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Patagonia has worked with bluesign® technologies since 2000 to evaluate and reduce resource consumption in our materials supply chain, and to assist us with managing the chemicals, dyes and finishes used in the process. Bluesign technologies, based in Switzerland, works at each step in the textile supply chain to approve chemicals, processes, materials, and products that are safe for the environment, safe for workers, and safe for the end customers.

Textile manufacturers that become bluesign system partners agree at the outset to establish management systems for improving environmental performance in five key areas of the production process: resource productivity, consumer safety, water emissions, air emissions, and occupational health and safety. System partners regularly report their progress in energy, water and chemical usage and are subject to on-site audits.

The bluesign system is based on input-stream management. Chemicals are assigned to one of three categories: blue – safe to use; gray – special handling required; and black – forbidden. The bluesign system helps factories properly manage gray chemicals and replace black chemicals with safer alternatives.

In 2007, Patagonia became the first brand to officially join the network of bluesign system partners. We committed to the highest level of consumer safety and the continuous improvement of environmental performance in our textile supply chains by applying the bluesign system to help conserve resources and minimize impacts on people and the environment. Our progress and encouragement has inspired more suppliers and other brands to join; there are now almost 300 brands, manufacturers, and chemical suppliers who are bluesign system partners.

The bluesign standard is rigorous, but we’ve established a goal with our suppliers to have all Patagonia fabrics bluesign-approved by 2015. As of fall 2013, 21% of our product line is made with bluesign approved fabrics, and 45 of our material suppliers are working with bluesign technologies.

Any fabric you see that’s bluesign approved offers the highest level of consumer safety by employing methods and materials in their manufacture that conserve resources and minimize impacts on people and the environment.