02.05.23 – Sustainability

Vaude – PFAS-free in all apparel fabrics

PFAS, or per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, were once considered miraculous for their ability to make products water-repellent, non-stick, and stain-resistant.


The dangers of PFAS have long been known. Now the issue has moved into broader public focus. © Ralf Gantzhorn


"We are aware that restricting all PFASs will pose major challenges for many companies. Ten years ago, we were faced with this task ourselves and put a lot of effort into finding pollutant-free alternatives; we went through countless test series and also had to accept setbacks time and again. But it was worth it!" says Bettina Roth, Head of Quality Management at Vaude. © Vaude


They can be found in a wide range of everyday items, from frying pans to cosmetics, and are harmful to both health and the environment. They accumulate in soil, water, plants, animals, and humans, and are not biodegradable. Despite knowing about the health risks, the industry has continued to use them. However, the German government, along with four other countries, plans to restrict the entire group of PFAS substances in the EU by 2025.

“We are glad that PFAS are finally to be restricted by law and that this issue has now also reached the general public. It affects each and every one of us, no matter where we live in the world. At Vaude, we have long been voluntarily committed to this issue and have shown that Environmentally friendly, PFAS-free outdoor gear and apparel is possible!” says Antje von Dewitz, Vaude CEO. Unfortunately, however, this is far from standard. "Too little is being done on a voluntary basis. Therefore, legal regulations are important in making the industry reconsider its position and in advancing the development of PFAS-free alternatives," continues Antje von Dewitz.

For many years, Vaude has been dedicated to eliminating harmful chemicals from its manufacturing processes, including the removal of PFCs, which belong to the PFAS group. In 2016, Vaude became the only major outdoor brand to sign the Greenpeace Detox Commitment, which committed the company to eliminating all harmful substances from its entire production process and producing its entire collection with PFC-free manufacturing. Vaude operates proactively in accordance with the precautionary principle to protect people and the environment. By 2010, Vaude had eliminated the use of PFCs in its waterproof membranes and has since made more and more of its products PFC-free. This has applied to all sleeping bags since 2016, to footwear and backpacks since 2020, and since 2021, to all apparel fabrics. Vaude has put in significant personnel and financial effort to achieve this and welcomes the push for clear legal regulations at the EU and international levels to accelerate innovation for a PFAS-free future.