Lee® Announces Global Sustainability Goals

By: Kontoor Brands News Team Apr 21, 2020 Feature Story Tags: Lee, Sustainability

Targets Aim to Advance Sustainability Practices in Materials and Operations

GREENSBORO, N.C. April 21, 2020 In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Lee®, the iconic apparel brand known for its timeless denim style and innovative apparel, announced its first-ever global sustainability goals. Established under Lee’s recently launched global sustainability platform, For a World That Works™, these goals focus on boldly pursuing more sustainable solutions for apparel development and production.

“At Lee, we are committed to doing our part to help lead our industry toward a better future,” said Chris Waldeck, EVP, global brand president, Lee. “Our global sustainability goals will guide our actions and help accelerate our commitment to providing products that drive positive changes for our environment and communities, while delivering the quality and style consumers expect from Lee.”

Lee’s four global sustainability goals are to:

  • Power 100 percent of all owned and operated facilities with renewable energy by 2025.
  • Utilize more than 50 percent sustainable synthetics by 2025.
  • Source 100 percent sustainably-grown or recycled cotton by 2025.
  • Increase Indigood™ dyed products every year through 2025.

These global goals convey Lee’s commitment to integrating sustainable solutions into the brand’s design and manufacturing processes and to reducing environmental and social impacts. They also build on Lee’s latest sustainably focused product launches and partnerships including:

  • Indigood Denim: Launched this Spring, Indigood™ Denim is a signature product line that reduces the amount of water required by 100 percent, the energy required by 60 percent and the waste produced by 60 percent by replacing the traditional water vats and chemical baths of conventional indigo dyeing with a foam dye applicator. Indigood™ is Lee’s commitment to discovering and integrating into their supply chain, the most sustainable ways to dye denim.
  • Back to Nature: Lee’s range of biodegradable denim products, Back to Nature jeans are made from 100 percent cotton. When the jeans and jackets reach the end of their useful life, the metal buttons can be unscrewed and reused, and the remaining component products can be composted at home.
  • Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign: In 2019, the brand signed on to the Foundation’s Jean’s Redesign Guidelines, which set minimum requirements on durability, material health, recyclability and are based on the principles of a circular economy. The guidelines are being integrated into an internal assessment tool used to measure the sustainability performance of Lee

“With these targets, we are raising the bar on what consumers can expect from Lee in terms of environmental sustainability,” said Roian Atwood, senior director of sustainable business, Lee. “For A World That Works is fueled by a sense of urgency and responsibility. As we look ahead, we must continually challenge ourselves to redefine how we operate, so that we can help create a brighter future for our planet and our industry.” 

Launched in February, For A World That Works™ unites Lee’s legacy of innovation and purpose with a responsibility to build a stronger, more sustainable world. Learn more about Lee’s sustainability goals and For A World That Works TM at Lee.com.

About Lee®

Lee®, a Kontoor Brands (NYSE: KTB) brand, is an iconic American denim and casual apparel brand. Lee's collections include a uniquely styled range of jeans, pants, shirts, shorts and jackets for men, women, and boys. Founded by H.D. Lee and backed by nearly 130 years of purposeful design and craftsmanship, Lee's movement-inspired innovations, versatile styling and superior fit continue to inspire generations of brand loyalists. For more information, please visit www.lee.com.