Kontoor Brands expands Indigood water saving program
Kontoor Brands, Inc., the owner of denim labels including Wrangler and Lee, announced on Monday that it is expanding its Indigood water saving program to include any technology that uses at least 90% less water than conventional fabric production.
Indigood was launched in 2019 with the objective of driving significant reductions in water use in the fabric construction phase of the apparel supply chain. Initially, the program covered foam-dyed denim, but its new expansion will mean that denim mills using a wide range of new technologies will be able to qualify for Indigood certification, including those implementing increased water recycling, improved dyeing processes and innovations in fabric finishing.
Kontoor said that it collaborates with independent third parties in order to verify that technologies making Indigood claims meet the program’s 90% threshold.
“Water is one of our most vital and precious natural resources, and as such, we are focused on advancing the sustainable and equitable management of water resources,” explained Jeff Frye, VP of product development and direct procurement at Kontoor Brands, in a release.
“By expanding the Indigood program to include additional water saving technologies, we’re giving our suppliers the opportunity to select the water savings technologies that work best for their production, while also meeting the growing consumer demand for products that not only look good, but also minimize the impact on the planet,” he added.
According to Kontoor, the Wrangler brand saved more than 7 billion liters of water in the finishing phase of denim manufacture in 2020, shooting past its goal of 5.5 billion liters. The label has therefore committed to a new target of reducing its water usage by 50% by 2030.
Wrangler’s new water saving strategy focuses on fiber production, fabric construction, and product finishing, which together account for over 95% of the total water usage in the manufacturing process of a pair of jeans.
To date, the Lee brand’s water savings have totaled more than 1 billion liters. The label published its first global sustainability goals in 2020, which include a commitment to introduce increasing numbers of Indigood-dyed products through 2025.
As the fashion industry continues to face up to its environmental impact, apparel dyeing – one of the sector’s most polluting processes – has become a key area of focus for many companies. Indeed, Kontoor’s announcement about the expansion of its Indigood program comes as Ralph Lauren launches Color on Demand, a project aiming to create the first scalable zero-wastewater system for cotton dyeing.
In 2020, Kontoor’s annual revenues totaled $2.1 billion, falling 18% compared to the previous year, while net income at the company was $67.9 million, or $1.17 per share.
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