and not just that, it’s the first outdoor brand in the whole market which can use the WFTO First-Buyer Label. Add in that Páramo garments are PFC-free, long-lasting and can easily be re-proofed with Nikwax products and you have a real winner =)
And then there was that small scandal right before the ISPO kicked off. A fellow blogger, Andreas from Gipfelfieber, published an article which asked “Can an ISPO Award be bought?”. Well, basically you need to pay either way an entry fee to compete in the Award, so the short answer is yes. The long answer, and which was written about in an could-be-the-case-but-we-can’t-proof-it style suggested that a Jury member offered an ISPO Award entry company the possibility to buy an award. Sadly the article can not deliver any real evidence that this is really the case and as long as this evidence is missing it is an accusation which I wouldn’t take too serious.
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