The Blue Way to Responsible Materials

Estimated reading time: 6 min

A long, winding road lies between a consumer’s demand for sustainably produced apparels, such as a simple jacket, and the realization of this demand in a product. Alone, brands would need to navigate a labyrinth of legislation detours and production and supply chain potholes to ensure harmful chemicals aren’t used or emitted, that proper working conditions are met, that the end product is safe for the consumer and that all of the above can be validated in order to make substantiated claims – a daunting task, but not an impossible one with the right support.

Let’s start from the beginning

In a complex, global supply chain context, one of the greatest design hurdles a would-be responsibly produced jacket will face is ensuring no harmful chemicals are used or emitted along the way. As legislation and compliance can diff er greatly from country to country, the best way to do so is by preventing hazardous chemicals from entering the input stream in the first place, using scientific verification. Ensuring the right inputs are used creates a clean and safe process throughout the production and supply chain, protecting workers, consumers and the environment. bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNERS must meet this strict criteria in what’s known as the Input Stream Management approach.

Smart Chemistry and Best Practice

But using the right inputs is just the start of the journey to a sustainable jacket. There’s plenty of room for improvement in the material’s production with the implementation of best practices with smart chemistry. Through optimized resource conservation, workplace safety, emissions control and control of the fi nal product, smart chemistry can make further improvements in terms of resource reduction, cost savings, and protection from many workplace and environmental liabilities.

Following an on-site, third-party assessment of the chemical manufacturer identifying improvement potential on the above points, bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNER chemicals suppliers need to create and implement a so-called Product Stewardship System to ensure these best practices become engrained on an organizational level. From here, regular on-site verification by a third party then ensures this system is being followed.

Responsible Manufacturing

When it comes to responsible manufacturing of the textile material, the application of smart chemistry as described above and best practice in the production site is a must to manage impact to people and the environment and drive a resource conserving manufacturing of materials. To meet today’s requirements of conscious consumers, bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNER textile and trim manufacturers must therefore undergo a comprehensive company assessment and implement stringent criteria. This includes the use of smart chemistry, which they can easily fi nd in the bluesign® FINDER, and best practices for their sites according to guidance from bluesign. Emissions as well as resource consumption are then monitored, and regular third-party re-assessments assures continuous improvement is made.

Take The Blue Way

With such verified responsible material manufacturers in place, all that the brand designing the jacket needs to do is to find them. Materials produced in a manner that follows the bluesign® SYSTEM criteria, coming from a bluesign ® SYSTEM PARTNER, can then bear the label bluesign® APPROVED and be easily found in the bluesign® GUIDE – a path that spares the brand the painstaking job of navigating through the supply chain and production sustainability challenges in order to focus on what they do best: making a great jacket, one that provides consumers with the confidence that they are a purchasing a responsibly produced product.

Bluesign
melanie.haas@norragency.com