Kontoor Brands Declares Goals For Water Conservation

Published on: 4 January 2022 06:59 PM
by KnowESG
Children bathing in a river
Children bathing in a river

A Brief Summary

Kontoor Brands, the creator of Lee and Wrangler jeans, has released its 2020 Sustainability Report, which details the company's success and intentions for water conservation, sustainable cotton, and other environmental initiatives.

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The report details Kontoor's progress in advancing its sustainability agenda focusing on People, Product, and Planet – operating with the highest standards of ethics and transparency, seeking to source sustainable products and materials, and partnering with partners who share its values – in accordance with the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Sustainable Accounting Standard Board (SASB).

Kontoor has decreased water use by more than eight billion litres since 2008 and is on track to meet its target of saving ten billion litres by 2025 by deploying water-saving and recycling technologies. Kontoor emphasises its Indigood Program, which first focused on water savings during the fabric creation phase of the garment supply chain with innovations like foam-dyed denim. It has recently been expanded to encompass any water-saving technique in garment fabric production that consumes at least 90% less water than conventional fabric production, such as laser-based fabric finishing technology.

In terms of sustainable cotton, Kontoor generated 50 per cent of the 120 million+ pieces of garments and accessories in 2020 using sustainable cotton. Kontoor intends to get 100 per cent of its cotton from sustainable sources by 2025.

Kontoor also detailed its waste reduction initiatives, claiming to have diverted two-thirds (67%) of its waste from landfills through recycling, upcycling, or downcycling, such as repurposing cardboard boxes for product transportation, using reusable pallets, and using recyclable packaging materials.

Kontoor is collaborating with environmentally conscious organisations to improve its environmental performance in various areas. Its collaboration with biotech startup Infinite Fiber Company resulted in the invention of technology that allows the chemically regenerated fibre to be embedded into trousers and jackets. Traditional mechanical recycling reduces fibre to the point that it is no longer useable. Chemical recycling is not limited in this way, allowing for a more sustainable product.

Additional environmental initiatives outlined by Kontoor include:

1. By 2023, all of its chemicals, such as dyes and finishes, will be made entirely of preferred chemistry.

2. Providing complete transparency for its products and materials along the supply chain, from the farm (for cotton) to manufacturer (for synthetics).

3. Increasing the usage of renewable energy in its owned and operated facilities.

4.. Setting science-based targets for reducing greenhouse gas.

In 2019, Kontoor was spun off from VF Corporation, another garment firm that owns Dickies and North Face. VF announced its own environmental initiatives in October, including an increase in renewable electricity, efficiency improvements in lighting, heating, and cooling, and trash reduction.

Kontoor noticed that it is an exception in moving through with its sustainability efforts despite the pandemic, with many companies "pressing pause...during these difficult times." According to research released in October by climate change solutions consultant Climate Board, despite significant pledges, the fashion industry is not on track to reach its indirect (Scope 3) emissions targets.