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Kontoor Brands unveils new forest-focused sustainability policy

today Sep 30, 2019
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Kontoor Brands Inc., the VF Corp spin-off responsible for denim brands Lee and Wrangler, is the latest name in fashion to boost its corporate social responsibility efforts with the unveiling of its first ‘Forest Derived Materials (FDM)’ policy.

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According to Kontoor, the policy sets formal standards to support the company’s sustainable use of forest products, in an effort to decrease issues such as the loss of ancient and endangered forests, loss of biodiversity and habitat, use of forced labor in making forestry products and loss of indigenous peoples and local community rights.

In order to prevent this damage, the policy prioritizes the use of products derived from raw materials with minimal impact on forests and forest habitats, with an emphasis on certified-sustainable sources like Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified materials. 

To further support its sustainability efforts, Kontoor said it will work to reduce its use of virgin materials and increase its use of recycled materials, as well as alternative fiber sources. 

The company said it will continue to build on its new FDM policy with the help of various NGOs and relevant stakeholders. In addition to the new policy, Kontoor is also a participant in the CanopyStyle initiative, which works with over 170 leading apparel brands to eliminate all ancient and endangered forest fiber from their products. CanopyStyle counts VF Corp among its partners, as well as fellow names in fashion like Reformation, Guess, American Eagle and H&M.

"Kontoor is helping drive forward the retail industry’s commitment to large scale forest conservation and climate solutions,” said Nicole Rycroft, founder and executive director of Canopy.

“Two of the world’s most iconic brands are now part of this global movement to transform their supply chains to ensure the protection of the world’s forest and the people and animals that call them home.”

As global concern surrounding climate change continues to grow, Kontoor's announcement is the latest in an increasing number of new eco-focused initiatives within the fashion world, from American Eagle’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030 to Swarovski’s new sustainability-focused partnership with nonprofit Study Hall and the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP).

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