Kontoor Brands-owned Wrangler is bringing its sustainability initiatives abroad with the European launch of the Wrangler Science and Conservation Program.
The program, first launched in the United States in 2017, is described by the iconic denim brand as "an alliance of industry experts, pioneering farmers, and nonprofit partners that sponsors research, farmer workshops and promotes soil health farming practices," particularly to create a more regenerative cotton supply.
Now, as it brings the program to Europe, Wrangler said it will collaborate with European farmers to promote sustainable agricultural production and land stewardship practices that advance soil health and traceability in the supply chain.
The environmental initiative was introduced to the European market at the Agrotica international agricultural fair, an international trade show for agricultural machinery, equipment and material held in Thessaloniki, Greece. There, the program hosted a dialog on sustainable agriculture with the Certified Fibermax Cotton Program, a Greek outpost of BASF, a company that helps brands trace the origin and growth process of their cotton. BASF first partnered with the Wrangler Science and Conservation Program in 2019.
Wrangler said it aims to source 100% of its cotton from farms using land stewardship practices by 2025.
“Wrangler products are made with cotton grown all over the world, so it’s important that we help drive the entire industry toward more sustainable production,” said Roian Atwood, senior director of sustainability at Wrangler.
“It’s been great to learn from European farmers, to share our research and to unite against major industry challenges, like the loss of valuable topsoil.”
Along with the newly expanded Wrangler Science and Conservation Program, the denim brand's other eco-conscious ventures have included becoming the first fashion brand to adopt dry Indigo denim, the launch of the BASF-supported 'Rooted Collection' of jeans made from 100% sustainable, local cotton and the inclusion of foam-dyed denim within its first 'Indigood' sustainable denim line.
In December 2019, Kontoor Brands -- which also owns the Lee denim brand --announced that it had reached its zero-waste targets at its owned distribution centers throughout North America, a milestone which meant that at least 95% of the waste from these facilities would be recycled, composted or reused.