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 a bluesign® certification on products in two different ways:

Made with bluesign®-certified material: When a product is labeled this way, that means some, but perhaps not all, of the materials in that product meet the bluesign® standard.

bluesign®-certified product: When a product is labeled this way, that means the full product meets the 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.

Shop bluesign® at REI 


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Contributing Experts

Genna Heath
Genna Heath

When she’s not working to make outdoor products more socially and environmentally responsible, REI Sustainability Program Manager Genna Heath can be found traveling, hiking, snowboarding and playing outside with her dog Max.

Greg Gausewitz
Greg Gausewitz

When he’s not working to elevate sustainability for all brands at REI, Product Sustainability Manager Greg Gausewitz enjoys surfing, canoeing, rowing, swimming, trail running, backpacking and cross-country skiing.