PFAS Phase-Out: 5 Key Steps for Your Outdoor Brand

By James Pollack, OIA Clean Chemistry and Materials Coalition Legislative Advisor, Attorney at Marten Law

Start your brand’s journey to eliminating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as Forever Chemicals.

You have probably started hearing a lot about PFAS, a large, complex group of synthetic chemicals found in various everyday consumer products like water-resistant clothing and cookware. A combination of regulatory requirements and consumer demand has created growing pressure on sectors worldwide to achieve PFAS elimination. States have proposed hundreds of potential laws and regulations targeting PFAS in a variety of consumer products. Many of these laws will impact outdoor brands that have used PFAS for durability as well as water and stain resistance. Intimidated? Don’t be. Together, we can replace existing products with more sustainable alternatives to provide customers with products that are just as reliable and durable.

1). Assemble your PFAS team

First and foremost, you have to build a dedicated team to effectively tackle PFAS phase-out. For the most comprehensive and holistic approach, I recommend bringing together a diverse group with a multiplicity of perspectives and expertise. While a chemicals expert may understand what needs to change about your product’s material composition, a designer will have insight into how materials fit into the product, marketing will help articulate why and how your outdoor brand is evolving its product, and sales will have to communicate the transition to buyers and consumers alike. Once you have a team assembled, appoint a champion who will take ownership of the initiative and lead it to fruition.

2). Understand the timeline for PFAS legislation

As PFAS chemicals are generally a state legislative issue for the time being, your brand will have to navigate different states with different deadlines for phase-out and elimination. For example, California’s ban on PFAS in textile articles goes into effect January 1, 2025, Vermont’s ban on all PFAS in food packaging, ski wax, and after-market fabric treatments goes into effect on July 1, 2024, and Minnesota’s ban on the sale of cookware, fabric treatments, juvenile products, ski wax, and food packaging with intentionally added PFAS goes into effect on January 25, 2025.

Once you have a grasp on the state regulations that apply to your product categories, it is important to align your product development cycle with upcoming regulatory deadlines.

Pro Tip: CCMC members have access to a constantly updated Regulatory Tracker to ensure members are aware of new and evolving deadlines around PFAS and other harmful chemicals.

3). Work with your suppliers on a PFAS phase-out plan

After aligning your product development cycle with your state’s regulatory timeline, you should work to communicate key deadlines with your suppliers. There’s a good chance that your suppliers are addressing similar requests from other brands and distributors, so leverage their expertise. Ask them about the alternatives to PFAS they’ve been using and the options that exist for sustainable material evolution.

4). Draw on expertise within the outdoor industry

The outdoor industry has a long history of working together to catalyze broader change and drive innovation. As catalysts, we know that we go farther, and faster, when we work together. In addition to your suppliers, you can leverage the expertise of lawyers, labs, consultants, and other outdoor brands to crystalize your PFAS phase-out strategy.

OIA’s Clean Chemistry and Materials Coalition is designed to support retailers, brands, manufacturers, and distributors in a way that is unique to their PFAS phase-out stage. We provide our members with scalable action plans for eliminating and replacing harmful chemicals and materials, delivering supply chain transparency, addressing recycling and emissions disclosures, and more. CCMC members also gain access to a community network of other brands working on the same challenges, and technical and legislative advisors (like myself) who are here to offer support. For more insight into how CCMC can support your brand, watch our introductory webinar.

5). Design and implement your ongoing PFAS and chemical compliance efforts

The last step, of course, is execution. Now that you have a team, a timeline, and a supportive community of peers and experts, it is time to begin the process of altering your products and supply chain to ensure they are compliant with a variety of state sustainability regulations. This may include steps like testing your product’s material composition, obtaining appropriate certifications, and implementing a restricted substance list. It is important to ensure that all your outdoor brand’s products meet regulatory requirements, so I recommend establishing inventory management practices to track different products’ PFAS phase-out life stages.

The path towards PFAS elimination is not linear–nor easy–but if we take one step at a time and work together, we can be catalysts for sustainable growth. If you’re looking for more robust support and a community to lean on, join me and the Clean Chemistry and Materials Coalition.

About James Pollack

James Pollack is an attorney at Marten Law based in Seattle, WA, whose practice focuses on consumer product regulatory compliance, emerging contaminants, and environmental review. James leads the firm’s consumer products regulatory practice and helps consumer product manufacturers in a wide array of industries that are working to understand the complicated and shifting regulatory and litigation environments surrounding emerging contaminants. He has extensive knowledge on PFAS regulatory compliance at the federal and state level. James’s clients include textile and apparel manufacturers, outdoor recreational product manufacturers, food product manufacturers, and retailers. He also works with industry associations to update membership on regulatory developments.

