bluesign® system partner
ergobag goes blue because we work with the bluesign® system The bluesign® system is the most stringent frame of reference currently in place to guarantee that a product is free of harmful chemical substances. Manufacturers are required to abide by the standard developed by bluesign technologies if they want their products to be granted bluesign® certification. All the substances and chemicals used and processed in a product must meet this standard. It is not just the chemical safety or composition of the end product which comes under scrutiny. The bluesign® system is applied much earlier on in the process – right back at the stage when the input substances are produced, so as to guarantee that sustainable and scrupulous production processes are possible from the outset. This results not only in a safe working environment for the employees on the production floor who must be afforded the same level of protection from hazardous chemicals as the end consumer – but it also means that the sustainable use of resources like water, gas and energy can be monitored. The aims are to create transparency in the market and to develop an awareness of sustainability and quality in the end consumers while at the same time giving them the assurance that the product they have bought is safe from harmful chemicals. Julian is in charge of corporate responsibility issues at ergobag. Sustainability is a matter of great importance to Julian, not only in his professional life but also in the choices he makes as a private individual. We asked him some questions today about the bluesign® system. How was ergobag introduced to the bluesign® system? ergobag has been using bluesign®-certified materials since it was started up. Our very first supplier was already a bluesign® system partner, so we were made aware of the issue through this supplier. The founders of our company, Sven and Flo, were immediately full of enthusiasm for the system. The logical consequence was our bluesign® system partnership which was formed back in November 2013. Why the bluesign® system rather than any other? Sustainability and the protection of our environment are matters which are close to our hearts, and so the decision to be a bluesign® system partner is a step in the right direction. We already had a system of requirements in place before entering into the partnership whereby we specified to our manufacturers which parts they had to test for which substances. What we liked about the bluesign® system and convinced us that it was the right way to go, however, was that it is concerned with the production of the individual materials and not just with the end product. It is therefore much more rigorous and far-reaching than other standards. We became a member in our third year as a company, and our membership sent out a clear signal. We are now delighted to be able to make a contribution ourselves and to support the 'Input Stream Management' initiative. What exactly is your role in connection with the bluesign system? I have an administrative role, liaising between ergobag, bluesign technologies and our suppliers. We are assisted by bluesign technologies in that the organization provides us with the RSL or Restricted Substances List. I then pass this list of prohibited chemicals on to our manufacturers and suppliers. It also provides me with a handy reference checklist so that I can quickly verify that our business partners are sticking to the rules. I arrange for chemical tests to be carried out on the materials which are used for our backpacks by our business partners and then check the test results. In short, it is my responsibility to make sure that our backpacks arrive without harmful chemicals and therefore without any risk to the children who will carry them. What does the bluesign® system mean for our suppliers? We pass the bluesign® system standards on to our suppliers. In doing so, we show them the way we plan to go and leave it up to the suppliers to decide if they want to go with us. The long and short of it is that anyone who wants to work with us is required to abide by this standard. It is not our place, however, to insist that our business partners take out membership – because the system is based on the desire to want to change something. Moreover, the process of becoming a bluesign system partner is not only a long but also an expensive route for a producer to choose. It will involve purchasing the latest machinery for high efficiency. What is more, the dye factories have to turn their entire formula system upside down. *How exactly does ergobag work with bluesign technologies?* We basically contact bluesign technologies on all issues relating to substances and chemicals. I get in touch whenever I have a question about substances and chemicals and get an answer based on the latest research and test results. Are there targets which are planned for the future? The goal is quite clearly a "bluesign® product". Our backpack will be able to bear this seal of quality if it meets certain requirements regardless of the proportion of bluesign®-certified materials which are contained in the backpack. Until such time, our goal is to continue raising the awareness of our manufacturers with regard to the RSL.