Bluesign, a Swiss sustainability solutions system for the fashion supply chain, was founded with the goal to motivate suppliers, manufacturers and brands to reduce the overall footprint of textiles. Now it is looking forward to continuing offering tools and platforms for businesses to continue their roadmap towards more responsible action. Jill Dumain, CEO of Bluesign, recently explained.
What has happened since Bluesign started operating?
Bluesign was founded in 2000 offering environmental solutions for suppliers creating the first positive chemical lists. Since then, it has created the most extensive list of chemical substances and updates this every year (we just released our updated BSBL, BSSL and RSL lists). The outdoor industry was the first to embrace our services and in 2014 System Partnerships spread to the fashion industry as they began to recognize the Bluesign System as a solution to their sustainability initiatives. Today we count over 600 System Partners made up of chemical suppliers, textile and accessory manufacturers and brands. We now offer other useful tools for our partners to utilize such as the Cube and the Bluesign Academy, which helps to educate the industry at large.
Jill Dumain, CEO, Bluesign
Did brands and companies operating with you change their behavior and strategies? And if so, how?
We work with all of our System Partners, including outdoor, fashion and suppliers to create unique, holistic roadmaps or action plans for each to use to adapt their operations in a way that mitigates harmful chemical use and to achieve responsible production, resource and energy use. Much of our focus is working with and educating our partners, so they become more and more able to work responsibly which often includes changing behaviors and practices. One of the areas we focus on heavily with brands is to learn and map their supply chain. Our industry has a lot of layers so it isn’t always easy, but it is an essential step to be able to improve their sustainability efforts. We also provide tools to help them build a better supply chain by giving them access to an abundant database to select Bluesign Approved materials and chemicals.
Bluesign labeled product
In a market where many companies and certifying entities exist, what characterizes and makes you different from others?
We do not just check final textiles but provide peace-of-mind to our partners that their products have been manufactured with strict criteria in place every step of the way. Bluesign is not a certifying body; we offer onsite assessments to help brands, suppliers and chemical producers understand their operations and then give them a map to prevent harmful chemicals and materials from ever being used in their products in the first place. What is great about Bluesign is that it is a one-stop shop for safe production. If at least 90% of the materials use Bluesign Approved chemicals, materials and manufacturers, then the final product is approved as a Bluesign Product. Overall, our mission is to generate and disseminate valuable sustainability and the best chemical management knowledge for the fashion industry.
What goals, tools and initiatives you will focus on next?
One goal of Bluesign is we’d like to continue to bring together the pieces to build good and sustainable supply chains that are able to respond to the future, specifically, by replacing unknown chemicals with safer ones that are Bluesign approved. By investing more into the Bluesign step-by-step process of our onsite assessment, unique roadmap and responsible consumption of resources, we are able to provide a pathway for companies to achieve their varied sustainability goals. Our tools utilize the Bluesign Criteria to ensure safe chemistry; our System Partners have access to the Cube It platform that facilitates the building of good supply chains and the industry has free access to safer chemistry with our Bluesign Finder.