GORE'ssustainability approach

Sustainability is an integral partof our culture and business.

For us sustainability means being fair and responsible to people and the environment while offering products which provide best-in-class performance. We strive to continually improve the social and environmental impact of our products and processes without compromising their performance.

THIS IS THE LEGACY OF OUR FOUNDERS BILL AND VIEVE GORE AND WE ARE PROUD TO CONTINUE THIS TRADITION.

Bill and VieveGore

ProductResponsibility

GORE® Wear is committed to producing apparel that delivers what we promise and is of highest quality. We want our customers to value and love our GORE® Wear products, and enjoy their functionality for a long time, which is an effective way to reduce the environmental footprint of function apparel.

We carefully select the fabrics we use. The choice of fabrics, materials, methods of production, dyes and transport conditions are all taken into consideration prior to the manufacture of our products. To ensure optimal protection and performance our products are field or lab tested for their durability, appearance and quality after washes and impact (e.g. washing-, rubbing-, color fastness).

For GORE® Wear products we only use materials that have been tested for harmful substances and meet the legal limit values. All GORE-TEX® and GORE-TEX® INFINIUM™ fabrics are certified in accordance with the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX ®. In addition we strive to ensure that all other materials are also certified in accordance with the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® or are bluesign® approved. Both third party certification schemes guarantee consumers the highest safety standards. If in particular cases no certified materials are available on the market, we send samples to accredited external laboratories for restricted substance testing as part of our quality assurance process.

Additionally, Gore has been working with the bluesign® standard since 2010 to verify the safety of its products. The emphasis we place on quality extends to our suppliers and manufacturers. Accordingly, Gore carries out continuous external quality controls at production facilities and encourages its suppliers to obtain a bluesign® certification in order to reduce environmental impacts in our supply chain.

An increasing number of GORE-TEX and WINDSTOPPER® fabrics are already certified. In our GORE® Wear collections we predominantly use certified fabrics.

SocialResponsibility

At Gore we believe in conducting our business according to the highest ethical standards. We strive to provide our customers with high-value products that enhance the quality of life and to improve the communities in which we work and live. We expect our employees to work with our suppliers, customers and other stakeholders with integrity, fairness and respect.

Accordingly, we also expect our garment manufacturing suppliers to operate according to the same principle. That is why in June 2012, GORE® Wear joined the multi-stakeholder initiative Fair Labor Association (FLA) to promote and protect workers’ rights and improve working conditions in our contracted factories.

As a FLA member we are committed to ensuring that our garment manufacturers adhere to FLA’s Code of Conduct and independent auditors regularly verify their compliance. Additionally, the FLA conducts its own assessments to confirm the effectiveness of our auditing system.

In February 2017 the FLA accredited our social compliance program confirming that GORE® Wear has implemented effective and state of the art systems and procedures for successfully upholding fair labor standards throughout our supply chains.

EnvironmentalResponsibility

GORE® Wear products are environmentally sound choices. We are convinced that our sustainability approach will support our long-term business success and also push environmental progress.

We get closer to our target, which is making responsibility an essential part of our business processes. We are engaged in regular dialogue with our stakeholders, and we expect our business partners and suppliers to do business in a responsible way as well.

At Gore, respecting the environment is an inherent part of our corporate culture. We strive to act with integrity and responsibly. We will achieve or even exceed all applicable health, safety and environment regulations as well as additional introduced standards from our side. All of our manufacturing facilities for functional textiles globally have introduced an environmental management system according to ISO 14001 and implemented the bluesign® standard, which demands challenging and comprehensive environmental and safety standards in the textile industry.

We feel obliged to continuously improve our environmental footprint by adopting an approach that rests on three pillars: sound science, life cycle assessment and the durability of our products.

FAQ

We often get asked about our approach to sustainability. Below you will find a list of the most frequently asked questions along with their answers.

  • How is Gore® Wear managing responsible sourcing during the Covid-19 crisis?

    • As it is abundantly clear by now, Covid-19 is not only a global health crisis, but also a devastating economic crisis of epic proportions. Particularly vulnerable to the economic impacts of the pandemic are workers employed along apparel supply chains who risk losing their livelihood as demand plummets and buyers rapidly cut down on their orders. Given the gender composition of the apparel work-force, women (and their dependents) are likely to bear the brunt of this sudden downturn.
    • At GORE® WEAR we are highly cognizant of the fact this is a true test of our commitment to responsible sourcing principles. We are therefore trying our best to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic on our suppliers and their employees by following Fair Labor Association’s Guidance on best practices. To that end:
    • We haven’t canceled or reduced any purchasing orders with our garment suppliers. In fact, due to strong consumer demand for running and cycling wear, we were fortunate enough to even increase some orders, helping our suppliers partially offset the canceled/reduced orders from other brands.
    • We haven’t renegotiated price or payment terms on any purchase orders and have honored all the agreements made prior to the pandemic.
    • We are in constant communication with all our garment manufacturers and monitoring the situation closely. We haven’t received any worker complaints through our confidential reporting channels since the outbreak of the pandemic.
    • While we’re experiencing delays in our social compliance audits due to logistical difficulties, our sourcing team has urged our suppliers to strictly observe health & safety laws/regulations/guidelines on Covid-19.
    • It is difficult to predict when life will go back to normal, but in the meantime we stay committed to our Associates and their families, our customers, and our communities including our suppliers. We’re hoping to weather this storm without causing any hardship to our suppliers and their employees. Although an absolute last resort, in the event that reduction or cancelation of orders becomes unavoidable, we will strive to do so in accordance with the responsible sourcing principles GORE® WEAR deeply respects.
  • How does GORE® Wear audit their factories?

