Big Outdoor Brands are Embracing bluesign®

Hands holding a small pile of dirt and a plant

Photo by Science in HD

Thanks to activist brands like Patagonia and REI, sustainability and environmental conservation are becoming synonymous, and expected, within the outdoor industry. Part of the reason that Wild Human exists is to highlight brands that we think are going above and beyond to ethically produce high-quality gear and products. But, here’s the rub: buying all of our favorite gear and testing the latest and greatest contributes to carbon emissions. There’s no way around it; being a consumer contributes to the problem. That’s why using your buying power to support companies who are trying to offset their own pollution is so important. That’s where bluesign® comes in.

bluesign® aims to change the standards and conditions that the textile industry operates under by offering the latest technology, production methods, and materials to responsibly produce products and protect the environment.

There’s a good chance that you own a bluesign® certified product. Some of the biggest outdoor brands are making gear and apparel that come with a bluesign® label. But what does that mean exactly? What is bluesign®?

bluesign® is an organization of scientists and manufacturing experts who are changing textile production and material sourcing standards to reduce the environmental impact of all of those products you love. That’s mouthful and a bit of an oversimplification, but the bottom line is that bluesign® is helping brands make safer and more environmentally conscious products.

When you buy a product that has the bluesign® label, that means that that brand has committed to the bluesign® System. To achieve the label, products must contain at least 90% approved textiles and 30% approved accessories.

The bluesign® label on a piece of apparel
Photo by bluesign®

Here’s how all of this textile lingo boils down: bluesign® offers a way for brands to responsibly manufacture products that are better for the environment and reduce carbon footprints. But the bluesign® system goes beyond just the idea of a more responsible manufacturing process. bluesign® brings actionable systems and methods. They bring technologies and ethical material sourcing. 

It’s still on the brand to adopt the system, but when you see a product with the bluesign® label, that means that the manufacturer has opted for a process that helps the environment, offsets some of their own pollution, and maintains quality. After all, getting consumers to care about environmentally safe products that don’t work probably won’t get bluesign® too far.

Some of the biggest brands in the outdoor industry have already committed to, at least partially, the bluesign® way

There are so many more.

REI even offers a way to shop for sustainable products on their website. We recently reviewed the new Co-op branded Sun Up Shorts which are bluesign® certified.

Oregon based Ruffwear has started choosing supplier relationships from bluesign® certified facilities for their gear. While Ruffwear is not an official bluesign® systems partner, they continue to work towards improving their contributions to the planet and their people.

Sustainable and environmentally ethical products don’t have to come with a compromise in quality, thanks in part, to organizations like bluesign®. And bluesign® isn’t the only organization that’s helping brands produce a better product. Miir recently announced that they are now Climate Neutral Certified. The certification essentially means that Miir will pay for and offset their own carbon pollution.

bluesign® is a reminder that the power to help our planet partially resides within consumers. In a better world, local and federal governments would be adapting at a faster rate, but right now, the opportunity to change starts with your next purchase.

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