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2017 Sustainability Report
published 2018/08/01

Waterproof, windproof, breathable

Keeps the water out and the heat in – high-performance membranes keep you warm and dry.

Performance meets Ecology

Membranes are a great invention. In relation to apparel or footwear, the term refers to a semi-permeable, ultra-thin layer applied to a textile as a laminate. Membranes make the fabric waterproof and windproof while maintaining breathability.


The structure of a 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 membranes are fluorocarbon-free

Fluorocarbons and PFCs have long been known to be critical to health and the environment. Aside from their use in waterproofing textiles, fluorocarbons are also used for the manufacture of PTFE or ePTFE (expanded PTFE) membranes.


VAUDE only uses PTFE-free membranes. Read more here to find out why fluorocarbons are so harmful, why VAUDE wants to eliminate their use and what we use as eco-friendly waterproofing.



PTFE: Environmentally critical

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


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


On the other hand, the disposal of PTFE is extremely difficult. Even in highly sophisticated 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 (PU), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) or polyester (PE) 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 grounds – partially biobased and made from renewable raw materials.
  • The Ceplex Green polyester version that we are using exclusively from summer 2019 consists of approximately 30 % recycled polyester. The special feature of this recycled polyester is that, unlike the conventional methods used in the industry (producing it from remnant materials like trimmings that are recovered and re-melted directly, known as “industrial or pre-consumer recycling”), our Ceplex Green Membrane is made from actual post-consumer materials – specifically, used plastic bottles.
  • To date, this has only been available at VAUDE, and we are proud to be making our contribution to a clean environment.
  • The Ceplex Green polyester version that we use for kids’ shoes consists of approx. 30 % post-industrial recycled polyester. Even though this production process is less spectacular – it also reduces waste and conserves valuable resources.


Windproof Green:

The Windproof Green membrane ensures that our products are windproof and breathable. For membrane production, we use recycled or biobased materials and do not use any environmentally harmful fluorocarbons (PFC).

Sympatex ®:

This fabric consists of polyester and polyetherester. It’s a hydrophilic, non-porous membrane that’s extremely flexible, very thin and provides excellent wind and water resistance. It is PTFE-free and is made of 100 % recycled polyester (pre-consumer). We use this membrane in our footwear collection.

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 2016 Collection. Although the membrane was PTFE-free, we found that it still contained small amounts of PFC (C6). Unfortunately, these findings were made too late for the Goliath Jacket – production was already up and running.


All other models originally planned with this material were immediately stopped and we decided to eliminate the use of this material throughout the collection. 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 costs for product development – for VAUDE, membranes with PFC are simply not acceptable. And because some of these jackets may still be available in stores, we want to provide transparent information on the issue here.


Can I wash my jacket if it has a membrane?

Yes, of course. Read more here about how to care for your favorite VAUDE products so they last for a long time and in a way that’s kind to the environment.

 
 

Green Shape Ceplex Green - Movie:

GRI:   301-1
Materials used by weight or volume
GRI:   102-2
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