Culminating 15 months of effort to reformulate its durable water repellent finish (DWR) that began in late 2006, Granger's received Bluesign accreditation earlier in 2008. According to the company, Granger's is now the only aftermarket water repellent chemical company that can claim both ISO 14001 standards recognition and Bluesign (www.bluesign.com) accreditation.
According to Allen Slade, U.S. brand product manager for Granger's, "This confirms from independent sources that Grangers' products are free from substances that are harmful to humans and the environment and that Granger's as a company maintains the highest environmental standards."
Until recently, Granger's, like many other chemical companies making water repellent and stain repellent products, utilized PFOAs (perfluorooctanoic acid), which have come under increased scrutiny by the scientific community as potentially hazardous to the environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dedicated a special site to the reporting of PFOA risks (www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa) and it also launched an initiative dubbed the 2010/15 PFOA Stewardship Program. That program, started in 2006, called for a 95-percent reduction of PFOA in both facility emissions and actual product content. By 2015, the EPA expects to have PFOAs completely eliminated from product content and facility emissions.
As a result of the focus of Granger's CEO and head chemist, Karolina Jones, and a lot of hard work by the United Kingdom factory, Slade told SNEWS® that Granger's new formulation of DWR product already complies with the 2015 EPA standard for PFOA elimination.
While Granger's is thrilled with the Bluesign accreditation, and the requisite attention it has brought the company and its products by retailers, media and suppliers who now want Granger's to supply DWR formulations to use in the manufacture of garments, there is still much more work to do, Slade told us.
"We began looking at the after care of a waterproof/breathable garment. Through the study of all that goes into that care of the garment, we determined that more energy actually gets consumed by the care of a garment than in the actual production of it. If we can provide a more durable DWR to manufacturers so that waterproof/breathable garments need less care, we reduce the energy used and the chemicals used by consumers -- now that's real environmental progress!"
SNEWS® asked Nikwax, a chief competitor of Granger's in the global market, if it too was considering seeking Bluesign accreditation.
"Bluesign has not been on our radar to date. We have never felt the need to prove our product is not dangerous or is environmentally friendly or human safe. We have never and will never use PFOAs in our processes," Chas Fisher, president of Nikwax USA, told us. "We have and continue to put all of our energy into the other things we do to protect the environment, such as using clean, renewable energy as much as possible and then offsetting what energy we do use."
SNEWS® View: Good for Granger's! Any move to eliminate PFOA from the supply chain is a grand move indeed. We offer up applause too for the company's Bluesign accreditation. That is no small deal and now gives the company bragging rights as the only -- so far -- chemical company with such globally recognized and third-party acknowledgement of sound environmental practices.
SNEWS® recently sat down with Bluesign founder and CEO Peter Waeber and we will be bringing our readers an inside look at Bluesign -- what makes the company and Waeber tick -- in the coming weeks.