APPAREL FABRIC CERTIFICATIONS
In 2014, Brooks partnered with Bluesign® technologies, as a Bluesign system partner. Our partnership provides our product creation teams with access to the Blueguide®, a tool that helps them to prescreen fabrics that use more sustainable textile preparations (e.g., dyes and detergents) and that are from facilities that have undergone rigorous assessments for environmental standards and worker health and safety.
We require all apparel material suppliers to acquire either third-party certifications (bluesign or Oeko-tex) or a Restricted Substances test report to verify the material is compliant with our RSL. We actively work with suppliers to continually meet this requirement.
Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Treatments: Water repellency is an essential functional component for many of our apparel and footwear styles. Water repellency is achieved through the use of Durable Water Repellent (DWR) treatments, which traditionally use fluorinated chemicals that are able to achieve the high levels of repellent performance required. However, fluorinated chemicals are known to break down into perfluorinated chemicals such as PFOA and PFOS, which are persistent, bioaccumulative and have toxicological properties.
A more responsible option when choosing between different DWR technologies is to use short-chain fluorochemical water repellents, which have been found to be less-toxic than long-chain DWR varieties. Like many in our industry, we have eliminated long chain DWR treatments from our apparel and footwear lines, and use only short chain formulations.
Short-chain DWR is not an end-goal solution to the environmental concerns of DWR. We continue to work with the industry to find more sustainable solutions that keep our products performing at the high standards we expect.
VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS
Traditional solvent-based chemicals used in footwear assembly can release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful to human health and the environment. To address that impact and improve conditions for workers at the factories we have created a goal to be free of VOCs and other toxic chemicals in footwear assembly. We're making significant year-over-year progress in increasing the percentage of water-based adhesives and we continue to work with our suppliers to test water-based primers as they become commercially available.
To minimize the impact of solvent-based inks in apparel, we require our suppliers to use a bluesign-approved printer wherever possible. Doing this safeguards the health of the employees at the facility by ensuring that priority hazardous chemicals are measured and managed through an appropriate abatement system.