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September 11, 2020updated 16 Jun 2021 4:58pm

Wrangler seeks regenerative cotton for new jean

US denim brand Wrangler is inviting global cotton farmers to apply for their cotton to be used in the manufacture of a new jean that celebrates the benefits of regeneratively grown cotton.

  • Selected farmers will be featured in The Jeans Redesign project by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

US denim brand Wrangler is inviting global cotton farmers to apply for their cotton to be used in the manufacture of a new jean that celebrates the benefits of regeneratively grown cotton.

Farmers who can demonstrate and document soil-carbon and biodiversity improvements are invited to apply for their cotton to be purchased for a Wrangler Retro Premium submission as part of The Jeans Redesign project from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF).

Launched last year, the Jeans Redesign sees more than 50 brands embrace the principles of circular economy to ensure positive impacts for the environment, society and the health of those working in its industry. The guidelines, as set out by over 40 denim experts alongside the Foundation, establishes the minimum requirements for the durability, material health, recyclability and traceability of denim jeans. As defined by the EMF, one of the key principles of circular economy is the regeneration of natural systems. The principle aligns with Wrangler’s aim to source 100% sustainably grown cotton by 2025.

To be considered for inclusion in the Wrangler Retro Premium ‘Regenerative Jean’ collection, Wrangler is asking any farmer from around the world to submit documented evidence of improved soil health and environmental benefits resulting from their adoption of regenerative agricultural systems. Examples include improvements in soil carbon, soil physical properties, biological properties, and determined benefits to the environment. An external panel chaired by the Soil Health Institute will review farmer submissions for selecting the final candidate.

“A circular economy is symbiotic with regenerative agricultural practices,” says Roian Atwood, senior director, global sustainable business at Wrangler. “Wrangler is amplifying our commitment with this call to action as we work with farmers to rapidly scale the supply of sustainably-grown cotton. For this project, we’re looking for the best of the best.”

The move builds on the launch of Wrangler’s sustainable cotton programme in 2017, the Wrangler Science and Conservation Program, with an aim to build a more resilient and regenerative cotton supply. The programme is an alliance of industry experts, pioneering farmers, and non-profit partners that sponsors research, farmer workshops and promotes soil health farming practices. Research shows these science-backed methods can increase yield while reducing water and energy inputs, fighting erosion, and add more carbon into the soil.

“Over the last 100-150 years, many of our most productive agricultural soils have lost 40-60% of their precious organic carbon back into the atmosphere,” says Wayne Honeycutt, president and CEO of the Soil Health Institute. “Restoring carbon back into the soil with regenerative agriculture is one of the greatest opportunities we have to address both climate change and the financial well-being of farmers. We hope more brands will follow Wrangler’s lead and produce climate beneficial clothing.”

In addition to signing onto the Jeans Redesign guidelines, Wrangler recently joined EMF’s Make Fashion Circular, which drives collaboration between apparel industry leaders to ensure clothes are made from safe and renewable materials, new business models increase their use, and old clothes are turned into new.

Last month, the brand said it is to expand the scope of its water conservation efforts with a new global to achieve a 50% reduction in water usage by 2030.

Farmers interested in applying can find more information about the submission process here.

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