U.S. PIRG Education Fund and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) hosted a media conference outside Columbia Sportswear’s flagship store in downtown Portland on Thursday to deliver a petition, with more than 48,000 signatures, urging the clothing manufacturer and retailer to phase out the use of PFAS chemicals in their products. Speakers at the event discussed how this harmful family of chemicals impacts human health and the environment, ways other brands have phased out PFAS from their supply chains and what consumers can do to protect themselves.
The petition delivery comes after Columbia Sportswear’s June 1 shareholder meeting where CEO Timothy Boyle shared: “We’ve been focused on reducing our use of PFAS and, ultimately, phasing them out. I’d like to point out to investors that Columbia has developed a line of products, called OutDry Extreme, with no [PFAS] attached to the product in our manufacturing process. So, we’re really leading the industry in providing these highly productive, terrific products without the use of PFAS.”
While Boyle’s comments at the shareholder meeting were a step in the right direction, Oregon-based Columbia Sportswear has not set a public timeline to eliminate PFAS from its supply chain. Further, the company has not adopted a comprehensive PFAS definition to apply to their sustainability standards.