If you’re a connoisseur of outdoor clothing and gear, you no doubt contemplate the performance of the different materials used to make your products. Lighter, dryer, warmer—it all matters. But what about the materials’ impact on the health and safety of the environment, the workers who made the materials, and you, the person who will be spending quality time with them?
As of today, choosing something made with bluesign®-certified materials is an easy way to ensure that the company that made your shiny new product took painstaking steps to ensure those issues were addressed. In this article we’ll explain:
- What bluesign® is
- How the bluesign® system works
- How to shop for bluesign®-certified materials and products
What is bluesign®?
The term “bluesign” comes from the name of a Swiss group called bluesign® technologies. This group monitors the complex journey of materials from factory to final product. The bluesign team includes experts in chemistry and textile production, as well as specialists who oversee a robust system of factory auditing and certification.
How Does the bluesign® System Work?
The bluesign® technologies group is involved at every step in the supply chain—from chemical formulation to finished product—to keep chemicals of concern out of the process. The group works with factories and brands to impact the following areas:
Resource use: By consulting with them about better chemicals and manufacturing processes, bluesign® helps factories operate more efficiently, which reduces overall water, energy and chemical use.
Occupational health and safety: By working with manufacturers to eliminate hazardous chemicals and to put in place safety features like ventilation systems, bluesign® helps protect workers from exposure to chemicals.
Water and air emissions: bluesign®-approved factories must meet stringent standards for pollution control.
Consumer safety: The bluesign® system also features the world’s strictest chemical safety requirements for textiles.
How Do You Shop for bluesign®-Certified Clothing and Gear?
Look for the bluesign® logo on any textile-based product, from your base layer to your backpack. The bluesign® system covers fabrics, as well as trims, like buttons and buckles. You can find products certified to the bluesign® standard by selecting this sustainability attribute when you shop on REI.com; you can also look for on-product labels and online product pages with one of the following descriptions:
- “Contains materials that meet the bluesign® criteria”: When a product is labeled this way, that means some, but perhaps not all, of the materials in that product meet the bluesign® standard.
- “Product meets the bluesign® criteria”: When a product is labeled this way, that means the full product meets bluesign® criteria.
Dozens of top outdoor gear and apparel brands, including the REI Co-op brand, already use a large percentage of bluesign®-certified materials. As the number of chemical, material and product manufacturers that are certified to the bluesign® standard continues to grow, you will find more and more bluesign®-certified choices when you shop. The REI Co-op brand now offers a wide variety of bluesign®-certified materials in its apparel and gear, as well as a growing selection of full products the meet the bluesign® critieria.
REI Product Impact Standards
REI has established the REI Product Impact Standards, which apply to all brands and products sold at the co-op. These standards outline our expectations of all brands sold at REI regarding how key environmental, social and animal welfare impacts are managed. The standards also identify preferred attributes—the most credible, relevant and impactful features that support positive impacts across our product offering. We encourage brand partners to use for their products, including standards covered in this article. Look for products with these features while shopping at REI to help support better ways of making gear.
To learn about all of REI Co-op’s sustainability initiatives, read our online Product Sustainability report.