Ahead of its Time

Foreseeing the turn of the tide, Bluesign has been developing solutions to environmental and social problems in the supply chain 20 years before the industry even knew they had them.

A lot has happened in the last 20 years. The last Volkswagen Beetle rolled through production. Redbull dropped a man from the stratosphere. Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPod, followed by the iPhone. Facebook launched its social platform. The last 20 years were witness to technologies that changed communication and information sharing as we know it today.

However, there is a general consensus that not enough has happened to move the textile and fashion industry into the environmentally and socially responsible position that has increasingly been demanded for by consumers. The new trending discussion topic is radical transparency. The current industry demands are pushing players to implement sustainability policy reaching throughout their supply chain, while increasing traceability, transparency, and accountability.

Brands especially find themselves under pressure to provide more information about their products and the product manufacturing process. Moreover, certification institutions are finding they have to move quickly to improve the systems they have in place to meet the industry needs in order to provide this increased transparency.

Transparency is a competitive edge

A 2019 report produced by Suston Magazine demonstrated that no retailer ranked itself an expert in materials sustainability. How can brands then be expected to develop and implement the sustainability initiatives they are promising consumers?

The challenges that the industry is currently facing are multifaceted: Fast-fashion has taken over the industry by storm and is the only segment of the fashion industry that has experienced market growth in the past 15 years. Now, many established luxury brands want to speed up their production and reaction time just to remain competitive against the fast-fashion wave.

While data transparency can appear to be a challenge for the industry, in the current global climate where data is king, transparency throughout the supply chain can instead offer a competitive advantage for a company. In our globalized world, “out of sight, out of mind” no longer exists. Information will always find its way to the surface.

As consumers take stock of their global footprint, they will make active decisions to seek out information in order to increase their positive influence and reduce negative impacts on the environment and society.

20 years ahead of the game

For the last 20 years, Bluesign has been advocating for and developing solutions to meet this demand; long before the consumer demand was perceived by the industry. Today, the Bluesign benchmark is the most efficient way to guarantee compliance with new regulations, without compromising on functionality, quality, or design.

THE BLUE WAY path paved by Bluesign for the past 20 years has encompassed these chemical and environmental topics before they became trending topics in the textile or fashion industries. While many organizations are now recognizing a need to react, Bluesign has been acting 20 years ahead of time.

Bluesign, its extensive expert base, experience, and partners, have created a stable solution that combines sustainable practices with solutions that provide the industry with economic benefits. This holistic approach encompasses the needs throughout the value chain and the end-user.

What sets the Bluesign approach apart from other systems is its Input Stream Management. Previous solutions tested a finished product and allowed for little flexibility if standards were not met. 20 years ago, Bluesign’s Input Stream Management was a revolutionary idea and a first mover towards an industry mindset shift; shifting away from testing a finished end product, to setting criteria along the way for components and processes. The Bluesign Input Stream Management has created a sleek and efficient assessment process, one where the globally accepted standards are integrated in determining a product’s compatibility with the Bluesign and the industry benchmark.

This scientific systematic approach established Bluesign as the industry leader for chemical verification, sustainability, and conscious production practices in the textile industry. Today, the idea of a transparent supply chain is moving towards the norm. However, with processes and supply chain transparency comes the need for industry tools to simplify the communication and collaboration along the many horizontal and vertical levels of the supply chain.

First mover advantage

The bluesign® CUBE is a web-based platform with Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) capabilities. The primary and paramount feature of the bluesign® CUBE is its efficient facilitation of transparent information flow between connected organizations.

In line with the long established Bluesign Input Stream Management mindset, when organizations are able to keep track of their production input usage, they will be able to measure and understand their output. This software suite and measurement tool can generate Environmental Key Performance Indicators (eKPIs) which are of unparalleled value in creating reports for shareholders, stakeholders, and consumers. Data measures in reduction of emissions, discharge, and increases in resource efficiency creates the ability for sound data driven business strategies.

Two key points will need to be taken into consideration in 2020:

Firstly, 2020 will be big data driven. Moreover, this data will have to be verifiable. Companies will have to stand behind facts and figures. Transparent data generation throughout the supply chain is the most fluid and efficient way in which verified data can be established. Moreover, a verified supply chain can reduce a company’s risk of finding itself in the middle of a PR nightmare.

Secondly, 2020 will continue to be purpose driven. Both the fashion and textile industry suffer from a lack of trust from consumers. Because of this, they must be conscious of how they move in the world around themselves. Looking towards the future, organizations such as Greenpeace have admitted they have gone as far as they can go with initiatives such as Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC). Greenpeace has made clear that fulfilling their set goals can only be realized with the support of government regulation and legal definitions.

Companies who are the first movers in transparent data sharing and analysis will be at the forefront of consumer trust and consumer loyalty.

As Bruno Pieters, founder of Honest by, stated,

“If you don’t do it now, you’ll have to adapt when complete transparency becomes mandatory.”

Act now, follow THE BLUE WAY and be 20 years ahead.


What is bluesign® CUBE?

The bluesign® CUBE is a web-based platform facilitating efficient transparent information flow between connected organizations.

Find out more at: bluesign.com



More Stories

“At best, this should be seen as greenwashing”

While European brands began voluntarily phasing out PFAS in outdoor equipment years ago, US brands have been dragging their feet. Will incoming legislation finally level the playing field?

By Meg Carney

Why is European wool a waste product?

Experts estimate that up to 50 % of wool remains unused in the largest sheep-farming countries of Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. There should be more appreciation for European Wool.

By Lavalan

Overcoming sustainability data overload with SDEX

Retailers increasingly ask for sustainability information from the brands. But multiple reporting is causing confusion and taking more and more resources from brand sustainability teams. Can the Sustainability Data Exchange Project (SDEX) solve this?

By Jonathan Eidse

Made for Those Who Demand More

Since the invention of the Gore-Tex membrane almost 50 years ago, the brand stands for durable weather protection and comfort in functional outdoor clothing. During that time, the membrane technology has been constantly improved and reinvented.


More News