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2016 Sustainability Report
published 2017/08/01

Waterproof, windproof, breathable

Moisture outside, warmth inside: High performance membranes keep you warm and dry.

Performance meets Ecology

Membranes are a great invention. When related to apparel or shoes, the term refers to a semi-permeable, ultra-thin layer applied to a textile – either as a coating or a laminate. Membranes make the fabric waterproof, windproof and breathable at the same time.


The structure of the membrane keeps water droplets (rain) from entering, while water vapor (sweat) can still escape outward. If you want to find out more about the technology of membranes, take a look at our VAUDEpedia: http://help.vaude.com/membran/


VAUDE-Membrane ohne Fluorcarbone

Fluorocarbons and PFC have long been known as a critical issue from an ecological perspective. Aside from their use in waterproofing textiles, fluorocarbons are also used for the manufacture of PTFE or ePTFE (expanded PTFE) membranes. 


VAUDE uses membranes that are PTFE-free. You can read about what makes fluorocarbons hazardous, why VAUDE wants to completely eliminate their use and how you can still waterproof your favorite products here


Ecologically critical: PTFE

PTFE is also known as Teflon, for example, in non-stick frying pans. However, it is also used for the manufacture of membranes for apparel and shoes. VAUDE uses PTFE-free membranes exclusively. Why?


PTFE membranes have two main environmental problems: On the one hand, critical fluorocarbons are needed for their production, including PFOA

 
On the other hand, disposal of PTFE is extremely difficult. Even in our highly technical waste recycling plants, toxic substances are generated at normal combustion temperatures. PTFE must be treated with special care during disposal.


Since outdoor products are made for a very long service life, jackets with a PTFE membrane often do not end up with normal household waste. Instead, they are given away with clothing donations, travel through various channels to end up in countries without regulated waste disposal where they are disposed of in open fires. You can easily imagine how these hazardous substances end up in the environment and are breathed in.


VAUDE jackets are PFTE-free

Years ago, we decided to eliminate the use of PTFE membranes from all of our products. Since then, we have exclusively used high-performance PTFE-free membranes:


Ceplex :

Our time-tested, in-house membrane with three different performance levels (active, advanced, pro), is made of polyurethane and is 100% fluorocarbon-free.

Ceplex green:

This innovative membrane is made from polyurethane (PU) or polyester (PES): 


  • In the PU version, up to 25% of the polyurethane is replaced by S.Café . This highly functional material is made from recycled coffee – partially biobased and made from renewable raw materials. 
  • The Ceplex Green polyester version consists of approximately 25% recycled polyester. In a process of industrial/pre-consumer recycling, material remnants from trimming in the production facility are melted and reused as raw material, which increases material efficiency and reduces waste.
Sympatex ®:

consists of polyester and polyetherester. This hydrophilic, non-porous membrane is extremely flexible, very thin and provides best wind and water resistance. It is PTFE-free, is made of 100% recycled polyester (pre-consumer).

Special case Polartec® NeoShell

A highly functional Polartec® NeoShell membrane was used in the 3-layer Men’s and Women’s Goliath Jackets in the Winter Collection 2016. Although the membrane was PTFE-free, we found that it still contained small amounts of PFC (C6). These findings were unfortunately too late for the Goliath Jacket - production was already running.

All other models originally planned with this material were immediately stopped:
We decided not to use this material in the collection anymore. Our supplier could not explain why PFC was needed in the NeoShell membrane.

Despite the high costs associated with the cancellation of the remaining models and the increase in product development: For VAUDE, membranes with PFC are not acceptable

Can I wash my jacket if it has a membrane?

Of course. Read more here about how to care for your favorite VAUDE products to keep them looking good and functioning well in a way that’s good for the environment .

GRI:   G4-EN27
Extent of impact mitigation of environmental impacts of products and services
GRI:   G4-PR6
Sale of banned or disputed products
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