Read more from James on PFAS:

About James

Can Orange Juice Claim to be Green?

PFAS in Consumer Products are Targeted by State Regulators and Class Action Plaintiffs

What Is in EPA’s Billion Dollar PFAS Reporting Rule?

California Bans PFAS in Apparel, Textiles, Cosmetics

Washington is Latest State to Ban PFAS in Consumer Products 

Regulation of PFAS in Consumer Products 

Coffee and Climate: SBTi Reduction Target Setting Challenges and Solutions

woman pours hot coffee in mountains near campfire

Register Now

Monday, October 24, 2022, 11 am MT Climate Action Corps members, join us for another edition of the Coffee and Climate series! In this live discussion, we will discuss setting an SBTi-aligned emissions reduction target. We will dive into strategy, tools used, gaining CEO/stakeholder buy-in, challenges, and solutions, and answer common questions brought up by Corps members. As opposed to more formal Corps training webinars, Coffee and Climate sessions are a candid but guided conversation on a chosen topic. They include facilitated group discussion to share tips, tricks, and strategies, as well as an opportunity for Q&A. Be ready to bring your questions (and coffee) to the table! Speakers Kari Shafer, Climate Action Corps Manager, Outdoor Industry Association Kaytlin Moeller, Sustainability Manager, Royal Robbins (parent organization – Fenix Outdoor) Mara Ley, Sustainability Manager, Vuori Michael Sadowski, Sustainability Strategy Consultant This Coffee and Climate session is for Climate Action Corps members only. If you’re a Corps member, you can register here. Not a member? Contact our team to learn more and join today. 

Where We’re Going and How Far We Have Come: Climate Action on Earth Day

Dear Outdoor Industry Colleagues, 

Today is an opportunity for us to take stock of our industry’s progress on climate and look forward to the work that lies ahead. Over the last year, we saw the power of collective climate action, and the reality we face if we do not keep going. It was inspiring to see the progress Climate Action Corps members, community stakeholders, policymakers, and individual outdoorists made in the past year. At the same time, we saw historic and devastating climate events across the globe. It’s clear the action needed to ensure the future of our industry, our planet, and our communities has never been more urgent.  

Bold climate action is also an act of social justice – and an important step in building an outdoors for all. Climate change isn’t just a math problem; its impacts are felt first and worst by communities of color. Anything less than an ambitious, science-aligned effort to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions perpetuates a dangerous cycle of inequity. We can do better.

However, it is important for us to recognize the progress we have made. Last year marked a historic step forward for our industry, and I want to reflect on our collective achievements in 2021, as well as share our goals for the year ahead. There is still much work to be done to bring our industry to a climate positive future and to catalyze the systemic change required to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis we face. It’s clear we can’t meet our targets without collaboration. Can you make this Earth Day an opportunity to double down on the collaboration needed to reduce emissions beyond what your company can do alone?

Our definition of “climate positive” means to reduce your emissions in line with a science-based target, remove even more carbon from the atmosphere than you emit and advocate for robust climate policy.”

Climate Action Corps members commit to measure, plan, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, share their progress annually, and advocate for broader systemic change. And so, it seems fitting to share our progress in each of these categories.  



 The Climate Action Corps grew to 100 companies representing more than $27 billion in annual sales revenue. We announced an unprecedented goal to become the world’s first climate positive industry by 2030. This new goal seeks to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with outdoor gear and harness the power of nature to remove more carbon than its members emit – two decades ahead of Paris Agreement-aligned targets. 

We also released our first Annual Impact Report in June, and we were thrilled to share the following progress from year one of the Climate Action Corps:  

  • 84% of Corps members have fully measured the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from their owned or controlled operations, known as scope 1 and 2 emissions. 
  • 78% set targets to reduce these emissions and 49% are actively reducing them through improved energy efficiency and sourcing renewable electricity in the U.S. 
  • 39% of Corps members have fully measured scope 3 emissions, and 28% are taking action to reduce this impact – a number that we expect to grow greatly in the coming years through targeted supply chain collaborations.  

We will release our second Annual Impact Report this summer, and look forward to sharing the individual and collective progress of the Climate Action Corps in year two.  



