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Bluesign ‘Democratizing Access’ to Sustainable Textile Production Solutions

If you don’t know where things are coming from, you cannot measure their impact. And saying you don’t know your impact won’t cut it with regulators, either.

This was the overarching theme of “Understanding the Impact of Your Supply Chain,” a panel at Sourcing Journal’s 2022 Sustainability Summit, held June 1 in New York.

In the discussion, Kutay Saritosun, head of marketing and communications at Bluesign, discussed the benefits of using a sustainable solutions provider, how the brands Bluesign works with are attaining their goals, and how the rest of the industry can follow in its footsteps.

The Switzerland-based sustainable solutions provider works closely with over 720 chemical suppliers, textile manufacturers and brands (also known as system partners) to reduce the impact on the textile industry, people and the environment.

“We’ve been working closely with chemical suppliers and manufacturers, assessing their production and facilities and giving them an action plan/roadmap to implement into their everyday use,” Saritosun said. “It is a system that facilities implement to reduce their impact on people and the environment, which leads to the labeling of chemical products, fabrics, buttons, zippers, etc.”

To be more accessible to small and medium-sized brands, Bluesign is also expanding its services by offering a new affordable tiered service for those with limited financial bandwidth.

“This is actually the first time we’re announcing it. We’ve got two different levels of services, both for brands and manufacturers at a different price point than our system partnership, which will then democratize access,” Saritosun said. “This is also great for those who are not ready for implementation but still want to use Bluesign expertise and services to measure and understand their impact.”

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Knowing your supply chain is key to progression

One thing Bluesign looks at when doing an on-site assessment is resource efficiency so they can evaluate where the manufacturer is at regarding usage and emissions of water, energy, chemicals and carbon.

While Bluesign can measure impact and have a macro view of the progress the industry is making regarding sustainability goals, it is harder for the firm to track an individual brand’s progress efficiently if it don’t know the ins and outs of its own supply chain.

And too many don’t. Knowing the ins and outs of the supply chain allows brands to keep track of data verified by a third-party, set up corporate goals and track progress to see whether they are going to meet their target.

“First, you need to know your supply chain well and where your products are coming from. In fact, we do brand assessments for our system partner brands, and many of them don’t know where their goods are coming from,” Saritosun said. “And if you don’t know where things are coming from you cannot measure impact.”

Saritosun also pointed out that the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive is leading the way for a more sustainable industry in Europe. This directive will require brands to disclose actions taken toward identifying potential risks to people and the environment throughout the entire supply chain.

“This is very important because it says if you are a brand or retailer selling in Europe or if you’re a non-EU brand retailer selling in Europe, you have to declare your supply chain, understand the impact on your supply chain (environmental and social), and have an action plan put into place that shows how you plan on reducing your impact in your supply chain,” Saritosun said. “You won’t be able to just say ‘this is sustainable,’ or ‘this is responsible and 100 percent organic.’ You will need to have third-party certification to verify all the claims.”