For sustainable society


A denim maker Kontoor’s sustainability

Denim is durable and lasts for a long time. A single denim pants can be worn for a long time by one owner or can be reused by many people as old clothes. It can be said that it is a sustainable fashion item depending on how it is used.

On April 22 celebrating Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, Kontoor based in the United States, which develops Lee and Wrangler which are counted in three big brands of such denim in the world, announced Lee’s new commitment to climate change and Wrangler’s past achievements.

Lee’s four newly announced sustainability goals in the production process are:
– Power 100% of all owned and operated facilities with renewable energy;
– Source 100% sustainably grown or recycled cotton;
– Utilize more than 50% “sustainable synthetics”; and
– Increase “Indigood” products every year.

Although no specific measure has been disclosed, they are committed to be achieved by 2025. “Sustainable synthetics” refer to plant-derived biopolyester such as sugar cane and fibers derived from recycled resources such as petrochemical products. “Indigood” is a product made in a new way of indigo dyeing. It is said that the amount of water used can be reduced by 100%, energy by 60%, and waste by 60% by dyeing with bubbles instead of water. This Indigood product is already sold by Wrangler. In addition, Lee is developing “back to Nature” denim collection that returns to the soil, which is made of 100% linen cotton except for the metal buttons and is compostable. 

Wrangler has set a goal of saving more than 5.5 billion liters of water in the production process by the end of 2020; however, it has already saved more than 7 billion liters of water between 2008 and April 2020. Water is essential for denim production, and it is said that about 950 liters of water is required to dye a single denim pants. For Wrangler, the wastewater treatment system and the recycling rate of the water used have been improved. The usage of enzymes necessary for decolorization to express a vintage appearance has also been improved, and the amount of water used is being reduced without degrading the item quality.

Wrangler has set new goals for the second half of the year and has declared that it will working on further saving water in cooperation with manufacturers involved in production. The positive attitude of global companies to environmental measures has the potential to promote changes in large-scale farmers and international distributors that they are partnered with, in addition to impacting consumers. The industry’s largest manufacturers are expected to actively address climate change measures and play a lead role for the entire world to shift towards reducing environmental impact.


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