Nature lovers and long-time customers across the globe are asking outdoor brands Mammut and The North Face to stop using hazardous chemicals to produce their gear.

The past 4 days alone have seen almost 100 protests in 13 countries around the world. From Hamburg to London, and Stockholm to Hong Kong, Greenpeace volunteers and outdoor enthusiasts stood up in flagship stores to expose the toxic addiction of Mammut and The North Face.

Detox Action in Front of a North Face Store in Budapest. 25 Jan 2016 © Bence Jardany / Greenpeace

How are the brands responding?

Since the release of product testing results last week, The North Face has announced that they will eliminate PFCs from apparel by 2020!

This may look like a partial victory, but it is not enough. We can't accept hazardous chemicals in our sleeping bags, backpacks, tents, shoes and other outdoor gear either. The North Face can't take irreversible pollution back. The urgency to stop the tide of toxic chemicals entering our environment requires responsible brands to act now.

Detox Outdoors Action at Xinantecatl Volcano in Mexico. 15 Jan, 2016 © Alonso Crespo / Greenpeace

On Mammut's website the Swiss brand promises:

"We are at home in the Alps and are passionate about the mountains. Mammut lives by and for nature." It also has a dedicated PFC page where the brand claims to use PFCs "only when they are absolutely necessary", and that they have "already stopped the use of long chain PFCs".

Our test results however show a different picture: scientists found PFCs in all Mammut products we tested, even in a sleeping bag. In 2 items – shoes and a backpack – we found the more hazardous long chain PFCs, despite claims that such use has "already stopped".

Mammut also claims an "increase in PFC-free materials used in our clothing from a total of 71% to 77%". But then they forgot to add that this percentage refers to all the clothing produced, including t-shirts, sweatshirts and underwear that certainly don't need to be waterproof. Moreover, if you look at the numbers, Mammut only plans to increase PFC-free gear by 3-6% a year. Not much, really. They can and must do better.

"Detox" Action at Mammut Store in Hamburg. 30 Jan, 2016 © Daniel Müller / Greenpeace

Mammut's argument for PFC gear is that "Quality and durability provide the greatest sustainability". But if it's sustainability that Mammut is after, other brands are already showing the way with a ‘take back' and recycle system for PFC-free products. We think Mammut should follow this example and reduce their ecological footprint without contaminating the environment.

The business of outdoor brands is all about nature. Isn't it? The nature we share and we love to explore with our gear. And we know it's possible without PFCs. It is time for Mammut and The North Face to stay true to their values and detox now.

Your voice is important. Join our online action today: tell these brands that this is your last polluting jacket, trousers, tent, sleeping bag… your last piece of outdoor gear with PFCs.


Mirjam Kopp is the Detox Outdoor Global Project Lead for Greenpeace Switzerland.