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Páramo Detox: successes and challenges


In January this year, Páramo became the first outdoor company to sign up to the Greenpeace Detox commitment, leading the outdoor industry in ensuring hazardous, persistent pollutants are excluded from textile production and working towards minimising kit entering landfill. The intervening six months have seen significant successes – and challenges – with progress on four strands of Detox from Páramo’s perspective: PFC-free production, Supplier testing, Closing the loop and Education & motivation….

Be7f686305c04147832002eecebd64ccPFC-free outdoor clothing production
From April 1 2016, everything in production for Páramo has been free of PFC-treatment and all chemicals of Detox concern. Páramo are confident of delivering a certified PFC-free consumer range by the end of 2016 so retailers and consumers can buy with complete assurance.

Supplier testing and transparency
Crucial to achieving, maintaining and demonstrating this is the regime of testing and transparency stipulated in the Detox commitment:

• All current and potential ‘wet process’ fabric suppliers are now listed on the Páramo website so anyone can check vital ‘Detox’ data such as water discharge readings. All are aware of the requirement to carry out water discharge tests and publish the results. Páramo are working with suppliers and Greenpeace to ensure best testing methods are instigated and maintained.

• Both scheduled and random tests are conducted on every production batch of fabric received by Páramo – and fabric is rejected if it falls short of the specified requirements regarding fluorine content, which would indicate the use of PFCs.

Closing the loop – reducing garments reaching landfill
Part of the Detox campaign involves moving from a linear regime which culminates in kit going to landfill by building a closed loop system. Páramo has been active in this for some time:

296a4cb414b44b978290115bd9541600• Since 2012, the Páramo Recycling Scheme has rewarded consumers who return Páramo garments directly or through their retailer;

• Some 1,000 garments per year are returned and refurbished for further use or collected for reprocessing into high quality polyester for future garment manufacture;

• Páramo is working with a research project within Europe to make the creation of high grade polyester more viable.

David Bacci in PFC-free Páramo clothing on Ragni route of Mount Fitz Roy, Patagonia, January 2016

Education and motivation

Crucial to the success of the Greenpeace Detox campaign is making consumers aware of the hazards of polluting chemicals such as PFCs, encouraging them to seek alternatives and underlining the importance of re-using and recycling kit:

• Páramo’s Detox sign-up helped to boost the number of signatories to the ‘Detox Outdoor’ petition, pressurising outdoor manufacturers to review their sourcing and supply policies;

• Awareness in the UK lags considerably behind Central Europe. Páramo has produced 10,000 handouts detailing the advantages of Detox to educate outdoor retailers and their customers. Website content provides consumers with straightforward information about the subject. Paid for content has sought to inform professional and workwear customers too.

• Páramo equipped a Greenpeace mountaineer, David Bacci, and a walking duo with PFC-free kit for their Detox publicity activities to further widen the message;

• gsb_award-logoPáramo gained considerable extra national newspaper publicity for the Detox campaign in May 2016 when awarded a Guardian Sustainable Business Award in the Bold Move  category, recognising the importance and impact of the Detox commitment sign-up.

The Guardian explains “Páramo is one of the few PFC-free outdoor brands currently on the market. In a demonstration of industry leadership, the apparel company came out publicly this year to support Greenpeace’s call for an end to the use of this toxic chemical in outdoor gear.”

Páramo is keen not only to meet Detox commitment compliance criteria but to work with Greenpeace and other agencies to advance those criteria and resolve challenges imaginatively. Following Páramo’s Guardian Sustainable Business Award, a spokesperson for Greenpeace’s Detox campaign, Cecilia Preite Martinez, told the Guardian, “Páramo is setting the highest standard in the whole outdoor sector and this example should encourage bigger brands to take the lead for a toxic-free future.”

Páramo Detox milestones

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