bluesign® is an internationally recognized organization that works with manufacturers to provide third party verification that materials are free of harmful chemical residues, pollution from processing is minimized, and resource efficiency during production is optimized. bluesign certification can be applied to the entire production chain, from raw material to final product, from chemical supplier to consumers. Prior to production, every component is assessed and receives a rating based on its ecotoxicological impact, eliminating potentially harmful substances before production even begins. bluesign scientists examine fabrics at a chemical level and conduct on-site screenings at factories to evaluate resource productivity, consumer safety, air emissions, water emissions, and occupational health and safety.
bluesign-approved textiles only contain components and pass through processes that are harmless to humans and the environment.
Patagonia and bluesign
For years we focused on the first steps of our supply chain. We learned about the horrible damage done by the pesticides used on conventionally grown cotton and made the switch to organic in 1996. We incorporated recycled polyester into our clothing to reduce our usage of petroleum and energy. We began using hemp and Tencel®. But we’d long struggled with the best way to address the host of environmental issues that come from using dyes and finishes – the oftentimes toxic chemistry that’s also found in clothing.
Then, in 2000, we met the people of bluesign technologies, a group of chemists with a vision based on their years of work in the textile and chemical industries in Europe. Europe has some of the strictest environmental standards in the world, which informed bluesign’s development of its own independent textile standards to evaluate dye and finish chemicals. bluesign promised to greatly advance our environmental mission, so we became the first company to sign on as a bluesign brand member. bluesign now offers its standard to the global textile industry as a supply-chain management solution.
bluesign looks at all the chemical raw materials used in a given textile mill and assigns each to one of three categories: blue, grey or black. Chemicals that pass its environmental screening are labeled blue and considered good to use. Those that need special handling are labeled grey and allowed only if the mill is properly equipped. Chemicals that can’t be handled cleanly are labeled black, and their use is forbidden under the bluesign standard. An example of a black substance would be one that has been proven carcinogenic.
With each passing season, we are committed to increasing our use of bluesign certified fabrics.