Today is a good day for blue jeans to be green.
Heritage denim brand Wrangler said that in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the brand announced its latest achievement in sustainability: Wrangler has saved over 7 billion liters of water in the production of its denim since 2008, equivalent to the daily drinking water needs of almost 4 billion people.
Wrangler said it achieved its water savings by increasing both water efficiency and water recycling in the denim finishing process, adding that its high standards for water quality ensure that when water is returned to local communities, it’s cleaner than when it was taken for use.
The brand said that its saving surpassed its 2020 global year-end goal to save 5.5 billion liters — so Wrangler will push the envelope and announce even more ambitious water conservation goals later this year.
But sustainability isn’t anything new for Wrangler: In 2019, it became the first brand to offer denim dyed with foam instead of water baths via its foam-dye process that uses 100 percent less water than conventionally dyed denim — and its Indigood foam dye is now available worldwide.
And Wrangler emphasizes its agricultural seed to jean strategy for clean denim. The brand works with industry experts, pioneering farmers, and nonprofit partners to sponsor research, farmer workshops, and promote soil health practices in the cotton supply to achieve increased increase yield and resilience; better combat weather events such as drought and flooding; reduce water inputs; and fight erosion, all while adding more carbon into the soil, Wrangler said.
Tom Waldron, executive vice president, global brand president at Wrangler, said that “From the cotton field to the finishing process, water is essential to creating your favorite pair of Wrangler jeans, and it’s also essential to local communities and future generations.”
“We’re incredibly proud of reducing our ecological footprint through water efficiency and recycling and are committed to continued conservation throughout our supply chain, while also prioritizing product innovation that finds new ways to use water responsibly and return it back clean to the communities who depend on it.”
Eighty-five percent of its water is recycled through sequential batch reactors, micro-filtration and reverse osmosis at its manufacturing facility in Torreón, Mexico. At its other manufacturing campuses, efficiency drives its sustainability forward: The merging or removal of finishing steps and enhanced enzyme technologies enabled a reduction in water use without compromising quality, Wrangler said.
Roian Atwood, senior director of global sustainable business at Wrangler, said that the brand was “able to surpass our water conservation goal due to the dedication and ingenuity of the teams that power our manufacturing facilities.”
“As we look to the future of water conservation at Wrangler, our approach will expand beyond internal manufacturing to push our production partners to further prioritize water savings and treatment. We encourage others to join us to continue to propel the apparel industry toward a more sustainable and responsible future.”
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