Bolger & O’Hearn is standing up for the environment today because, well, we couldn’t really wait much longer.
We’re trying. Believe us, we’re really trying to do something about it. Yet those environmentally persistent perfluorocarbons (PFCs) still exist in many everyday products. Look at your cookware, your containers, and yes, even your clothing. They’re likely there. But at Bolger & O’Hearn, we want to help consumer brands radically reduce their reliance on PFCs.
Just to refresh, PFCs are synthetic, Teflon®-like chemicals that are really great at repelling water and oils. They’re stubborn buggers that don’t really break down in the environment. And because they don’t biodegrade easily, they build up in our waterways, soil, and air, ultimately raising ecological and health concerns.
If you’ve been checking in with us these past few weeks (and we hope you have), then you know that B&O developed Altopel F3, a 100 percent PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR). Unlike the PFC-based repellents that apparel manufacturers have looked to in the past, our eco-friendly DWR is revolutionary since it lacks the potential to build up in the environment, thus dismissing any chance of toxic bioaccumulation. But, surely, if the most effective repellents are potentially damaging to the earth, then a repellent that’s safe for the earth must be ineffective, right? Nope.
The research was conclusive—it’s effective and eco-friendly.
While we always had complete faith in our product, we also had some really smart people look into the effectiveness of Altopel F3. Based on tests conducted at the Hohenstein Institute in Germany, fabrics treated with Altopel F3 performed quite well in some rigorous wash tests. In fact, it received the highest ratings available:
- Before washing, Altopel F3 received an ISO Spray Rating of 5.
- After 20 washes, Altopel F3 received an ISO Spray Rating of 4-5.
And since we’re so fixated on a zero-carbon future, we can’t overlook the fact that we make Altopel F3 using renewable energy. The solar voltaic array on our labs in Fall River, Massachusetts, actually allows us to displace more than 100,000 pounds of carbon each year.
Now, we want to make it clear we’re not gloating and showboating here. When it comes to something like Altopel F3, we didn’t just do it because it’s good for business. We did it because it’s the right thing to do. What we’re really trying to say is that if we can do something like this, any brand can. Of course, we know that change is never easy, but we believe consumer trends might make many brands rethink things.
What the kids are saying. Businesses should listen up.
In 2015, the Nielsen Company conducted its Global Survey of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. It polled more than 30,000 consumers across 60 countries. Here was the key finding:
- 66 percent of respondents said they were willing to pay more for products that came from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.
Here’s an even more impressive finding—nearly 75 percent of Millennial respondents and 72 percent of Generation Z respondents (kids currently between 15 and 20) will seek out and pay more for sustainable offerings. And like any generation, their influence and buying power will only increase over the years to come.
Be the change you want to see.
Whether you run an apparel brand or not, you’re still a consumer in this crazy world. And changing how brands approach the environment can start with you. When your money does the talking, your favorite brands will listen. So take action now. Become an environmental steward. Demand more earth friendly technology from your favorite brands. Research how sustainable your favorite go-to products really are. And, when possible, purchase goods manufactured with limited or no PFCs.
Remember, there’s no downside here. Businesses, consumers, and, let’s not forget, the world all win. Plus, by being mindful of how they treat the environment, brands can gain healthier market shares, and more importantly, healthier consumers.
Debunking one last batch of myths for you.
Finally, keeping with our tradition, we want to set the record straight any myths that still might linger within you.
MYTH: The demands of younger, environmentally conscious consumers make no difference to businesses today.
FACT: Younger consumers—namely Millennials and Generation Z—are putting their money where their mouths are. Studies suggest they’re actively seeking responsible brands and willing to spend more for products from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.
MYTH: It’s pointless for a brand to embrace sustainable initiatives if its already doing well with its non-sustainable initiatives.
FACT: By embracing sustainable initiatives, brands can heighten their image as one that truly values environmental sensitivity, responsibility, and awareness. For brands that ignore this, their bottom line will be in jeopardy as the buying power of Millennials and Generation Z increase in the years to come.
MYTH: If they’re already using other repellents, it’s too expensive and complicated for apparel brands to implement eco-friendly DWRs such as Altopel F3.
FACT: Altopel F3 is actually cost neutral to counterpart repellents, with further potential cost savings from material and process efficiencies. And by working with trained personnel at Bolger & O’Hearn, implementing it is quite easy.
For sales inquiries regarding Altopel F3–based fabrics, please contact Concept III (firstname.lastname@example.org).