The pandemic isn’t softening Kontoor Brands’ commitment to sustainability—in fact, the company, which is home to heritage denim brands Wrangler and Lee, is doubling down on efforts with new sustainability goals published in its first-ever sustainability report.
Goals extend through 2030 and adhere to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that focus on three pillars: planet, product and people.
Using water-saving methods such as Indigood foam dye in the denim dyeing process, the brands aim to save 10 billion liters of water by 2025 and have previously announced they will cut water usage in half by 2030. The report shows that each pair of jeans currently uses 35 liters of water during production. The company also plans to power 100 percent of owned and operated facilities with renewable energy by 2025 and establish a science-based climate target by 2022.
The company has invested in farmer training to ensure sustainable cotton sourcing strategies that reduce carbon output. Through these methods, Kontoor aims to source 100 percent sustainable raw materials, including forest-derived materials and animal-derived materials by 2023, cotton by 2025 and synthetics by 2030. By 2023, it will also use 100 percent preferred chemistry, meaning it will use advanced chemical screening procedures and require strict supplier compliance with the global restricted substance list.
Kontoor also addressed its commitment to people with initiatives that benefit workers and their surrounding communities. By 2025, it will work only with factories that support a worker well-being program or community development initiative.
Additionally, the company published a breakdown of worker demographics in the report, which include statistics based on gender, ethnicity and role. According to the data, women make up 51 percent of all roles, and Hispanic/Latino employees comprise the second-largest group within the workforce at 22 percent.
By publishing the sustainability report and committing to rigorous sustainability goals, Kontoor is taking ownership of its scale and influence in the global denim industry, said Roian Atwood, Wrangler’s senior director, global sustainable business.
“Kontoor Brands is focused on driving meaningful improvements across the apparel production process, which can only be achieved through collaborations for greater transparency,” he said. “We have an opportunity to address some of our industry’s most pressing global issues and are committed to being a good corporate citizen as we operate in the world.”