Here at Rab we have been carefully monitoring the emerging environmental concerns about PFCs and working hard on this issue behind the scenes.
PFCs (Perfluorocarbons) are compounds that are widely used in many different industries, including the manufacture of durable water repellent finishes (DWRs) commonly used on outdoor apparel. The use of effective, durable water repellents prevents clothing from “wetting out”, which can have serious consequences to wearer safety and comfort in the mountains and outdoors. The active water repellents themselves are tightly and durably bound to the fabrics but there are trace levels (at parts-per-billion levels) of unfixed PFC’s that can enter the environment. The primary concern is that many PFC’s are persistent and do not biodegrade.
What we know is that DWRs based on PFCs provide the best performance out of the currently available chemical finishing technologies; they ensure that outdoor apparel is properly and durably water repellent.
At Rab we have always taken our environmental responsibilities very seriously and in the absence of coherent, scientifically derived legislation we are working proactively to manage PFCs responsibly with the information available.
Previously we have already voluntarily made a transition from long chain fluorocarbon finishes C8 to shorter chain C6, due to the reduced bio-persistence of C6 species in the environment, and we continue to search for PFC-free alternatives without compromising the performance and durability we know our customers need.
We have been consulting with the scientific community both in the UK and Europe, with independent experts and legislative bodies and our many technical suppliers.
We are committed to acting responsibly whilst continuing to deliver the correct level of technical performance for our customers. This work is progressing well. Subject to equal or improved technical performance being achieved, we have now committed to a goal of switching from PFC-based technologies for all our products by 2020. We will also continue to monitor the legal landscape for objective, scientific derived guidance on PFC’s and alternatives to ensure we arrive at the best solution for customers and the environment.
As this project continues we will let you know what steps we are taking and will update you on our progress towards our goal.
RESPONSIBLE DOWN STANDARD
We are proud to announce that here at Equip Outdoor Technologies UK Ltd we are implementing the certification of the Responsible Down Standard across our entire Rab down collection.
The RDS is a comprehensive global, third party-certified, animal welfare and traceability standard for down and feathers. The RDS ensures that the down in a product does not come from birds that have been live-plucked or force-fed and that their welfare has been protected from the time they were hatchlings to when they are slaughtered.
The entire supply chain – farms, collectors, slaughter houses, down processors, sewing factories and distribution centres – are inspected by independent, professional certification bodies annually to guarantee complete traceability and compliance.
We are proud to now be able to state that as of this current Spring/Summer ’16 season, all our down sleeping bags are now RDS Certified. We are working towards bringing our entire down range in line with the RDS standard later in the year when we launch our Autumn/Winter ’16 season.
Down is an integral part of our heritage here at Rab. It is the perfect choice for alpinists looking for the best weight to warmth ratio and the highest quality insulation for challenging conditions in the mountains.
For more information you can read about the RDS here - http://responsibledown.org/