Wearing just cardboard boxes, a number of Greenpeace members yesterday picketed retail outlets for The North Face in both Sydney and Melbourne.

The activists’ message, ‘Better this than PFC gear’, was delivered in response to the news that certain outdoor products and apparel products contained toxic perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), including those produced by The North Face and Mammut.

PFCs are used in certain types of outdoor gear for their hydrophobic qualities – their ability to repel water – however they’re also considered non-degradable and may persist in the environment.

The Guardian reports that ‘laboratory studies have linked the chemicals to reproductive and developmental problems in animals’.

Greenpeace campaigner Lagi Toribau highlighted the apparent contradiction at the heart of The North Face’s ethos, saying the brand should “help lead the way in cleaning up outdoor clothing by eliminating dangerous chemicals from their products”.

“A company that claims to love the outdoors so much must play their part in protecting it – not polluting it with hazardous chemicals which contaminate even the most remote parts of the world and have been found in water supplies and the food chain.”

The scantily-clad campaigners targeted three of The North Face outlets: Pitt Street and Bondi Junction in Sydney, as well as the brand’s Bourke Street store in Melbourne on Thursday the 4th of February.

Greenpeace has said that these demonstrations were just part of more than 100 actions taking place at The North Face and Mammut stores around the world this week, after releasing its own research into the prevalence of PFC use in outdoor products last week.

While being a longstanding environmental organisation, Greenpeace hasn’t avoided criticism over the years, most recently facing criticism for defacing Peru’s Nazca Lines and also for its support of Indigenous sealing activities.