US denim brand Wrangler has saved more than 7bn litres of water in the production of its denim products, surpassing its 2020 target.

The achievement is the equivalent to the daily drinking water needs of around 4bn people, the Kontoor brands-owned company said. The savings surpass Wrangler’s 2020 global year-end goal to save 5.5bn litres and has pushed the brand to announce a new, more ambitious water conservation goal later this year.

“From the cotton field to the finishing process, water is essential to creating your favourite pair of Wrangler jeans, and it’s also essential to local communities and future generations,” says Tom Waldron, EVP, global brand president, Wrangler. “We’re incredibly proud of reducing our ecological footprint through water efficiency and recycling, and are committed to continued conservation throughout our supply chain, while also prioritising product innovation that finds new ways to use water responsibly and return it back clean to the communities who depend on it.”

Wrangler manufacturing achieved the water savings by increasing both water efficiency and water recycling in the denim finishing process since 2008. The brand’s manufacturing facility in Torreon, Mexico, regularly recycles up to 85% of the water through sequential batch reactors, micro-filtration and reverse osmosis.

At the brand’s other manufacturing campuses, efficiencies such as merging or removing finishing steps and enhanced enzyme technologies were able to reduce water use without compromising quality.

“We were able to surpass our water conservation goal due to the dedication and ingenuity of the teams that power our manufacturing facilities,” adds Roian Atwood, senior director of global sustainable business, Wrangler. “As we look to the future of water conservation at Wrangler, our approach will expand beyond internal manufacturing to push our production partners to further prioritise water savings and treatment. We encourage others to join us to continue to propel the apparel industry toward a more sustainable and responsible future.”

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Wrangler says it is committed to conserving water in each stage in its supply chain, from cotton production to consumer use. In 2019, it launched Indigood foam dye; the process uses 100% less water than conventionally-dyed denim.

Wrangler also works with agriculture industry experts, pioneering farmers, and non-profit partners to sponsor research, farmer workshops, and promote soil health practices in the cotton supply.