REI Adopts Bluesign Standard for Product Sustainability

REI Adopts Bluesign Standard for Product Sustainability

Outdoor gear co-op Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) will add the Bluesign standard, which assesses the impacts of textile materials and chemicals, to its product design process.

REI plans to use Bluesign's research to inform product design and sourcing decisions. The company's design teams for its REI branded apparel and cycling brands will start using it for supply chain choices such as selecting mills and production factories, and choosing yarn, fabric and dyes.

Bluesign Technologies launched the Bluesign standard in 2000 in Switzerland. The Bluesign standard is focused on the start of products, as opposed to testing final items, by evaluating raw materials, chemical components and processes.

It assesses them based on resource productivity and efficiency, consumer safety and protection, air emissions, water emissions, and occupational health and safety. Materials, components and processes receive one of three colors: blue, grey and black. Items labeled black contain substances that are generally banned and are excluded from production. Materials and components that meet all aspects of the Bluesign standard for all of their common applications are labeled blue. Anything else falls in the grey area and can only be used in accordance with the Bluesign standards if they are considered the best available technology.

The assessment process takes into account what the final use of the textile would be, such as if it will be in close contact with human skin, like underwear, or meant to not be in much contact with skin, like the outer layer of a jacket. Bluesign also runs its Bluefinder database with components it has approved for use.