The Gore Fabrics Division has achieved full Global Recycle Standard (GRS) certification in both of its manufacturing sites in Shenzhen, China, and Putzbrunn, Germany. This is a major milestone in its continuous efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of providing high-performance products. GRS is an international, voluntary, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of recycled content, social and environmental practices, chemical restrictions, and chain of custody (CoC). CoC requires each stage of production to be certified, beginning at the recycling stage through to the final transaction. Material collection and material concentration sites are subject to self-declaration, document collection and on-site visits. The main goal of the GRS is to increase the use of recycled materials in products and reduce or eliminate the harm to people and the environment caused by its production. It was originally developed by Control Union Certifications in 2008 and ownership was passed to the Textile Exchange in 2011. The GRS is intended for use with any product that contains at least 20% GRS certified recycled material – final products carrying the GRS logo must contain at least 50%. “Transparency guides the way the Gore Fabric Division is operating and building trust with buyers, customer, end-users, and partners,” said Thomas Kiebler, global application engineer leader at W. L. Gore. “We therefore decided to become certified according to the GRS to ensure the traceability of recycled content used in our products. This success was only possible because of huge efforts undertaken by our manufacturing sites and beyond.
We conducted pre-audits and implemented the environmental, social and chemical requirements of the standard which have not been covered yet by our existing certifications such as bluesign and ISO 14001. After having successfully obtained the certification, we are now embedding the processes and requirements into our existing management system to ensure we maintain the certification and will continuously improve our performance.” Gore has adapted its production and warehouse set-up to allow the separation of GRS from non-GRS certified goods as required by the standard and is using external warehouses for shipping laminates to its licenced partners and buyers. The company also worked with its warehouse partners to integrate them into the GRS system. By mid-2022, Gore plans to introduce GRS certified laminates to its customers on both the consumer business side and in the Gore-Tex Professional Workwear business. Adaptations of the IT systems will be needed to allow Gore to issue product-related certifications, known as ‘transaction certificates,’ to customers and buyers. “We will introduce a more holistic portfolio management for our GRS certified laminates so that we can continually expand our offering to customers and buyers,” said Kiebler. “We will initially start with a small number of laminates from our Gore Fabrics portfolio, but we will work with our suppliers and manufacturing sites to certify all laminates with recycled textiles according to GRS in the future.” W. L. Gore & Associates is a global materials science company dedicated to transforming industries and improving lives. Since 1958, Gore has solved complex technical challenges in demanding environments — from outer space to the world’s highest peaks to the inner workings of the human body. With more than 11,000 Associates and a strong, team-oriented culture, W. L. Gore generates annual revenues of $3.8 billion.