    • We use professional and independent third-party auditors to conduct audits at all our garment manufacturers. The result is a detailed audit report describing factory compliance with the requirements of the Fair Labor Association’s (FLA) Code of Conduct, FLA benchmarks, local law and regulations. If any non-compliances are identified we support the factory to create a remediation plan with detailed corrective actions, responsibilities and time lines. We also control and track the plan’s progress and completion.
  • Does Gore publish a social responsibility report?

    • Not as yet but as a FLA member our efforts are independently verified and thus the standards we comply with are publicly available.
  • Is W. L. Gore & Associates a responsible company?

    • Sustainability is an integral element of Gore’s culture and business. For us sustainability means acting responsibly – fulfill and even surpass all applicable environmental regulations as well as social, health and safety standards.
      For more information: Gore as a Responsible Enterprise
  • How much does Gore pay workers manufacturing its garments?

    • It is part of our Social Responsibility Program to ensure that at least legal minimum wages are paid. Our target, however, is to provide compensation that is sufficient to fulfill basic needs and discretionary income. Making highly functional apparel requires skilled workers and our manufacturing partners have to compete for and retain talent.
  • How do you ensure that the work of the manufacturers supplying you with garments is socially and environmentally acceptable?

    • We carefully select our garment manufacturing partners and focus on long-term and trustful partnerships. Furthermore, we perform regular audits at our garment manufacturers to verify compliance with local law and FLA Code of Conduct. As multiple auditing does not provide any benefit, we strive to collaborate with other brands to share audit reports and cooperate on the remediation plans.
  • Do GORE® Wear products contain harmful substances?

    • No, our products meet the highest safety and quality standards and are therefore safe to use as well as environmentally.
  • What does Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 mean?

    • It is an independent third-party standard for textiles, intermediates and end products at all stages of production. The OEKO-TEX® system is well respected worldwide for its science-based approach to textile safety validation.
      It limits for regulated substances, as well as unregulated substances known to be harmful to the health of the wearer.
  • How do we use the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 for GORE® Wear products?

    • Product safety is an integral part of the quality assurance system of GORE® Wear. Against this background we only accept suppliers and garment manufacturers with quality management ensuring conformity with the Oeko-Tex® standard. Selecting fabrics and materials we use as far as possible only certified products. For all other materials we require test reports proving at least the same safety level than the Oeko-Tex® standard. In this way we accomplish the transparency of all applied materials and their ingredients in our production chain of our products.

      All used fabrics, materials and ingredients up to the sewing thread are carefully selected and not approved for production before all required and current certificates & test reports are available. This kind of verification is implemented for each collection in both summer and winter.

      Additionally we check ready made garments on a random basis at our distribution warehouse identifying and preventing any unwanted divergences from our product safety standard.

  • Where are GORE® Wear products manufactured?

    • We make products in factories in Italy, Romania, Turkey, China, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia.
    • Click here to see a detailed list of our suppliers.
  • Who is the Fair Labor Association?

    • FLA is a collaborative effort of socially responsible companies, universities and civil society organizations to promote and protect workers’ rights and to improve working conditions globally through adherence to international standards. FLA is an international organization headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in China, Switzerland and Turkey. FLA creates lasting solutions to abusive labor practices by offering tools and resources to companies, delivering training to factory workers and management, conducting due diligence through independent assessments, and advocating for greater accountability and transparency from companies, factories and others involved in global supply chains.

      For more information please visit FLA’s website: www.fairlabor.org

  • What does the FLA Code of Conduct look like?

  • How do you select your factories?

    • We select our factories based on many criteria, for example quality, technologies, skills as well as environmental and social performance and price. We are seeking long term business partnerships and therefore it is important to us that our manufacturing partners are committed to providing safe workplaces and treating their employees in a fair manner.
  • In which initiatives does W. L. Gore & Associates participate?

    • Gore is a founding member of the Chemicals Management Working Group (CMWG), which provides education, guidance and decision-making tools to reduce the environmental impact of the outdoor industry (https://outdoorindustry.org/sustainable-business/chemicals-management/).
    • Gore is also a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). SAC developed the Higg Index, a tool which measures a product’s sustainability performance across the industry value chain, which is based on LCA methodology (www.apparelcoalition.org).
    • Furthermore, Gore is an active contributor to the Sustainability Working Group (SWG) of the European Outdoor Group (EOG) (http://www.europeanoutdoorgroup.com/conserve-sustain-care/sustainability) and the Sustainability Working Group of the US Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) ( https://outdoorindustry.org/sustainable-business/).
    • Gore is, moreover, a member of Dialog Textilbekleidung (DTB), which is a coalition of companies from the textile and apparel industry. Their goal is to improve the quality of products. Companies from the whole textile chain build study groups to work on questions and tasks and to develop solutions (http://www.dialog-dtb.de/en/).