Kontoor is focusing on sustainable cotton sourcing practices

Kontoor is focusing on sustainable cotton sourcing practices

The owner of Wrangler and Lee, Kontoor Brands, has set out its first set of global sustainability goals and said it aspires to transform the industry by taking a holistic approach to apparel and denim production.

Publishing its inaugural sustainability report, Kontoor has focused its strategy on three pillars with specific measurable goals aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): planet, product and people.

"Denim is known as being tough, durable and long-lasting," said Scott Baxter, president and CEO, Kontoor Brands. "But the production process historically has been resource-intensive. We're facing this challenge head-on by scrutinizing every aspect of the denim lifecycle and investing as needed to develop more sustainable processes. With a little over one year behind us as a publicly-traded company, we are proud of our initial steps in a long-term commitment to maximize value and innovate for a healthier future."

Under 'planet', Kontoor is exploring new emerging technologies that further reduce water use in the denim production process. Through this effort, the company has set goals to save 10bn litres of water by 2025, power 100% of owned and operated facilities with renewable energy by 2025, and establish a science-based climate target by 2022.

Under 'product', Kontoor is focusing on sustainable cotton sourcing practices by prioritising regenerative agriculture principles that have the potential to drive three times the amount of carbon into soils over conventional practices. Goals include sourcing 100% sustainable raw materials, including forest-derived materials and animal-derived materials by 2023, cotton by 2025, and synthetics by 2030. It also aims to use 100% preferred chemistry by 2023.

Under 'people', Kontoor says it will work only with factories that support a worker well-being or community development initiative by 2025.

"Kontoor Brands is focused on driving meaningful improvements across the apparel production process, which can only be achieved through collaborations for greater transparency," said Roian Atwood, senior director, global sustainable business. "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."