Wrangler, an icon in jeanswear and casual apparel, plans to produce a new jean with regeneratively grown cotton. For this, it has asked global cotton farmers who can demonstrate and document soil-carbon and biodiversity improvements to become part of this effort. Such farmers can apply for their cotton to be purchased for a Wrangler Retro Premium submission.
The effort is the part of The Jeans Redesign project from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF).
The Jeans Redesign sees over 50 brands embrace the principles of circular economy to ensure positive impacts for the environment, society and the health of those working in its industry. The guidelines, as set out by over 40 denim experts alongside the Foundation, establishes the minimum requirements for the durability, material health, recyclability and traceability of denim jeans. As defined by the EMF, one of the key principles of circular economy is the regeneration of natural systems. The principle aligns with Wrangler’s aim to source 100 per cent sustainably grown cotton by 2025.
“A circular economy is symbiotic with regenerative agricultural practices,” said Roian Atwood, senior director, Global Sustainable Business at Wrangler. “Wrangler is amplifying our commitment with this call to action as we work with farmers to rapidly scale the supply of sustainably-grown cotton. For this project, we’re looking for the best of the best.”
To be considered for inclusion in the Wrangler Retro Premium “Regenerative Jean” collection, Wrangler is asking any farmer from around the world to submit documented evidence of improved soil health and environmental benefits resulting from their adoption of regenerative agricultural systems. Examples include improvements in soil carbon, soil physical properties, biological properties, and determined benefits to the environment. An external panel chaired by the Soil Health Institute will review farmer submissions for selecting the final candidate.
This global call to action builds on the launch of Wrangler’s sustainable cotton programme in 2017, the Wrangler Science and Conservation Programme, with an aim to build a more resilient and regenerative cotton supply. The programme is an alliance of industry experts, pioneering farmers, and nonprofit partners that sponsors research, farmer workshops and promotes soil health farming practices. Research shows these science-backed methods can increase yield while reducing water and energy inputs, fighting erosion, and add more carbon into the soil. Wrangler aims to source 100 per cent of its cotton from farms using land stewardship practices by 2025.
“Over the last 100-150 years, many of our most productive agricultural soils have lost 40-60 per cent of their precious organic carbon back into the atmosphere,” said Wayne Honeycutt, president and CEO of the Soil Health Institute. “Restoring carbon back into the soil with regenerative agriculture is one of the greatest opportunities we have to address both climate change and the financial well-being of farmers. We hope more brands will follow Wrangler’s lead and produce climate beneficial clothing.”
In addition to signing onto the Jeans Redesign guidelines, the brand joined EMF’s Make Fashion Circular, which drives collaboration between apparel industry leaders to ensure clothes are made from safe and renewable materials, new business models increase their use, and old clothes are turned into new.