Kontoor Brands Aims to Transform Apparel Production for Good

Sep 29, 2020 Press Release

Commitments around Innovative Foam Dyeing Technologies, Sustainable Cotton Sourcing, and Supply Chain Worker Well-being Create a Foundation for the Company to Lead with Sustainability

GREENSBORO, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Kontoor Brands, Inc. (NYSE: KTB), a global lifestyle apparel company with a portfolio led by two of the world’s most iconic consumer brands, Wrangler® and Lee®, today announced its first set of global sustainability goals and shared its inaugural report on sustainability impacts. The company aspires to transform the industry by taking a holistic approach to apparel and denim production, building off early successes pioneered by its brands.

“Denim is known as being tough, durable and long-lasting. But the production process historically has been resource-intensive. We’re facing this challenge head-on by scrutinizing every aspect of the denim lifecycle and investing as needed to develop more sustainable processes,” said Scott Baxter, President and CEO, Kontoor Brands. “With a little over one year behind us as a publicly traded company, we are proud of our initial steps in a long-term commitment to maximize value and innovate for a healthier future.”

Kontoor’s global sustainability strategy focuses on three pillars with specific measurable goals, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to track progress and ensure accountability.

Planet: Wrangler and Lee have a longstanding commitment to environmental stewardship and compliance. One example is Indigood™ foam dye which eliminates water from the denim dyeing process. Kontoor has helped bring this revolutionary process to market and is exploring new emerging technologies that further reduce water use in the denim production process. Through this effort, among others, Kontoor sets goals to:

  • Save 10 billion liters of water by 2025
  • Power 100 percent of owned and operated facilities with renewable energy by 2025
  • Establish a science-based climate target by 2022

Product: Kontoor strives to use sustainable suppliers, materials and operations for the millions of products it produces each year. The company has focused on sustainable cotton sourcing practices by prioritizing regenerative agriculture principles that have the potential to drive three times the amount of carbon into soils over conventional practices. Wrangler has invested in farmer training to promote these principles through the use of cover crops, complex rotation and conservation tillage. Through its global product strategy, Kontoor sets goals to:

  • Source 100 percent sustainable raw materials, including forest-derived materials and animal-derived materials by 2023, cotton by 2025 and synthetics by 2030
  • Use 100 percent preferred chemistry by 2023

People: Kontoor is committed to being active and engaged members of the communities where it operates and to collaborating with the company’s suppliers for safe, secure workplaces for every person in its supply chain. In addition to Kontoor’s Inclusion & Diversity strategy, which outlines specific goals and detailed action plans, the company sets goals, as it relates to worker well-being, to:

  • Work only with factories that support a worker well-being or community development initiative by 2025

“Kontoor Brands is focused on driving meaningful improvements across the apparel production process, which can only be achieved through collaborations for greater transparency,” said Roian Atwood, Senior Director, Global Sustainable Business. “We have an opportunity to address some of our industry’s most pressing global issues and are committed to being a good corporate citizen as we operate in the world.”

In addition to announcing these new goals, Kontoor released its first sustainability report today, summarizing the company’s global impacts during the 2019 calendar year. Through this reporting effort, Kontoor took a holistic approach to stakeholder engagement and materiality assessment, leveraging a digital listening tool in addition to engaging in one-on-one interviews, roundtable discussions and other forums in an effort to ensure multiple perspectives from diverse stakeholders.

“We aspire to be a global leader in sustainability, helping pave the way for the future of the industry through innovation and action. We will regularly report on our progress toward our goals and our overall environmental impacts,” added Baxter. “Even as we navigate the uncertainty related to the global pandemic, we are firmly committed to sustainable business practices and operating with the highest standards of ethics and transparency.”

The report, as well as additional information about Kontoor’s approach to sustainability, can be found at KontoorBrands.com/sustainability.

About Kontoor Brands

Kontoor Brands, Inc. (NYSE:KTB) is a global lifestyle apparel company, with a portfolio led by two of the world’s most iconic consumer brands: Wrangler® and Lee®. Kontoor designs, manufactures and distributes superior high-quality products that look good and fit right, giving people around the world the freedom and confidence to express themselves. Kontoor Brands is a purpose-led organization focused on leveraging its global platform, strategic sourcing model and best-in-class supply chain to drive brand growth and deliver long-term value for its stakeholders. For more information about Kontoor Brands, please visit www.KontoorBrands.com.

Eric Tracy, (336) 332-5205
Senior Director, Investor Relations
Vanessa McCutchen, (336) 332-5612
Vice President, Corporate Communications

Source: Kontoor Brands, Inc.