Performance fabrics for the outdoors, fabrics that shed water and transport moisture, often use complex polymers and chemical treatments. Even natural fabrics like cotton and wool are chemically dyed and finished.
At MEC, we test our fabrics and prototypes to make sure they perform like we need them to. But these tests don't tell us anything about the stuff in them or the impact they might have on the environment. Our designers don't actually have the knowledge or facilities to do such testing, so we've chosen a knowledgeable partner who does, bluesign technologies of Switzerland.
Bluesign provides independent auditing of textile mills. They examine the manufacturing process from raw materials and energy going in – to water and air emissions going out. Audit findings are ranked in order of concern, and they suggest ways to reduce consumption, and recommend alternatives to harmful chemicals or processes wherever possible. Mills that commit to verifiably adopting their recommendations earn bluesign system partner certification.
Auditing a mill or raw material supplier follows a consistent process:
Earning bluesign approval costs mills and suppliers time and money. They have to be convinced they'll get a return on their investment in the form of increased demand for their products from manufacturers like MEC and ultimately from consumers. Long-term, we'd like to see bluesign certification become the recognized world standard, and we hope our participations is a step toward achieving this.