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Greening Gear: Q & A with Eco-Friendly Outdoor Gear Leaders

Imagine eco-friendly equipment that offers superior performance to today's gear. The future is bright, but how do we get there? A BACKPACKER roundtable discussion.

DuPont has had an environmental statement since 1938, long before Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability were marketing buzzwords. In 2000, DuPont set 2010 goals for Sustainability and in 2006, DuPont announced its new 2015 Sustainability Goals. Progress towards these goals includes the following:

From 1993 – Present**
Safety & Health World Leader
Major Incidents 90% Reduction
Air Toxics 75% Reduction
Air Carcinogens 92% Reduction
Hazardous Waste (Dry) 42% Reduction
U.S. TRI “Releases” 77% Reduction
Greenhouse Gas Emissions 72%

* Reduction (* 1990 to 2003 reduction. 1990 to present reductions excluding INVISTA are 60%.)

**Production during this same period increased 40%.

The DuPont Renewable Materials program was designed to support the 2015 Sustainability Goal of reducing dependence on oil and petrochemicals. DuPont Sorona is just one of the products that replace ingredients made with petrochemicals with those made with renewable resources. Many of these products also provide energy savings and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over their petrochemical based counterparts.

DuPont has been recognized as an environmental leader by many including Ceres and Business Week to name a few.

[Also directed at Dawson:] What question(s) should I be asking when it comes to chemicals? Ask the same question(s) asked of other companies. There are two aspects to ‘sustainability’ – operational and product. Sustainable products can be made in an unsustainable way – inefficient systems, dangerous work environments, etc. Likewise unsustainable products can also be made by ‘sustainable’ companies – safe work environments, facilities powered by alternative energy, minimizing consumption of depletable resources, etc.

With many products, i.e. rubber – the synthetic or chemical substitute helps preserve the natural form of this product. Synthetics or man – made products help ease the burden on resources – how much land would it take to grow the cotton or raise the sheet, etc. to replace all the synthetic fibers (polyester, nylon, etc.) used on all fiber applications? Is the question being asked relating to the company or to the products that any company produces? Perception vs. reality – education and understanding are important to really understand companies and the products they make and realistically measure the possible alternatives.

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