To further support Climate Action Corps members to reduce and remove even more GHG from the atmosphere than they emit, we launched the Impact CoLab program last fall. Impact CoLabs are targeted collaborations that OIA leads or partners on to help Corps members work together to reduce emissions that are hardest to reach by one company alone. We are currently working to launch five CoLabs: 

  • The Alternative Nylon CoLab is helping brands look at the potential to scale up virgin nylon alternatives within their own business and the industry’s supply chain. 
  • The Carbon Leadership Project CoLab is helping soft goods suppliers measure facility-level GHG emissions, set targets, and reduce GHG emissions with less time, cost, and effort by prioritizing factories shared by Corps members. 
  • The Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) Aggregation CoLab is compiling a group of Corps members to invest in a large-scale renewable energy development (i.e. solar or wind farm) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from operations in the U.S. and Canada in a cost-effective way.
  • The Drinkware CoLab helps drinkware suppliers measure facility-level GHG emissions and identify decarbonization projects. 

We plan to expand our offerings in the year ahead. Reach out to our team if you’re interested in joining. 



We recognize the risk of climate change to both our businesses and the environment. That is why we’re taking immediate action within our own industry to mitigate that risk. But we also know the business community alone cannot address this threat – our government needs to play a leading role. OIA and Climate Action Corps members worked throughout the year to make our voices heard on significant climate legislation with far-reaching impacts for the health of our planet, people, and our industry. 

  • In May, Climate Action Corps members and outdoor community leaders sent a letter  to the White House vocalizing support for President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, specifically as it relates to the plan’s climate change provisions, funding for nature-based infrastructure, investments in the energy workforce, and advancing environmental justice and equity.  
  • In September, OIA and 29 member companies sent a letter of support to congressional leadership for significant climate provisions in the proposed budget reconciliation legislation, including funding for a Civilian Climate Corps, the Growing Climate Solutions Act, and Every Kid Outdoors. We also hosted a webinar to engage the full OIA membership in this once-in-a-generation opportunity for action. 

This May, we will bring together outdoor business executives, community partners, and policymakers for The Summit. During this event, leaders will collaborate and commit to act on the most pressing issues — and greatest opportunities — of our time: climate change, inclusion, and outdoor equity. 



Our industry is made up of trailblazers, explorers, and passionate leaders who push the limit on what is possible. We have never been afraid of a challenge, and we have a long legacy of stewardship. While our industry is uniquely impacted by threats of climate change, these attributes make us uniquely positioned to help address them.  

This year, you’ll continue to see us increase the capacity of the tools that we provide for measuring GHG emissions, expansion of our resources, trainings and 1:1 technical support, and collaborative opportunities to reduce supply chain emissions.  If your company is interested in accelerating your progress on climate action and contributing to the industry’s climate positive ambition, I invite you to join us. We also welcome organizations interested in partnership or sharing insights and resources to reach out to 



Amy Horton 

Director of Sustainable Business Innovation 

Outdoor Industry Association 

Outdoor Retailer Industry Lunch: Historic Investments In Climate Change, New Opportunities For Environmental Justice

With continued discussion of the Build Back Better plan in Congress, policymakers are responding to the outdoor industry’s call to make historic investments to combat climate change, which is a major existential threat to the outdoors, our communities, and the outdoor recreation economy. These proposed funds are committed to build resilience, promote natural climate solutions, support a Civilian Climate Corps, and accelerate the transition to renewable energy. It is imperative that the passage and eventual implementation of Build Back Better also addresses two other related threats to our industry: the disproportionate impact climate change has on minority and marginalized communities and the need to ensure that the outdoors are open, safe and accessible to all Americans. Join us for an informative discussion with key stakeholders, industry leaders, and representatives from Washington, D.C., on how combating climate change, prioritizing climate action, and ensuring more diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors are intertwined and how you and your business can play a key role in the future of an equitable and healthy outdoors.

Moderator: Rebecca Gillis, State & Local Government Affairs Manager, Outdoor Industry Association 


Congresswoman Nanette Barragán, U.S. Representative for California’s 44th congressional district

Clarence Edwards, Legislative Director, Sustainable Energy and Environment, Friends Committee on National Legislation  

Angelo Villagomez, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress 

Taishya Adams, National Policy and Education Director, Outdoor Afro


Takeaways from the session include:

  • There is intersectionality between investments in climate sustainability and the potential follow-on impacts on environmental justice and outdoor accessibility across the nation. These topics are intertwined with broader conversations about equity in the outdoors, and amongst outdoor industry stakeholders.
  • Other current policy options and efforts in the Biden Administration to further invest in pivotal environmental justice issues include the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Justice40 initiative. The proposed Civilian Climate Corps has a potential role to play in not only on-the-ground conservation and climate mitigation work, but also localized efforts to build out more accessible green space for individuals in nature-starved areas – paving the way for increased equity in the outdoors.
  • Storytelling across diverse communities is an important mechanism for increasing effective advocacy for climate investments.
  • While sometimes daunting, it is critical to talk about climate impacts, environmental justice, and outdoor accessibility to audiences who may have been intimidated or felt unmotivated about climate action and equity.